Hospitalizations Increasing, Rising Numbers Concerning, Officials Say

Officials are warily eyeing a potential upward trend for hospitalizations and positive cases of COVID-19 again, just as flu season is beginning. These are your bullet points for today:

  • Hospitalizations increasing, rising numbers concerning, officials say;
  • Southbound lanes of Preston Road reduced to one lane tomorrow;
  • Officials seek answers regarding unanswered 911 calls during Galleria shooting.
Hospitalizations Increasing, Rising Numbers Concerning, Officials Say

Dallas County health officials reported 789 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, with an additional 14 probable cases. Of the confirmed cases, 758 were from this month.

The cumulative case count in Dallas County is 82,161, with 1,022 deaths.

Of the 789 new reports of positive molecular COVID-19 tests, 517 came through the Texas Department of State Health Services’ electronic laboratory reporting system and only 31 were from previous months.

The county also reported the death of a Dallas man in his 80s with underlying high risk health conditions.

“Today we have a high number of new positive COVID-19 cases from the month of September, and while this number is much higher than we’ve seen in the recent weeks of reporting, 486 of these September cases come from the state’s electronic laboratory reporting system which has had significant lags in reporting,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “Keep in mind that this is the next to the last day of the month of September and we have no way of knowing whether these cases were from the last two weeks or from early September.

“The numbers are concerning along with arising cases in other areas and a flattening and beginning to move higher here in Dallas County,” he added. “Additionally, our hospitalization numbers have increased for the county and for the region.”

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday was  317 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 16% of all ER visits – roughly a two percent increase from the week before, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.

The provisional 7-day average daily new confirmed and probable cases (by date of test collection) for the CDC week ending on Sept. 19 was 307, an increase from the previous daily average of 261 for the week before.

A provisional total of 237 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-aged children (5 to 17 years) during the CDC week ending on Sept. 19, an increase from the previous week for this age group. The percentage of cases occurring in young adults aged 18 to 22 years has increased to 13% for the month of September.

UT Southwestern’s latest forecast projects that by Oct. 9, Dallas County hospitals could see concurrent hospitalizations rise to between 250 and 460 cases, with roughly 520 new cases per day on average. The new modeling does take into account the return to school campuses.

“Hospitalizations in North Texas are on the rise again; the average volume for the past week was 27% higher than the average volume in May,” the researchers wrote. “In Dallas and Tarrant counties, both hospitalizations and the number of patients in ICU are projected to increase over the next two weeks.

“The spread of the disease is now more even among different age groups compared to the end of August, when it was spreading largely in younger age groups.”

In the county’s Sept. 25 aggregate report, most confirmed cases continue to be between the ages of 18 and 60, with the 18-40 age group accounting for 47% of the cases, and the 41-64 age group accounting for another 34% of the total cases.

The percentage of cases occurring in young adults aged 18 to 22 years has increased to 14% in September to date. A provisional total of 225 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-aged children (5 to 17 years) during CDC week 38, an increase from the previous week for this age group.

Of the testing done, positive cases accounted for 11.9% as of Sept. 19, with 626 positives coming from 5,256 tests. Testing for the week prior found that positive cases accounted for 10% of all testing.

Southbound Lanes of Preston Road Reduced to One Lane Tomorrow

The southbound side of Preston Hollow from Walnut Hill Lane to Joyce Way will be reduced to one lane tomorrow for work on the city’s water lines.

The lanes will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. while Dallas water pipes are replaced. Motorists are urged to follow the signage in the construction zone, and to be alert for construction crews that are working to connect new underground water pipes to the city’s water system.

The construction will also require water service to the area to be temporarily shut off for some customers, with water service interrruptions expected to last from four to six hours, beginning around 10 a.m. Dallas Water Utilities personnel will also go door-to-door to alert impacted residents and customers, wearing masks and practicing social distancing while doing so.

Officials Seek Answers Regarding Unanswered 911 Calls During Galleria Shooting

More details are emerging in regards to Sunday’s fatal shooting at the Westin Galleria parking lot.

According to NBC-5, three unanswered 911 calls were received from the Westin’s front desk, but each time the caller hung up after the calls went unanswered.

“At 2:13 a.m. the caller hung up after 35 seconds with no answer.  At 2:17, the caller hung up after two minutes and 23 seconds with no answer.  At 2:36 a.m., the caller hung up after three minutes and 11 seconds, after still receiving no answer,” the station reported, adding that Dallas police said high call volume led to the unanswered calls.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy 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 doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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