TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – As the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in the area, a local expert, Dr. Ben Neuman of Texas A&M University of Texarkana says the numbers in Texarkana are higher now than they’ve ever been.
Coronavirus specialist Dr. Ben Neuman is stressing that even though the pandemic has dragged on for most of the year, it’s not time to let your guard down.
“COVID-19 is far worse in the ArkLaTex area, I would say right now, than it has been at any stage so far during the outbreak,” said Neuman.
Neuman says based on raw numbers, Texarkana, Texas has about 30 times the cases now compared to when the governor closed the state down earlier this year.
“Texarkana hospitals were one bed short of being full over the weekend,” said Neuman. “This is a big spike and it has been lasting for a long time and at this point, we are starting to see the hospitals filling up. Which would suggest that it’s really out of control here and something needs to happen.”
Neuman says the Texarkana area has seen over 350 active cases per day for the last month and a half. He says that includes portions of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.
“Texarkana, in particular, is a feeder area, so there are around 20 counties around here that send people to here,” said Neuman
As the holidays approach, Neuman worries about family gatherings as the virus tightens its grip in rural areas such as Morris, Camp, and Marion counties. He urges extreme caution.
“People have been looking for changes in the weather to drive the virus up or down, like flu season that’s the one thing that we keep coming back to. This virus does not seem to work that way. It’s responding to changes in behavior and changes in mask-wearing and changes in the number of precautions we are taking.”
Neuman says it is hard to determine the future of the virus as the line keeps moving upward.
“Its still rising and its rising at a bad rate so it’s really anybody’s guess.”
Neuman stresses everyone needs to wear a mask to stop the spread. He adds that the mask must protect airflow to your nose.