As the U.S. sets a record for daily COVID-19 cases, and cases and hospitalizations continue to rise locally, here’s what you need to know today:
Dallas County Health and Human Services Wednesday reported 866 more COVID-19 cases, all of which are considered new cases, and two additional deaths for a total of 99,160 confirmed cases and 1,121 confirmed deaths.
Of the 687 new confirmed cases reported Wednesday, 391 came through the Texas Department of State Health Services’ (DSHS) electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) system. There were also 179 additional probable cases reported Wednesday for a total of 7,334 probable cases and 16 probable deaths.
The additional deaths reported Wednesday included a Garland man in his 30s who was found dead at a hotel and a man in his 70s who lived at a Dallas long-term care facility. Both had underlying health conditions. Of the total confirmed deaths reported to date, about 24% have been associated with long-term care facilities.
“Our daily numbers continue to climb as do our hospitalizations, and it’s more important now than ever that we wear our mask and avoid crowds,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “We know what to do, we just need to do it. We cannot afford to go into the holiday season with an all-time high of daily COVID-19 cases.
“As the weather turns colder and more and more people are close to one another indoors, the threat of COVID increases, just as it did when it was hot and we were indoors. We cannot start that season at an all-time high or we will have a very dark winter and a difficult spring. If we all move from selfishness in doing the few things that doctors tell us are not safe to community protection, we can stem the tide of COVID.”
The county reported 478 COVID-19 patients in hospitals Tuesday, and the number of emergency room visits for COVID-19 like symptoms in Dallas County was 585 for the same time period, 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.
Of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than two-thirds have been under 65 years of age.
The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 also increased to 15.4% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive in the week ending Oct. 24.
Additionally, a provisional total of 693 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-aged children (5 to 17 years) during the week ending Oct. 24 – over twice the numbers of children diagnosed in this age group three weeks earlier.
As of Wednesday, Highland Park ISD reported one case among a staff member assigned to Armstrong Elementary, one case among a student there, one case among a staff member assigned to Bradfield Elementary, one case among a student there, two cases among staff members at University Park Elementary, two cases among students there, one case among a staff member assigned to McCulloch Intermediate, and one case among a student at Highland Park High School, according to HPISD’s COVID-19 webpage.
As of Wednesday, Dallas ISD reported 685 cases districtwide, 263 among campus staff, 66 among central staff, and 356 among students, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.
UT Southwestern Medical Center reported that hospitalizations continue to rise “significantly” in North Texas.
The average volume for the past week was 126% higher than the most recent low in September, according to UTSW. In Dallas and Tarrant Counties, hospitalizations hit early August levels.
UTSW also projects total COVID-19 hospitalizations could increase to between 440 and 790 concurrent hospitalized cases by Nov. 13, and roughly 1,100 new COVID-19 infections per day are expected by Nov. 13.