Daily reports of COVID-19 cases in Nacogdoches County began climbing this week, the result of a surge of state testing of rural East Texas hot spots.

Focused on nursing homes, meat processing plants and jail inmates and staff, the ramped up state testing initiative is the result of an order by Gov. Greg Abbott on May 11.

Meanwhile, officials at the Nacogdoches County Emergency Management Office say they are trying to clear up discrepancies between local and state testing and verification results.

“Today’s fatality total on the DSHS website is 20,” Emergency Management Office spokesperson Amy Mehaffey commented on Friday.

Fatalities confirmed by the local office total 15.

“Often the fatalities are difficult to confirm because lab tests must go through many channels,” she said.

More than 1,000 tests were administered by the state in the past 10 days, resulting in 10 state-confirmed cases by Friday afternoon. Total cases for the county stood at 271 Friday, with an estimated 194 recovered.

Of the county’s 62 active cases, 15 are hospitalized and four of those are in ICU, according to the state.

Three new cases reported on Friday include a woman in her 20s who lives in the county, man in his 30s from a previously reported household in the city and a male county resident in his 20s.

Ten cases confirmed Thursday were that of a person under 29 in a previously reported household, a woman in the county and a man in the city who are both in their 20s, a man in his 30s in the city, a woman in her 40s in the county, a woman in her 50s from a previously diagnosed household within the city, a man in his 50s in the city, a woman in her 60s in the county and a woman in her 60s in the county.

In neighboring counties, the Department of State Health Services on Thursday reported 189 total cases in Shelby County, 31 in San Augustine, 205 in Angelina County, 44 in Cherokee County and 45 in Rusk County.

Calls to a local COVID-19 screening center have dropped to about eight per day, the Emergency Management Office reported.

The local call center remains open from 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at 936-468-4787.

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