As COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues in North Texas and the area continues to report record-high hospitalizations and high numbers of new cases, here’s what you need to know today:
- Dallas County continues to report record hospitalizations;
- WFAA: Dallas County eyes Dallas College Eastfield Campus, Ellis Davis Field House as COVID-19 vaccination sites;
- UT Southwestern begins public COVID-19 vaccinations.
Dallas County Continues To Report Record Hospitalizations
Dallas County Wednesday reported 2,427 more COVID-19 cases – 1,817 confirmed and 610 probable – and 17 additional deaths.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the county’s reported a cumulative total of 183,974 confirmed cases, 22,828 probable cases, and 1,715 deaths.
The additional deaths reported Wednesday include a Dallas man in his 50s, two Dallas men in their 60s, two Dallas women in their 60s, a Dallas woman in her 70s, a Garland woman in her 70s who died in a hospital emergency room, two Dallas men in their 70s, a Dallas man in his 80s who died in a hospital emergency room, and a Grand Prairie man in his 80s.
Also among the deaths reported Wednesday were a woman in her 60s who lived at a Cedar Hill long-term care facility, two women in their 80s who lived at Dallas long-term care facilities, and three women in their 90s who lived at Dallas long-term care facilities, one of whom died at the facility where she lived.
“With the high spread we’re seeing in the community, January and February will be our worst months for both hospitalizations and new COVID cases. It is more important than ever that we follow the doctors’ advice to wear our masks, frequently wash our hands and avoid crowds and get-togethers,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “The smart decisions we make today will have an impact on the numbers in two weeks and keep our community and our country as strong as possible at this critical time. If we make those smart decisions, we should see the benefit of early vaccinations in our healthcare workers and most vulnerable residents leading to lower hospitalization rates in March.”
Jenkins added that the county is ramping up vaccine distribution. To register for the vaccine, go to the county’s registration website.
As the vaccines continue to be rolled out, Dallas County again reported record COVID-19 hospitalizations.
There were 1,145 COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Dallas County Tuesday and the number of emergency room visits for COVID-19 like symptoms in Dallas County was 651 for the same time period, which represents around 23 percent 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 remains high, the county says, with 27.2% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive in the week ending Dec. 26. Since the beginning of the pandemic, over 3,864 healthcare workers and first responders have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Dallas County.
Over the past 30 days, there have been 5,309 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from 677 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County, including 454 staff members.
As of Wednesday, Highland Park ISD reported four cases of COVID-19 among staff members assigned to Armstrong Elementary, three cases among students there, one case in a staff member assigned to Boone Elementary, five cases among students there, one case in a student at Bradfield, three cases among students at Hyer, two cases among staff members at University Park Elementary, two among students there, two cases among staff members assigned to McCulloch Intermediate, three among students there, three cases among staff members assigned to Highland Park Middle School and two among students there, four cases among staff members assigned to Highland Park High School, and 15 among students there, according to the district’s COVID-19 webpage.
As of Wednesday, Dallas ISD’s reported 2,661 cases districtwide, 1,305 among campus staff, 286 among central staff, and 1,070 cases among students, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.
The county also reported there are 106 active long- term care facility outbreaks, the highest number of long-term care facilities with active outbreaks reported in Dallas County since the beginning of the pandemic. A total of 3,201 residents and 1,808 healthcare workers in long-term facilities in Dallas have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Of these, 688 have been hospitalized and 361 have died. About 22% of all deaths reported to date have been associated with long-term care facilities.
Forty outbreaks of COVID-19 have also been reported in congregate-living facilities, such as homeless shelters, group homes, and halfway homes, in the past 30 days associated with 99 cases.
WFAA: Dallas County Eyes Dallas College Eastfield Campus, Ellis Davis Field House As COVID-19 Vaccination Sites
Dallas County will use large sites to vaccinate more of the public as more doses become available starting Monday, WFAA reported Wednesday.
Jenkins confirmed to WFAA the vaccine allotment set for Parkland Hospital will be deployed at Eastfield College and Ellis Davis Fieldhouse.
A representative with Parkland Hospital confirmed the vaccination efforts will be by appointment-only and designated for the 1A population of first responders and healthcare workers along with some 1B population of high-risk existing Parkland patients.
Jenkins told the station two additional locations will be selected and could be announced in the next 24 hours.
These locations would handle the anticipated 2,000 doses per day Dallas County Health and Human Services expects to receive from the state starting on Monday, WFAA reported.
UT Southwestern Begins Public COVID-19 Vaccinations
UT Southwestern Monday began providing COVID-19 vaccines to UT Southwestern patients who are 65 or older or have specified medical conditions. Information for patients is available at utswmed.org, including vaccination updates, answers to frequently asked questions, and other resources.
UTSW patients will be notified through their secure MyChart accounts when they are eligible to schedule a vaccination. The MyChart message will include a link for making an appointment and instructions, so there is no additional need for patients to contact a clinic or provider.
The pace at which vaccinations occur will be dependent on the size and frequency of vaccine shipments, which remain dynamic and uncertain.
More than 11,000 doses have been administered to the workforce at UT Southwestern since it received its first shipment on Dec. 15.