Texas hospitals are reaching max capacity levels as the second wave of COVID-19 crosses the Lone Star State. Finding an open bed for COVID patients is becoming a challenge in both urban and rural areas.
“The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise rapidly across the country, and the same is true here at home in East Texas,” said Roy Finch, CEO of Palestine Regional Medical Center. “Importantly, this crisis is not isolated to urban areas and larger cities – COVID-19 is a very real problem in the smaller communities we serve, as well. Small towns and rural areas across the country and across Texas have seen a rapid acceleration of COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks, and our hospital has felt the impact.”
On Monday, Nov. 30, County Judge Robert Johnson reported 41 new cases of COVID in Anderson County.
Since March 31, there has been a total of 1840 cases and 48 deaths, brining the death rate to 2.7%. There are currently 599 active cases and 1193 recovered cases.
“The second surge came one month later than originally predicted,” Johnson said. “We originally thought we’d see it at the beginning of October, but it arrived in November.”
Finch said that PRMC’s top priority continues to be protecting the health and safety of our patients, providers, employees and the communities we serve.
“We continue to closely monitor the prevalence of the virus in our community and build upon our hospital’s emergency operations plan, which maps out – among many things – our escalation plan in the event of a surge of patients,” Finch said. “We cannot speculate on what could happen over the coming weeks and months, but we can assure everyone that we are working hard to plan for all of these scenarios and adapt our hospital operations to safely care for and support our community during this evolving pandemic.”
With COVID-19 numbers on the rise, PRMC is calling on every community member in East Test to lead by example – wear a mask over your nose and mouth, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing and avoid group gatherings. The hospital recently issued a new “Mask Up” ad campaign on social media encouraging people to wear their mask in public.
“Like our fellow healthcare providers, we continue to be challenged by the concerning trend of COVID-19 in our local community and across the nation,” Finch said. “Together, we can make a difference and make our communities healthier.”
Johnston also stressed the need for people to take the CDC’s recommendations seriously.
“We can either wear masks and social distance, or pay the consequences,” Johnston said.
Due to the continuing rise in COVID cases and our hospital nearing capacity before the holiday season begins, Mayor Steve Presley, in his role as Emergency Manager for Palestine, decided to cancel this year’s Christmas Parade and Wine Swirl.
“With the recent surge in COVID cases in Palestine, I feel it’s irresponsible to host a public event where people gather in masses,” Presley said. “One death from such an event would be too many. It would be different if our community could follow the rules, but people refuse to comply with good practices that we know to be effective, like wearing masks and properly social distancing. This is not something I want to do, I have grandchildren who love watching and being in the parade, and I enjoy the parade, but it’s for the best for the community at large. This Christmas we are simply going to have to find other ways to celebrate.”
In lieu of the Christmas Parade of Lights, the city of Palestine will be hosting a Christmas Light Tour and decorating contest for residential and commercial properties on Saturday, Dec. 12 within the city limits.
To view the submissions and enjoy a night on the town looking at the decorated homes and businesses, download the Visit Palestine app in Google Play or Apple Store and choose “Tours” at the top right. From there, you will be able to choose Christmas Light Tour.