A small victory for East Texas in the coronavirus pandemic was overshadowed this week by widespread utility outages and dangerous weather conditions.

Trauma Service Area H, a seven-county region that includes Nacogdoches, maintained seven consecutive days with COVID-19 hospitalization rates below 15% — a first since mid-December.

If not for business closings due to dangerous roads and no utilities, the news would be good for restaurant and retail, which per governor’s orders may expand capacity from 50% to 75%. Hospitals may now resume elective surgeries, as well.

Trauma Service Area H also includes Angelina, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto and Tyler counties, had remained above 15% since mid-December.

Nacogdoches County on Thursday had an estimated 285 active cases. With two more fatalities reported this week, the COVID-19 death toll stood at 141.

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