High COVID-19 Hospitalizations Lead to New Mandates for Angelina County
In a move that was widely predicted and expected, Angelina County has joined other neighboring counties to move into new mandates due to the increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the area. Angelina County is part of the 'H' Trauma Service Area in the state of Texas. Angelina, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Polk, San Jacinto and Sabine Counties area all included in this area.
According to an order released by Governor Abbott in October (GA-32), any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity exceeds 15 percent will be subject to new mandates concerning public gatherings and elective surgeries. Trauma Service Area 'H' has been well-above the 15% mark over the past week.
On Tues., Dec. 15, 2020, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) informed officials that Angelina County, as part of Trauma Service Area (TSA)-H meets the definition of a “high-hospitalization area.” As such, Angelina County may no longer conduct elective surgeries or reopen to the higher levels allowable under Executive Order GA-32.
GA-32, issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in early October as part of the Open Texas initiative, allowed select venues to increase service capacity and permitted elective surgeries. However, in areas with high hospitalizations, any business establishment (-retailers, restaurants, gyms) that otherwise would have a 75 percent occupancy limit is mandated by the state to operate at up to only 50 percent. Likewise, elective surgeries are temporarily prohibited. Establishments with 51 percent alcohol sales, i.e., “bars,” will also temporarily close.
Restrictions for TSA-H will remain in place until notification is sent by DSHS of the following: seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity is 15 percent or less.
Residents are encouraged to practice good hygiene, wear facial coverings, follow social distancing protocols, and limit social gatherings outside of your immediate household.