County Reaches ‘Grim Milestone’ With 1,000 Deaths

With an additional three confirmed COVID-19 deaths, Dallas County reached a grim milestone of 1,000 deaths since the pandemic reached the county in the spring. We have yesterday’s new cases, as well as information on what is quite possibly the easiest way to get your flu shot, in our bullet points this morning:

  • County reaches ‘grim milestone’ with 1,000 COVID-19 deaths;
  • Kroger will host a flu vaccination event;
  • TxDOT reminds drivers to be aware of school zones.
County Reaches ‘Grim Milestone’ With 1,000 Deaths

Dallas County health officials reported an additional 173 cases – 172 confirmed and one probable – of COVID-19 Tuesday, with almost all coming from September. Three deaths were reported.

Tuesday’s additional cases bring the cumulative confirmed case count in the county to 78,377, and 1,000 confirmed deaths.

Among the dead are a Dallas woman in her 50s, a Garland man in his 70s, and a Grand Prairie man in his 80s. All had underlying high-risk health conditions.

“Today we reached the grim milestone of 1,000 recorded deaths from COVID-19,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “Our most recent reported death died on Sept. 18. Our first reported death was March 19.”

Jenkins asked residents to pause and reflect and pray for the families who lost a loved one during that time to COVID-19, and “for the thousands more who suffer with symptoms and recovery from COVID-19, as well as the emotional and financial turmoil that it has brought to the community.”

“Looking at the most recent data from the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, over the 179 day period from March 19 to Sept. 13, more people died of COVID-19 than stroke or any other cause other than all forms of heart disease and all forms of cancer,” he added. “If we were to extrapolate that death rate across a 365 day period, we would have over 2,000 deaths. Whether or not that occurs is largely up to you.”

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday was 318 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 15% 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 Oct. 2, Dallas County hospitals could see concurrent hospitalizations rise to between 230 and 480 cases, with roughly 520 new cases per day on average. The new modeling does take into account the return to school campuses.

The report also said that hospitalization rates have plateaued – but at a rate 20% higher than the rate in May.

Kroger To Host Flu Vaccination Event

Kroger Health, the healthcare division of The Kroger Co.  announced Tuesday that it would partner with Dallas County Health and Human Services and the American Airlines Center to offer a comprehensive flu shot program.

Kroger will offer drive-through vaccinations Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Silver parking garage at the American Airlines Center.

“In light of the challenges we may face from both the flu virus and COVID-19 this fall, Kroger Health is proud to partner with Dallas County Health & Human Services and the American Airlines Center to host this one-day event, offering flu shots by our certified immunizers, in the safety of the individual’s vehicle.” said Jeff Loesch, a pharmacist and Dallas division health and wellness director for Kroger Health. “In particular, we wanted to provide an efficient way for our seniors to receive the recommended high dose formulation of the flu shot while minimizing the risk of potential exposure in the general public.”

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that during an average flu season, 8% of the U.S. population gets sick from the flu, with an average of 500,000 flu-related hospitalizations. Since March, more than 370,000 Americans have already been hospitalized as a result of COVID-19, marking the potential for a significant burden on the already taxed healthcare system

”The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 will be more important than ever. This drive thru event will help many Dallas County residents”, said Dr. Philip Huang, Director of Dallas County Health & Human Services.

Kroger Health’s recent COVID-19 drive-thru test sites were able to assist thousands of people in getting tested in a short amount of time. By using that model to provide flu shots, Kroger Health will have the capacity to administer up to 600 vaccinations during the one-day event. 

To receive a flu shot, individuals must make an appointment online at krogerhealth.com/flu and fill out pre-visit paperwork online to reduce contact (you can also call the county health department at 972-692-2780). Flu shots will be available to the insured and uninsured, ages 7 and up, and are available at no out of pocket cost to those with Medicare B and most insurance plans, but you will need to bring identification and insurance cards to the drive-through appointment. Vaccinations are limited to one arm per vehicle door, and those who avail themselves of the service are encouraged to wear short sleeves.

For more information visit krogerhealth.com.

TxDOT Reminds Drivers to Be Aware of School Zones, Buses

With the delayed start for many school districts, drivers may have forgotten about school zones and the rules of the road regarding school buses. But the Texas Department of Transportation has provided a handy set of reminders.

Last year, 784 traffic crashes occurred in Texas school zones, resulting in one death and 12 serious injuries. In addition, five people were killed and 76 were seriously injured last year in 2,453 traffic crashes involving school buses in Texas.

Tips for Drivers Sharing the Road with School Buses 

  • Follow at a safe distance, keeping in mind that school buses make frequent stops.
  • Stop for flashing red lights or a stop sign on a school bus, regardless of which direction you’re headed. Continue your trip once the bus has moved, the flashing lights stop flashing or the bus driver signals it’s okay to pass.
  • Always remain alert for children around buses and remember they may not always look for vehicles before crossing the street.
  • Violations can lead to a fine of up to $1,250 for a first offense.

 
Tips for Driving in School Zones 

  • Be aware that traffic patterns around schools may have changed since the last school year.
  • Stay alert and put your phone away. Using a handheld electronic device while driving in an active school zone is against the law.
  • Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Remember, traffic fines increase in school zones.
  • Drop off and pick up your children in your school’s designated areas, not the middle of the street.
  • Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.
  • Watch for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles.


Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School 

  • Always walk on sidewalks. If there’s not a sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.
  • Cross the street at intersections or marked crosswalks. Look left, right and left again before proceeding.
  • Always obey crossing guards.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Never assume a driver sees you.
  • Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked vehicles.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
  • Don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
  • Follow all traffic rules, signs and signals.

                                                                                           
“Be Safe. Drive Smart.” is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel such as wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Nov. 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.

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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