Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston

Tuesday was a bad day for Anderson County's battle against COVID-19. The county reported its first death from the coronavirus, along with a record 16 new cases. Those 16 cases bring the total number of confirmed cases in Anderson County to 194, including a record 98 active cases.

“We're losing this game right now,” Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston told the Herald-Press Tuesday. “There are a certain number of people who, for whatever reason, just don't believe this is real.”

Johnston encouraged all Anderson County residents to wear masks in public, in keeping with Gov. Greg Abbott's proclamation Thursday that made masks mandatory in public for all Texans in counties with 20 or more active cases of COVID-19. Violators face fines of up to $250.

Despite the governor's proclamation, roughly 25 percent of the shoppers in Palestine's Walmart this weekend were not wearing masks.

Other counties in Texas also have reported sharp increases in new COVID cases, as summer vacations and holidays increase the number of social gatherings.

Smith County reported 240 new cases Tuesday, bringing its total to 1,098.

Please refer to the NetHealth Dashboard below for statistics for COVID-19 in East Texas.


On Wednesday, Anderson County, along with with the Texas Department of Emergency Management/Texas Department of State Health Services team, will conduct a Walk-Up COVID-19 test site, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Palestine Civic Center, 1819 W Spring St. in Palestine. Testing will be free to the public. Those tested must provide a phone number so that they can be contacted with testing results.

Infected people have reported a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe.

Please visit the CDC website for up-to-date information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms listed on the website, please seek medical help.

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