BREAKING: First coronavirus death in Smith County announced

The first coronavirus death has been reported in Smith County by the Northeast Texas Public Health District during a press conference at noon.

The Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) updated its total of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Smith County to 16 on Wednesday.

The death is a 91-year-old man, according to NET Health CEO George Roberts.

Roberts said 13 of the cases within Smith County are in the city of Tyler. 

“We’re trying to maintain people’s privacy,” he said regarding not giving further details of cases.

Tyler Mayor Martin Heines and Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said officials are using contact tracing 24/7 to combat the spread of the virus.

“We are working diligently and imploring everyone to stay at home and social distancing,” Heines said.

A decision to shelter in place would be a collective decision amongst NET Health, county and city officials, and medical professionals, Roberts said.

Heines encouraged social distancing and common sense when interacting in the public to help prevent the spread.

Those receiving the COVID-19 test or who believe they have the disease should stay at home and isolate, Heines said.

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