NEW RESTRICTIONS DUE TO COVID-19 CASES RISING

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GREGG COUNTY MEETS “HIGH HOSPITALIZATION” THRESHOLD, HEIGHTED RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY GOVERNOR’S ORDER

According to Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt, on Monday, December 21, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported that the 19 counties that comprise the Piney Woods Trauma Service Area (TSA-G) are now in an “area with high hospitalization”, as defined by Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32.

This designation as an “area with high hospitalization” means that additional restrictions, including limitations on capacity for restaurants and many business establishments, will be enforced for all counties within the TSA-G area. Under GA-32, except for specifically excepted business establishments, businesses that were previously allowed to operate up to 75 percent of their total listed occupancy must now operate at no more than 50 percent of the total listed occupancy.

Additionally, under GA-32, people may not visit bars in “areas with high hospitalization” unless bars are allowed to continue operating drive-thru, pickup, and delivery activities.

Judge Stoudt re-emphasized the need for individuals and businesses to remain diligent in the fight against the Coronavirus.

“The Governor’s Order is effective immediately. We are hoping all businesses affected by this new order from the Governor’s Office can be in place by Tuesday, December 22, 2020, at midnight” commented Stoudt.

“We should, as individuals, make the choices to wear a mask, avoid large crowds, maintain a social distance, wash our hands often, and stay home if we feel sick. By doing this, we can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community”, said Judge Stoudt.

Trauma Service Area G includes the following counties: Anderson, Camp, Cherokee, Franklin, Freestone, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Houston, Marion, Panola, Rains, Rusk, Shelby, Smith, Trinity, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood.

Under Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32, “areas within high hospitalization” is defined as any “Trauma Service Area that has had seven (7) consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients, as a percentage of total hospital capacity, exceed 15 percent”.

Business owners are encouraged to review the specific language of Executive Order GA-32 to determine whether the more restrictive provisions of the Governor’s Order for “areas with high hospitalization” apply to their business establishment or not. Questions regarding applicability of GA-32 should be directed to the Office of the Governor1 the Texas Department of State Health Services1 or the appropriate section of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

According to the GA-32 Executive Order, the heightened restrictions imposed by Governor Abbott for “areas with high hospitalization” will only return to the original level of restrictions when “the Trauma Service Area has seven (7) consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients, as a percentage of total hospital capacity, is 15 percent or less.”

Additional Resources:

For more information on GA-32 and its additional restrictions, as well as all of the Governor’s Orders regarding COVID-19, visit https://gov.texas.gov/.

For more information on Trauma Service Area G and other information on regional COVID-19 data, visit https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/.

For Local COVID-19 information, visit https://www.nethealthcovid 19.org/.

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