County Reports Record-Breaking Weekend for COVID-19

A total of 7,002 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus were reported by Dallas County health officials between Thursday and Sunday, and an additional 877 probable cases were reported, along with 27 deaths.

On Thursday, the county reported 1,860 cases (1,804 confirmed cases and 56 probable cases) and two deaths; on Friday, 1,974 cases (1,646 confirmed cases and 328 probable) and 15 deaths; on Saturday,  2,183 cases (1,741 confirmed and 442 probable) and nine deaths; and on Sunday, 1,862 cases (1,811 confirmed and 51 probable) and one death.

Among the dead are an Irving woman in her 40s, a Cedar Hill man in his 40s, a Dallas man in his 40s, three Dallas women in their 50s, two Dallas men in their 50s, an Irving woman in her 50s, a Grand Prairie man in his 50s, four Dallas men in their 60s – one without underlying high-risk health conditions, four Dallas men in their 70s, a Dallas woman in her 70s, a Balch Springs man in his 70s, an Irving woman in her 70s with no underlying conditions, two Dallas women in their 80s, a Grand Prairie woman in her 80s, a Dallas woman in her 90s, and two Dallas men in their 90s. Unless noted, all had underlying high-risk medical conditions.

The county also warned that in the past 30 days, there has been an uptick in cases at long-term care facilities – more than 850 new cases from 84 different facilities, including 304 staff members. Additionally, there have been 90 cases reported from 14 different congregate-living facilities, including 22 staff members and one staff member death. 

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday was 738 patients, up from 605 last Friday. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 23% (up from 20%) of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council

“Today we set another new record for the most COVID positive cases in a single day at 2,183. Also, we announced nine new deaths,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Saturday. “For the week, we had a total of 49 deaths and an average of 1,557 new COVID positive cases a day.

“Additionally, today we released the report for CDC week 46 ending November 14, which is prepared by slotting in each test by the day it was performed and each death by the day that it happened as opposed to when it was reported. This is our most accurate report but does lag by approximately a week. That report shows that for the week ending November 14, the average daily cases were 1,321 and averaged three deaths a day.”

 UT Southwestern’s latest forecast projects that by Dec. 1, Dallas County hospitals could see concurrent hospitalizations rise to between 800 and 1,300 cases, with roughly 3,000 new cases per day on average. 

According to trackers provided by Dallas ISD and Highland Park ISD, cases of COVID-19 are cropping up at schools. On Thursday, Dallas ISD’s COVID-19 dashboard indicated that there were now 1,161 cases (an increase from 975 a week ago) throughout the district – 475 among campus staff (up from 386), 119 among central staff (up from 99), and 567 among students (up from 490).

Hillcrest High School has 13 cases, W.T. White High School has 18 cases (up from 16), Thomas Jefferson High School has 20, Marsh Middle School has three cases, Benjamin Franklin Middle School has five, Medrano Middle School has seven, Longfellow has two, Walker Middle School has one, Dealey Montessori has five (up from three), Walnut Hill Elementary has 16, Sudie Williams has two, Nathan Adams Elementary has four (up from one), Pershing Elementary has two, Withers Elementary has four, Gooch Elementary has nine, Kramer Elementary has six (up from three), Preston Hollow Elementary has one, and K.B. Polk has two cases.

Highland Park ISD is reporting 10 staff cases (three among the five elementary schools,  five at the two middle schools, and two at Highland Park High School) and 18 student cases (eight among the five elementary schools, seven at the two middle schools, and six at Highland Park High School). Neither district provides information on how many students and staff have quarantined due to classroom exposure to the virus. 

Not all private schools are publicly reporting their cases, but among those that are:

  • Greenhill reported six active cases (three students, one faculty member, and two staff members) as of Nov. 22.
  • Ursuline reported five lab-confirmed student cases of COVID-19 and 102 students quarantining as of Nov. 20, and no confirmed cases among staff (but six are quarantining).
  • Hockaday reported four students, one faculty member, and one staff member as having active cases, with 98 students, nine faculty members, and one staff member currently quarantining.

Dallas County reported that since Nov. 1, there have been 2,851 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from over 558 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County, including 393 staff members. The proportion of cases occurring in children under 18 years of age has been increasing over the past two months.

In the county’s Nov. 20 aggregate report, the county broke down probable cases for children ages 5 to 17 by city. Dallas children in this age group with confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 numbered at 556 for the week ending Nov. 14 and 385 for the week ending Nov. 7. Highland Park children numbered two for the week ending Nov. 14 and two for the week ending Nov. 7. University Park children numbered eight for the week ending Nov. 14 and five for the week ending Nov. 7.

Dallas County reported in its Nov. 20 aggregate report that most confirmed cases continue to be between the ages of 18 and 60, with the 18-40 age group accounting for 46% of the cases, and the 41-64 age group accounting for another 34% of the total cases.

Of the testing done, positive cases accounted for 16.8% as of Nov. 20, with 2,096 positives coming from 12,510 tests. Testing for the week prior found that positive cases accounted for 15.3% of all testing. Over the weekend, the county warned that the provisional seven-day average of daily new cases for the CDC week ending Nov. 14 had increased to 1,321, which is a rate of 50.1 daily new cases per 100,000 residents– the highest case rate in Dallas County since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Nine percent of all cases ended up hospitalized – 24% ended up in intensive care, and 12% ended up on a ventilator. However, experts warn that deaths and hospitalizations are a lagging indicator, meaning that hospitals are only just beginning to see the brunt of the uptick in cases.

In a city-by-city breakdown, Dallas still comes in with the highest number of cases – 58,281 confirmed cases and 5,536 probable cases. Highland Park has 180 confirmed cases (up from 142 last week) and a single probable case, and University Park has 502 confirmed cases (up from 387), and 434 probable cases.

“As we approach Thanksgiving in this time of record spread, it is increasingly important that we take the doctors’ advice,” Jenkins said. “We’ve now heard from the local doctors, President Trump’s task force, and the CDC all saying the same thing: celebrate Thanksgiving with those that you live with and forgo larger family get-togethers at this time of unprecedented spread. Stop interacting with crowds and consider grocery curbside pickup and delivery.”

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital 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 first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, 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 is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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