County Reports Grim New High For COVID-19 Cases

As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase and hospitals work to accommodate more patients sickened by it, keeping abreast of the local developments is important. Here are today’s bullet points:

  • County reports grim new high for COVID-19 cases;
  • Mayor requests larger supply of vaccine from state.
County Reports Grim New High For COVID-19 Cases

Dallas County health officials reported an additional 3,549 cases of COVID-19, with 2,979 confirmed cases and 570 probable cases.

The county also reported 14 deaths, including two Highland Park residents. Among the dead are a Dallas woman in her 40s, a Desoto man in his 50s, a Mesquite man in his 50s, three Dallas men in their 60s, two Dallas women in their 60s, a Mesquite man in his 60s, a Highland Park man in his 60s, two Dallas men in their 70s, a Highland Park woman in her 70s, and a Dallas man in his 80s. All had underlying high-risk health conditions.

The provisional seven-day average of new and probable cases for the most current CDC week was 2,104, or a rate of 79.8 new cases a day per 100,000 residents. Of patients testing at area hospitals, the positive case rate is 31%.

As of Tuesday, 96,242 confirmed positive cases have been reported in Dallas, with 12,793 probable cases. Highland Park has 358 confirmed cases and 114 probable cases, and University Park has 956 confirmed and 657 probable.

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. 

There are 109 active long-term care facility outbreaks. This is the highest number of long-term care facilities with active outbreaks reported in Dallas County 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.

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

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday was 1,226 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 25% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council

“Today we report 3,549 additional new COVID cases,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “This is over 350 cases higher than we have ever reported in a single day. Additionally, there are 14 deaths to report.

“We are in our toughest time for COVID spread. Activities that seemed safe to you weeks ago are much less safe now. Much focus is on vaccine now, as it should be, but the job of ensuring orderly and rapid vaccination falls on a few of us in emergency response and healthcare. The job of keeping safe and keeping the spread of COVID down falls on all of you.”

Mayor Requests Larger Supply of Vaccine from State

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said that the “palpable” need for more vaccine for the city means the state should consider increasing its allotment, he wrote in a letter to Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief W. Nim Kidd.

“The urgency is palpable,” Johnson wrote. “Dallas is the largest city in the state’s largest metropolitan area, and we have seen a significant demand for COVID-19 vaccines in our region. More than 140,000 people have registered for the vaccine through Dallas County.

“In addition, as the vaccine rollout continues in the weeks and months ahead, we must also contend with vaccine hesitancy in some communities, especially among African Americans. I believe we can overcome this distrust with a concerted effort to make these safe and effective vaccines readily available in underserved communities, particularly in southern Dallas, that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.”

Johnson told Kidd that the city has the resources to help with distribution of the vaccine, including the capacity to store up to 10,000 doses a week.

“We have COVID-19 testing sites. We have multiple viable public locations at which our residents could receive vaccinations, and we are prepared to do what is necessary to vaccinate as many people as we can,” he wrote. “We have the will, if you provide us with the way.”

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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