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Health

Four-county area tops 6,000 COVID-19 deaths; winter weather alters vaccination and testing schedules – The Dallas Morning News

Dallas County on Wednesday reported 1,231 new coronavirus cases and 37 more deaths from COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the foursome of Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant County added 81 deaths Wednesday, bringing their collective toll to above 6,000 — or 6,056.

The latest Dallas County victims included 25 men and 13 women in their 20s to their 90s. They included 15 people from Dallas, eight from Garland, four each from Irving and Rowlett, two from DeSoto, and one each from Coppell, Lancaster, Mesquite and Wylie.

Nine victims lived in long-term care facilities. Five victims, including a Dallas man in his 20s, did not have underlying health conditions.

On Wednesday — and for the first time since November — COVID-19 hospitalizations for the hospital region that includes Dallas-Fort Worth dropped below the 15% threshold that Gov. Greg Abbott has used to define high hospitalizations, according to the state.

The state reported that 12.59% of patients in the D-FW hospital region were being treated for COVID-19. There are 9,165 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, including 2,491 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

D-FW rolled back its indoor business capacity in December after reporting more than 15% of COVID-19 hospitalizations for a week, prompting a rollback in that area’s indoor business capacity. According to the governor’s Oct. 7 executive order, the rate must fall below 15% for one week before business capacity can rise again.

In a written statement, County Judge Clay Jenkins thanked the Biden administration for choosing Fair Park as a federal mass vaccination site, effective the week of Feb. 22. The federal government will expand the county’s vaccine efforts at Fair Park and open a similar hub in AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Of the new cases, 1,018 were confirmed and 213 were probable. The numbers bring the county’s overall case total to 270,796, including 237,943 confirmed and 32,853 probable. The death toll is 2,519.

Health officials use hospitalizations, intensive care admissions and emergency room visits as key metrics to track the real-time impact of COVID-19 in the county. In the 24-hour period that ended Tuesday, 761 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county. During the same period, 575 ER visits were for symptoms of the disease.

According to the state, 214,320 people in Dallas County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 66,942 are fully vaccinated.

Site closings

Several North Texas county health departments and health providers announced they would be closing or delaying operations for vaccination and testing sites in anticipation of inclement weather on Thursday.

Dallas County: The opening of the Fair Park vaccine hub will be delayed until noon Thursday.

Tarrant County: All testing sites will be closed and will resume normal operations Friday, the county said.

Denton County: Vaccination appointments set for Thursday will be rescheduled for Friday afternoon, the county said. The shots will be administered at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

Parkland Health & Hospital System: The health provider said the vaccination sites at Ellis Davis Field House and Eastfield Community College in Mesquite will be closed Thursday through Monday. Those with appointments for these locations should go to Parkland Memorial Hospital at their scheduled time, and those who cannot make it will be contacted by Parkland.

Testing sites at Sam Tasby Middle School in Dallas, Irving Health Center and West Dallas Multipurpose Center will be closed Thursday through Monday, Parkland said.

Texas

Across the state, 12,941 more cases were reported Wednesday, including 12,168 new cases and 773 older ones recently reported by labs.

The state also reported 385 COVID-19 deaths, raising its toll to 39,386.

Of the new cases, 9,936 were confirmed and 2,232 were probable. Of the older cases, 486 were confirmed and 287 were probable.

The state’s case total is now 2,517,497, including 2,187,994 confirmed and 329,503 probable.

The seven-day average positivity rate statewide for molecular tests, based on the date of test specimen collection, was 11.75% as of Tuesday. For antigen tests, the positivity rate for the same period was 5.03%. A molecular test is considered more accurate and is sometimes also called a PCR test; an antigen test is also called a rapid test. Gov. Greg Abbott has said a positivity rate above 10% is cause for concern.

According to the state, 2,630,567 people in Texas have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 892,736 are fully vaccinated.

Tarrant County

Tarrant County reported 1,311 coronavirus cases and 20 deaths Wednesday.

The latest victims include 11 men and nine women who ranged in age from their 40s to older than 90. Six victims lived in Fort Worth, four were from Arlington, two each lived in Mansfield and White Settlement, and one each were from Azle, Benbrook, Everman, Hurst, North Richland Hills and Southlake. All but one had underlying health conditions.

Of the new cases, 1,084 were confirmed and 227 were probable. The numbers bring the county’s case total to 232,292, including 198,635 confirmed and 33,657 probable. The death toll is 2,529.

According to the county, 893 people are hospitalized with the virus as of Wednesday.

According to the state, 144,200 people in Tarrant County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 52,203 are fully vaccinated.

Collin County

The state added 414 coronavirus cases and nine deaths to Collin County’s totals Wednesday.

No details about the latest victims were available.

Of the new cases, 229 were confirmed and 185 were probable. The numbers bring the county’s case total to 78,080, including 66,418 confirmed and 11,662 probable. The death toll is 645.

According to the county, 380 people are hospitalized with the virus.

According to the state, 98,057 people in Collin County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 26,736 are fully vaccinated.

Denton County

Denton County reported 726 coronavirus cases and 15 deaths Wednesday.

The latest victims include nine men and six women ranging from their 40s to their 80s. The victims included seven people from Denton, four from Lewisville, and one each from Frisco, Highland Village, Shady Shores and an unincorporated part of Denton County. Three victims lived in long-term care facilities.

The numbers bring the county’s case total to 58,644, including 45,500 confirmed and 13,144 probable. The death toll is 363.

According to the county, 166 people are hospitalized with the virus.

According to the state, 44,492 people in Denton County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 17,491 are fully vaccinated.

Other counties

The Texas Department of State Health Services has taken over reporting for these other North Texas counties. In some counties, new data may not be reported every day.

The latest numbers are:

  • Rockwall County: 10,027 cases (8,298 confirmed and 1,729 probable), 113 deaths.
  • Kaufman County: 13,979 cases (12,059 confirmed and 1,920 probable), 197 deaths.
  • Ellis County: 19,813 cases (17,271 confirmed and 2,542 probable), 258 deaths.
  • Johnson County: 17,663 cases (15,393 confirmed and 2,270 probable), 297 deaths.
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