City, County Open Joint Mega Vaccination Center

As many as 2,000 per day can be vaccinated at new mega vaccination center that opened today at Fair Park, which is a joint effort between the City of Dallas and Dallas County.

Early Monday morning, Dallas County officials and city officials gathered to open the center.

“We will get thousands of our most vulnerable residents vaccinated at Fair Park this next week with well over 100,000 people on the list, the list growing daily, and the State giving us enough vaccines to vaccinate six to seven thousand people this week,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. “We obviously won’t get to everyone, so I appreciate your patience and grace as we work through the task of mass vaccination for North Texas.”

The site will not take walk-ups – only people who qualify under Phase 1A or 1B can get an appointment by registering at the  Dallas County website. 

The increase in vaccination sites could not come at a more important time. On Saturday, the county’s new case count breached 3,000 for the first time.

A total of 6,386 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus were reported by Dallas County health officials over the weekend, and an additional 1,441 probable cases were reported, along with 38 deaths.

On Friday, the county reported 2,387 cases (2,106 confirmed cases and 281 probable) and 21 deaths, on Saturday 3,194 cases (2,293 confirmed and 901 probable) and 10 deaths, and on Sunday, 2,246 cases (1,987 confirmed and 259 probable) and seven deaths.

That averages to roughly 2,609 cases per day over three days.

Among the dead are a Dallas woman in her 20s, a Dallas man in his 40s, two Dallas women in their 40s, a Dallas woman in her 50s with no underlying conditions, a Mesquite woman in her 50s, two Dallas men in their 50s (one of them was found dead in his home), a Grand Prairie man in his 60s, four Dallas men in their 60s, a Richardson woman in her 60s, a Garland woman in her 60s, a Garland man in his 60s, a Dallas woman in her 60s, a Cedar Hill man in his 60s who died at a local emergency room, a Dallas woman in her 70s, four Dallas men in their 70s, a Duncanville man in his 70s, a Garland man in his 70s, a Duncanville woman in her 80s, threeDallas men in their 80s, a Richardson man in his 80s with no underlying health conditions, a Dallas woman in her 80s, a Cedar Hill man in his 80s, a Mesquite woman in her 80s, and a Dallas woman in her 90s.

The county said there are 109 active long-term care facility outbreaks. Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 3,286 residents and 1,871 healthcare workers in long-term facilities in Dallas have been diagnosed with COVID-19.  Of these, 378 have died. 

About 22% of all deaths reported to date have been associated with long-term care facilities, including a woman in her 70s who lived in a Dallas facility, two women in their 80s who lived in Carrollton facilities, and a woman in her 90s with no underlying high-risk health conditions who died at a Dallas facility.

Forty-two outbreaks of COVID-19 in congregate-living facilities like homeless shelters and group homes have been reported in the past 30 days associated with 114 cases.

“Today we break 3,000 new COVID cases for the first time. This is 350 cases more than we’ve ever seen on a single day before,” Jenkins said Saturday. “This closes this week as our second deadliest week for COVID as we announce 10 more deaths today. Our positivity rate is also at a new all-time high at 31% and our daily average of new cases reached an all-time high of 2,104 for CDC week 53, ending January 2.

“All of these numbers are leading to a lack of hospital bed capacity and a loss of your best chance for optimum care at our hospitals. Our healthcare heroes and everyone with an underlying condition of any kind needs your help to see us through these darkest days of the COVID pandemic.”

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday was 1,183 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 23% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council

The provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases (by date of test collection) for the CDC week ending Jan. 2 was to 2,104, which is a rate of 79.8 daily new cases per 100,000 residents. Positive tests also remain high, with 31% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive.

UT Southwestern’s latest forecast projects that by Jan. 15, Dallas County hospitals could see concurrent hospitalizations rise to between 1,150 and 1,870 cases, with roughly 3,500 new cases per day on average. 

According to trackers provided by Dallas ISD and Highland Park ISD, cases of COVID-19 are cropping up at schools. On Friday, Dallas ISD’s COVID-19 dashboard indicated that there were now 2,682 cases throughout the district – 1,407 among campus staff, 314 among central staff, and 1,141 among students.

Hillcrest High School has 23 cases, W.T. White High School has 25 cases, Thomas Jefferson High School has 35, Marsh Middle School has 13 cases, Benjamin Franklin Middle School has 16, Medrano Middle School has 13, Longfellow has 10, Walker Middle School has six, Dealey Montessori has nine, Walnut Hill Elementary has 19, Sudie Williams has four, Foster Elementary has nine, Nathan Adams Elementary has seven, Pershing Elementary has three, Withers Elementary has nine, Gooch Elementary has 18, Kramer Elementary has 13, Preston Hollow Elementary has 10, and K.B. Polk has 13 cases.

Highland Park ISD is reporting 17 staff cases and 43 student cases (13 among four of the five elementary schools, five at the middle schools, and 25 at Highland Park High School). Neither district provides information on how many students and staff have quarantined due to classroom exposure to the virus. 

Not all private schools are publicly reporting their cases, but among those that are:

  • Greenhill reported 18 active student cases and seven staff and faculty cases as of Jan. 10.
  • Ursuline reported eight lab-confirmed student case of COVID-19 and 54 students quarantining as of Jan. 11, and one confirmed case among faculty and staff, with three staff members quarantining.
  • Hockaday reported 10 students and six faculty or staff members as having active cases, with 27 students and 10 staff members or faculty quarantining.

Dallas County reported that 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.

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 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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