New Cases, Deaths Continue Downward Trend

Are we beginning to get closer to margins that indicate a sustained downward trend in the pandemic for Dallas County? Officials are carefully watching several metrics, and seemed to even indicate last week that perhaps this is so. We have today’s bullet points:

  • New cases, deaths continue a downward trend;
  • YMCA offers Learning Academies for working parents;
  • Medical City Dallas named 5-Star hospital for women’s care.
New Cases, Deaths Continue Downward Trend

A total of 1,070 new cases of the novel coronavirus were reported by Dallas County health officials between Friday and Sunday, and an additional six deaths, bringing the county’s total case count up to 71,170, including 901 confirmed deaths.

For reference, last Sunday, the total case count was 68,904, and 857 deaths.

The county said that because of the cases backlog from the state’s electronic laboratory system, Dallas County Health and Human Services is tracking cases by the date the COVID-19 test is collected, and is tracking the daily average of new cases weekly – by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention week, to be exact. The daily average of new cases continues to drop.

On Friday, the county reported 276 confirmed cases and three confirmed deaths with 18 coming from the state health department reporting system; on Saturday, 434 confirmed cases and two confirmed deaths, with 65 coming from the state reporting system; and on Sunday, 360 confirmed cases and one death, with 241 coming from the state system.

Among the dead are two Dallas women in their 60s – one with underlying health conditions, one without; two Irving women in their 70s; a Dallas woman in her 70s;  and an Irving man in his 70s with no underlying high-risk health conditions. Unless noted, all had underlying health conditions.

While on average, long-term care facilities continue to account for a third of all COVID-19 deaths, there were no such deaths reported over the weekend – marking the first time in months that this was the case.

“Yesterday we went above 70,000 Dallas County residents who’ve contracted COVID-19 to date, but there are reasons for optimism as our hospitalizations and other metrics are trending downward,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins Friday. “This is strong evidence that masking, social distancing, hand washing, and avoiding unnecessary trips and any indoor activities where people cannot wear a mask one hundred percent of the time is working.”

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday was 404 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 19% 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 Sept. 8, Dallas County hospitals could see concurrent hospitalizations decline to between 250 and 460 cases, with roughly 500 new cases per day on average.

In the county’s Aug. 28 aggregate report, 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.

From Aug. 8-21, 393 school-aged children between 5 and 18 years of age were diagnosed with confirmed COVID-19.  About 50% of these cases were high school age.  By zip code of residence, 203 (51%) of these children were projected to have been enrolled in Dallas ISD, and two percent in Highland Park ISD.

Close contact or community transmission continues to be the biggest risk factor for contracting COVID-19,  accounting for more than 93% of all cases. Being incarcerated in a federal prison, living in a long-term care facility or being incarcerated in the county jail are a distant second, third, and fourth,  at 2%, 1.9% and 1%, respectively.

Of the testing done, positive cases accounted for 11% as of Aug. 22, with 639 positives coming from 5,822 tests.  Testing for the week prior found that positive cases accounted for 12.8% of all testing.

Ten percent of all cases ended up hospitalized – 24% ended up in intensive care, and 13% ended up on a ventilator.

In a city-by-city breakdown, Dallas still comes in with the highest number of cases – 37,097 confirmed cases and 1,484 probable cases. Highland Park has 69 confirmed cases (up from 59 last week) and another 20 probable cases, and University Park has 142 confirmed cases (up from 129), and 92 probable cases.

YMCA Offers Learning Academies For Working Parents

With Dallas ISD and other districts pivoting to distance learning only to begin the year, some families have felt the pinch, especially if both parents work.

“As school districts continue to alter their plans in light of the current pandemic, we realize that parents need our support now more than ever,” the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas said.

The organization is offering a YMCA Learning Academy that will provide in-person support to students who are using their school district’s distance learning. 

The program offers:

  • Lower group size than a traditional classroom setting at school;
  • Coordination with the child’s school district for synchronous and asynchronous instruction via Zoom, Google Hangouts, and similar apps with a certified teacher;
  • Certified teacher for a portion of the day to assist with remote learning assignments;
  • An infusion of physical activities and fun brain breaks every day;
  • Spelling/Sight Word Support, Independent reading;
  • Two meals and one snack provided daily;
  • No supply/registration fee;
  • Updated health practices to ensure safe environment for all.

Among the Y locations offering the academy are Moody Family YMCA, Semones Family YMCA, and T Boone Pickens YMCA. For more information and rates, click here.

Medical City Dallas Named 5-Star Hospital for Women’s Care

Medical City Dallas received five stars for women’s care by Healthgrades, the hospital system announced last week. 

The  5-star rating indicates that the clinical outcomes at Medical City Dallas are statistically significantly better than expected for gynecologic surgery, labor, delivery, obstetrics, and gynecology.

“Medical City Dallas is honored to receive recognition from Healthgrades for our outstanding care,” said Jessica O’Neal, CEO of Medical City Children’s Hospital and Medical City Women’s Hospital Dallas. “These awards reinforce our commitment to being the destination of choice for women in Dallas by providing mothers and babies with compassionate, high-quality care with the best possible outcomes.”

Medical City Dallas was recognized with multiple awards, including:

Obstetrics and Gynecology

  • Recipient of the Healthgrades Obstetrics and Gynecology Excellence Award™ for 3 Years in a Row (2018-2020)
  • Recognized by Healthgrades for Superior Performance in Obstetrics and Gynecology for 3 Years in a Row (2018-2020)
  • Among the Top 5% of Hospitals Evaluated for Obstetrics and Gynecology for 3 Years in a Row (2018-2020)

Labor and Delivery

  • Recipient of the Healthgrades Labor and Delivery Excellence Award™ for 3 Years in a Row (2018-2020)
  • Recognized by Healthgrades for Superior Performance in Labor and Delivery for 3 Years in a Row (2018-2020)
  • Among the Top 5% of Hospitals Evaluated for Labor and Delivery for 3 Years in a Row (2018-2020)
  • Five-Star Recipient for Vaginal Delivery for 6 Years in a Row (2015-2020)
  • Five-Star Recipient for C-Section Delivery for 6 Years in a Row (2015-2020)

GYN Surgery

  • Recipient of the Healthgrades Gynecologic Surgery Excellence Award™ for 3 Years in a Row (2018-2020)
  • Recognized by Healthgrades for Superior Performance in Gynecologic Surgery for 3 Years in a Row (2018-2020)
  • Among the Top 5% of Hospitals Evaluated for Gynecologic Surgery for 2 Years in a Row (2019-2020)
  • Five-Star Recipient for Gynecologic Procedures for 3 Years in a Row (2018-2020)
  • Five-Star Recipient for Hysterectomy for 2 Years in a Row (2019-2020)

“Hospital quality should be top of mind for consumers when they evaluate and compare hospital performance,” said Brad Bowman, MD,Chief Medical Officer at Healthgrades. “Women who select a hospital with a 5-star rating can feel confident in their choice knowing that these organizations are committed to providing exceptional women’s care to their patients.”

In addition to providing high-quality services to women, Medical City Dallas also offers a comprehensive Fetal Care Center, providing the region’s highest level of prenatal diagnosis and the full spectrum of fetal surgical procedures for unborn babies with complex and life-threatening birth defects.

Medical City Dallas is one of nine Medical City Healthcare hospitals honored for outstanding women’s services in the 2020 Women’s Care Awards.

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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