Deadliest Week Ends With 32 Additional COVID Deaths

A total of 4,753 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus were reported by Dallas County health officials between Friday and Sunday, and an additional 1,197 probable cases were reported, along with 32 deaths.

On Friday, the county reported 1,849 cases (1,353 confirmed cases and 496 probable) and 20 deaths; on Saturday,  2,111 cases (1,669  confirmed and 442  probable) and eight deaths; and on Sunday, 1,810 cases (1,551 confirmed and 259 probable) and four deaths.

Among the dead are a Cedar Hill man in his 40s, a Dallas woman in her 40s, a Grand Prairie woman in her 40s, three Dallas women in their 50s (one passed away in a hospital emergency room), a Mesquite man in his 50s, a Grand Prairie woman in her 50s, a Garland man in his 50s, a Farmers Branch man in his 50s with no underlying high-risk health conditions, two Dallas women in their 60s, an Irving man in his 60s, a Mesquite man in his 60s, four Dallas men in their 60s, a DeSoto man in his 60s, a Mesquite man in his 70s who died in a hospital emergency room, two Dallas men in their 70s (one died in a hospital emergency room), a DeSoto woman in her 80s, a Dallas woman in her 80s, a Dallas man in his 80s, a Farmers Branch man in his 80s, a DeSoto man in his 80s, a Mesquite man in his 80s, two Dallas women in their 90s, a Dallas man in his 90s, and a Mesquite woman in her 90s.

“Today we announce 2,111 new cases and eight new deaths,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Saturday. “This is the end of our deadliest week from COVID and our highest average daily number of newly reported cases to date.

“Our first vaccines will arrive soon in Dallas County, and my hope is that within hours of arrival, those will be administered to some of our healthcare heroes at local hospital across North Texas,” he added. “While the news of the vaccine is exciting, remember you have two ‘vaccines’ or great tools at your disposal now. One is the ‘vaccine’ you can wear: your mask. Masks provide protection for you and those around you. The other is the tool of the smart choices you make when you follow the doctors’ advice and make those small sacrifices of patriotism to protect not just yourself and your loved ones, but those who you don’t even know in our community who inevitably will pay a high price as each new infection works its way to more people until it reaches a person who is ill-equipped to handle this deadly disease.”

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday was 786 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 22% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council

UT Southwestern’s latest forecast projects that by Dec. 22, Dallas County hospitals could see concurrent hospitalizations rise to between 550 and 900 cases, with roughly 1,200 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 Friday, Dallas ISD’s COVID-19 dashboard indicated that there were now 1,884 cases (up from 1,594 last week) throughout the district – 815 (up from 686) among campus staff, 204 among central staff, and 865 (up from 735) among students.

Hillcrest High School has 18 cases, W.T. White High School has 22 cases, Thomas Jefferson High School has 27, Marsh Middle School has six cases, Benjamin Franklin Middle School has eight, Medrano Middle School has 10, Longfellow has eight, Walker Middle School has five, Dealey Montessori has eight, Walnut Hill Elementary has 17, Sudie Williams has three, Foster Elementary has three, Nathan Adams Elementary has four, Pershing Elementary has two, Withers Elementary has six, Gooch Elementary has 11, Kramer Elementary has eight, Preston Hollow Elementary has eight, and K.B. Polk has six cases.

Highland Park ISD is reporting 10 staff cases (four among the five elementary schools,  three at the two middle schools, two at Highland Park High School, and one administration case) and 16 student cases (five among the five elementary schools and 11 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 seven active cases (five students, one faculty member, and one staff member) as of Dec. 13.
  • Ursuline reported one lab-confirmed student cases of COVID-19 and 29 students quarantining as of Dec.11, and four staff members quarantining.
  • Hockaday reported two students as having active cases, with 33 students and six staff members or faculty quarantining.

Dallas County reported that over the past 30 days, there have been 4,520 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from over 735 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County, including 681 staff members. 

“Of these cases, 534 have been associated with extracurricular activities, including athletics,” the county added.

In the county’s Dec. 11 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 742 for the week ending Dec. 5 and 393 for the week ending Nov. 28. Highland Park children numbered three for the week ending Dec. 5 and three for the week ending Nov. 28. University Park children numbered 10 for the week ending Dec. 5 and six for the week ending Nov. 28.

Dallas County reported in its aggregate report that most confirmed cases continue to be between the ages of 18 and 60, with the 18-40 age group accounting for 45% of the cases, and the 41-64 age group accounting for another 33% of the total cases. The zero-17 age range, which had been hovering around 11% for some time, shot up to 13%.

Of the testing done, positive cases accounted for 21.6% as of Dec. 5, with 647 positives coming from 2,994 tests. Testing for the week prior found that positive cases accounted for 21.7% of all testing.

Eight percent of all cases ended up hospitalized – 23% ended up in intensive care, and 12% ended up on a ventilator.

In a city-by-city breakdown, Dallas still comes in with the highest number of cases – 69,958 confirmed cases and 7,682 probable cases. Highland Park has 275 confirmed cases (up from 255) and 90 probable cases, and University Park has 750 confirmed cases (up from 694) and 563 probable cases.

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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