The plea for precautions continues as cold weather drops into Wharton County, positive COVID-19 case counts grow and the effects of Thanksgiving gatherings remain unknown.

Monday’s report from the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management listed 18 new positive cases from 123 to 141. By Tuesday that count had grown another 71, the tally of reports processed by state health officials during the holiday weekend. Fifty-six recoveries were listed on the same report, leaving 157 active cases in the county.

Of those, 68 are reportedly active in El Campo, 10 in Louise, 50 in Wharton, 24 in East Bernard and four in Boling.

Since the global pandemic began, 1,761 Wharton County residents have been diagnosed with the virus.

A sharp rise in COVID cases has prompted state and national leaders to renew pleas for the public to exercise now all-too-common precautions: wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hasn’t wavered from his decision to reopen all businesses to at least a percentage of occupancy. 

In Alabama, however, gatherings are limited to eight people in restaurants while in California, a four-tier partial stay-at-home order remains. In Kentucky, restaurants can only serve patrons outdoors and, in Massachusetts, a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew has been established with exceptions for work and grocery store visits. A quarantine has been established for those visiting New York with required testing or a 14-day wait.

The virus isn’t showing signs of abating nine months after it swept into Texas, counts are on the rise, filling emergency rooms throughout the state with new cases.

In the 6.7 million population Greater Houston region, which includes Wharton County, the state reports 150 available ICU beds as of Tuesday with 1,276 confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized.

Medical firms indicate they could have a vaccine for distribution as early as January, but how many will opt to take it and what its effectiveness will be remains unknown.

Meanwhile, the seriousness of the threat is seen in rising fatality numbers.

The county’s COVID-19 fatality count rose from 51 to 56 Monday, but is still well below the 65 the state reported on that same day.

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