COVID-19 Cases Reach New Daily High of 234

Additional positive cases of COVID-19 hit an all-time daily high of 234 Sunday, Dallas County health officials reported. The new cases bring the total case count to 4,133, including 111 deaths.

One new death – a Dallas woman in her 70s – was also reported.

“Today’s numbers are the highest we have seen so far. I’m hopeful that the medical models will prove correct and we are nearing the peak. Much of that will be determined by the choices each one of us makes,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “Please avoid crowds, maintain 6-foot distancing, and wear a cloth face covering at businesses.”

Many of the cases requiring hospitalization have reported working in critical infrastructure. The county said just shy of 80% of the hospitalizations have reported working in healthcare, transportation, food and agriculture (which Jenkins said at a recent press conference includes places like grocery stores and other establishments where you can buy food), public works, finance, communications, clergy, and first responders.

In his evening newsletter, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said that 25 hospitals reported their bed availability Saturday. Of the 5,710 total beds, 58% are occupied – which is up by roughly 100 beds compared to last weekend’s occupancy rates. Of the 827 ICU beds available, 63% (or 521) are occupied, compared to 505 last weekend. And 344 of the total 943 ventilators available are currently in use.

In the county’s May 1 aggregate report, most cases continue to be between the ages of 18 and 60, with the 18-40 age group accounting for 36% of the cases, and the 41-64 age group accounting for 44% of the total cases.

There were 1,876 men who were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus (or roughly 53%) and 1,644 women.

Close contact or community transmission continues to be the biggest risk factor for contracting COVID-19,  accounting for roughly 81% of all cases. Living in a long-term care facility, being incarcerated, and domestic travel are a distant second, third, and fourth, at 6.7%, 5.9%, and 3.2%, respectively.

Of the testing done, positive cases accounted for 11.7% as of April 25, with 309 positives coming from 2,647 tests.

However, both Johnson and Jenkins have taken pains to point out that less than one percent of the county’s population is being tested.

Twenty-four percent of all cases end up hospitalized – 30% end up in critical care, and 19% end up on a ventilator.

Of the 111 total deaths reported to date, about 40% have been associated with long-term care facilities. Only 26% of those deaths were people younger than 65 – but that number has risen from 22% last weekend with the deaths of two men in their 20s and a 17-year-old girl.

In a city-by-city breakdown, Dallas still comes in with the highest number of cases – 2,047, or 55.1%. Highland Park has 16 cases so far, and University Park has 25.

The county does not count recoveries because it’s not a variable being used nationally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nor by state health departments. However, one can extrapolate that the 76% of total cases that have not been hospitalized – at the very least – are on their way to recovery or have recovered, county officials explained recently.

“The exact number of patients who have been released from area hospitals to continue their recovery at home is not available at this time,” Lauren Trimble, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ chief of staff, said.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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