Backlog of COVID-19 Cases Continues

Officials continue to work to make sense of a newly-reported backlog of  positive cases that were held back due to a state reporting glitch and speed up the turnaround time for test results. Here are today’s bullet points:

  • Backlog of COVID-19 cases continues;
  • Parkland to take over COVID-19 testing in county;
  • UTSW announces open enrollment for COLCORONA clinical trial.
Backlog of COVID-19 Cases Continues

Dallas County Health and Human Services Wednesday reported 399 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total confirmed case count in Dallas County to 66,464, as well as an additional five deaths.

Of the 399 new cases reported Wednesday, 44 came through the Texas Department of State Health Services’ (DSHS) electronic laboratory reporting system–16 from April, 26 from May, and two from June.

The additional deaths reported Wednesday include a DeSoto woman in her 40s who had underlying health conditions, a Dallas man in his 70s, a DeSoto woman in her 70s who had underlying health conditions, a Dallas man in his 80s, and a DeSoto woman in her 80s who had underlying conditions.

Of the total confirmed deaths reported to date, about 26% have been associated with long-term care facilities. 

The total probable case count in Dallas is 2,530, including eight probable deaths from COVID-19.

From Aug. 6 to 14, 227 school-aged children between 5 and 18 years of age were also reported to have been diagnosed with confirmed COVID-19. 

More than 3,549 children under 18 years of age have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since July 1, including 66 children who have been hospitalized for COVID-19. Of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than two-thirds have been under 65 years of age. 

“Today we have 399 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, 44 of which are very old cases from April, May and June that were lost in the state’s system. We are also reporting five deaths (one probable), ranging in ages from a person in their 40s up to people in their 80s. The overall trend is a gradual decline, and if we maintain our community resolve to wear masks, maintain six-foot distancing, use good hand hygiene, and forgo unnecessary trips and any activities around people who are not wearing a mask one hundred percent of the time, we will continue to see the numbers improve, less people get sick, more businesses stay open, more activities become permissible and our kids getting back to school sooner rather than later,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins Wednesday. 

Dallas County reported 428 COVID-19 patients in acute care Tuesday. The number of emergency room visits for COVID-19 like symptoms in Dallas County was 480 Tuesday, which represents around 22% of all emergency department visits in the county according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.  

The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 has been declining but remains high, the county says, with about 14% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive in week 32. 

Parkland To Take Over COVID-19 Testing In County

Dallas County is replacing the company managing one of its largest public COVID-19 testing sites.

NBC5 reported the Eastfield College testing site in Mesquite, which is run by Honu Management Group, has a contract stipulating it return results in 72-hours, but Jenkins told the station that since its opening, many are receiving their results nine to 10 days later.

Dallas County moved Tuesday to replace Honu Management Group with Parkland effective August 31, NBC5 reported.

The county also reportedly plans to review “millions of invoices” from Honu and decide if the company is owed less money based on performance.

UTSW Announces Open Enrollment for COLCORONA Clinical Trial
UT Southwestern has launched a clinical trial to evaluate the therapeutic benefit of colchicine as a treatment to prevent complications and death related to severe cases of COVID-19.
Photo courtesy of Montreal Heart Institute.

UT Southwestern Medical Center is the first facility in Dallas and the surrounding region to participate in the international COLCORONA trial. This study is evaluating the therapeutic benefit of colchicine as a treatment to prevent complications and death related to severe cases of COVID-19. Recently diagnosed patients or individuals who are showing symptoms and have a household member diagnosed with COVID-19 over the age of 40 and from Dallas and the surrounding areas can enroll in the free, at-home clinical trial.    

COLCORONA is evaluating a generic immunomodulator called colchicine, commonly used to treat conditions such as gout, pericarditis, and Familial Mediterranean Fever, to see whether it reduces the complications of COVID-19, including in the respiratory system. The study has been designed to have minimal burden on patients and is one of the few studies of COVID-19 infection in which nonhospitalized individuals can participate. 

“Lung injury and subsequent difficulty in breathing is experienced in up to 10 percent of patients with COVID-19 and can, unfortunately, often be fatal,” said Dr. Nancy Rollins, co-investigator for the COLCORONA trial at UTSW, where she is a professor of pediatrics and radiology, associate dean of clinical research, and holds the Charles Cameron Sprague, M.D., Chair in Medical Science. “Colchicine has shown promise in other smaller studies and we are excited to be part of this large international trial that will provide us with a definitive answer on how it works in patients with COVID-19.”

To be eligible for COLCORONA, patients should be nonhospitalized, over the age of 40, and recently diagnosed with COVID-19. Once enrolled, the medicine or placebo is delivered directly to participants’ homes at no cost, and participants will have the support of a dedicated health care team 24/7 for any questions. The study staff will contact patients directly via phone or video visits for follow-up.

Patients and physicians interested in COLCORONA can call the study hotline at 1-877-536-6837, 24/7 or visit www.colcorona.net.

“Our partnership with UTSW for COLCORONA allows this at-home trial to be available to an even wider number of patients,” said Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, director of the Research Centre at the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI), professor of medicine at the University of Montreal, and COLCORONA principal investigator.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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