A recent report from UT Southwestern showed hospital volumes in North Texas have risen 89% over the past two weeks and their model projects hospitalizations could reach levels similar to the beginning of 2021–the worst of the pandemic–by October if the pace of vaccinations remains the same.
The prediction comes as a result of rising hospitalization rates because the increased presence of the Delta variant, which has been linked to more severe symptoms compared to other strains.
Experts at UT Southwestern say we can mitigate the effects of COVID-19 if vaccination rates return to their initial levels. To combat COVID-19 and its variants, they recommend getting the vaccine and continuing to follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, such as wearing masks and social distancing for those who remain unvaccinated.
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise again, the Texas Department of State Health Services will travel around the state through the first week of August to promote vaccination.
The pop-ups will feature a 16-foot video wall showing vaccine facts and messages from local spokespeople along with other attractions like a “Take the Shot” basketball game and free frozen treats. Walmart will also offer free COVID-19 vaccines at all its pharmacy locations with no appointment needed.
The interactive event comes as reports indicate low vaccination rates among younger age groups.
“Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are now rising across all age groups,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. “While fewer young people get very sick, they can get and spread the virus, and we are still learning about the long-term effects. Tens of millions of people have been vaccinated with no ill effects. We know these vaccines are not only safe but also very effective. Achieving higher vaccination rates is essential to eliminating the threat of COVID-19 from our communities.”
In other news:
- The Dallas Animal Shelter reported that adopted “pandemic pets” are staying with their families and not being surrendered. According to Interim Director MeLissa Webber, the adoption return rate has decreased since last year. However, the shelter continues to be at high capacity due to lost dogs and orphaned kittens, so it is not too late to adopt a furry friend of your own. All animals at the shelter have been microchipped, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered. It is free to adopt. Read more here.
- Governor Greg Abbott signed into law an anti-fentanyl bill, which will intensify criminal penalties for the manufacture and distribution of the opioid. The new law increases prison time for those caught with certain amounts of fentanyl. Read more here.