Local public health experts are warning North Texas’ respite from rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations may be coming to an end, but are cautiously optimistic the area will see a summertime ‘bump’ in cases rather than a wave.
Test positivity rates for the virus are on the rise and hospitalizations are expected to increase over the next several weeks, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center’s COVID-19 forecast with data from May 24. Dallas County could exceed 400 new infections per day over the next several weeks, per the forecast.
“Both nationally and locally, Omicron is now by far the dominant variant of the virus, representing nearly 100% of positive tests sequenced at UT Southwestern,” according to UTSW. “The more transmissible Omicron sub-lineage known as BA.2 now represents over 90% of samples, outcompeting the ‘original’ BA.1 Omicron variant.”
Dr. Joseph Chang, chief medical officer at Parkland Health, told the Dallas Morning News that natural immunity, immunity from COVID-19 vaccines, and lower severity of BA.1 and BA.2 are expected to keep hospitals from being overrun this summer.
“We’re definitely hoping that all those things together make it so that what we see is a case bump and not a case spike,” Chang told the newspaper. “Furthermore, even if we see case numbers go up, [we hope that] hospitalization rates will remain proportionately lower than they have in the past.”
Read more from the Dallas Morning News here.
In other news:
- About 1 in 5 U.S. adults have a health condition that may be related to their previous COVID-19 infection. Read more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.