MONIQUE BATSON — COVID stats trend positive locally; keep the work going

Published 12:04 am Friday, November 12, 2021

If we learned anything from 2020, it’s that life can change drastically in an instant. And one year later, we learned not to drop our guard, as COVID cases surged to levels not seen since the height of the pandemic.

But here we are again.

Cases have seemed to stabilize, we’re no longer bathing in hand sanitizer and little by little masks are coming off.

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The vaccines that were hard to come by last January are now available to everyone ages 5 and older, along with booster shots for those who have underlying health conditions, work in a high-risk environment or are over the age of 65.

And according to Texas Health and Human Services, people are taking advantage. Six months ago Jefferson County was hovering around 40 percent of vaccinated residents. As of Thursday, that number is near 50 percent and 75 percent for just those 65 and older.

Wednesday alone, the Port Arthur Health Department vaccinated 19 children between 5-11 years of age.

“Everything is going really good,” Health Director Judith Smith said that day.

We saw more signs of hope last week when Boss Burger owner Joe Oates returned home after a three-month hospital stay in Houston.

And last week, the Port Arthur Health Department, which services all of Mid and South County, reported only 13 positive cases in seven days.

At one point this year, the City of Beaumont reported 300 new cases in one day. On Wednesday, they saw only six.

It’s a pretty dramatic drop from early fall, when the surge called for daily reports that averaged around 50 new cases each day.

But it takes continued vigilance to stay this way.

According to a state department recent study in September, unvaccinated people were 20 times more likely to die from COVID and 13 times more likely to test positive.

At-home tests are available at most pharmacies, and vaccines are still being administered daily at the Texas Artists Museum in Port Arthur.

While I do not openly share my opinions on controversial topics such as politics and religion, I have been quite openly pro-vaccine. (I can back this up by multiple emails calling me all sorts of names for trying to “force people to take untested medicine for profit.” Although I’m unsure who is getting the profit, because I certainly wasn’t paid when I got either of my shots.)

Currently, myself and two of the three children in my home are fully vaccinated. The youngest, as you might remember, caught the virus in September and now has to wait until next month before he can begin his shots — should he chose to. Because even at 16 and 14, I allowed my younger two to make that decision for themselves. My older child is 19, and having had COVID when I did, was as ready as I was to start vaccines.

When my youngest was sick, I did what all parents do and became a mother first. I stayed with him. I hugged him. I slept with him nearby so I could monitor him overnight. And while breakthrough cases can and have happened, I remained negative.

As always, the choice is yours. But COVID isn’t going anywhere. So if you chose not to vaccinate yourself, please continue to wear a mask and take preventative measures so we can all continue to enjoy what is now a new normal life.


Monique Batson is the Port Arthur Newsmedia editor and can be reached at