Dallas County adds 373 coronavirus cases; Jenkins notes rise in positivity rate, urges extra caution

Dallas News

Dallas County reported 373 more coronavirus cases Saturday, including 202 that the county considers new and 171 from previous months. Officials also announced two more COVID-19 deaths.

Labs either report coronavirus cases directly to the county health department or to the state health department, which then relays the information to individual counties. Of cases reported Saturday, Dallas County health officials said 266 came from the state’s reporting system, including 74 from May, 50 from June, nine from July, 38 from August and 95 from September. The remaining 107 cases were reported directly to the county health department.

The latest victims were two Dallas men, one in his 30s and one in his 70s, who were hospitalized in critical condition. The man younger man had an underlying health problem, while the older man did not.

“Our positivity rate has gone from 10% to 11.9% in one week,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a written statement, adding that the increase means “extra vigilance is warranted as more people crowd into indoor establishments, making it more difficult to maintain proper spacing.”

The newly reported cases bring the county’s total confirmed cases to 80,978. The county’s death toll stands at 1,017.

Dallas County included 42 probable cases among the newly reported cases Saturday, bringing its total probable cases to 3,922, including 12 probable COVID-19 deaths. Probable cases and deaths include people who had a positive antigen test (sometimes called rapid tests); had antibodies for the virus; or had COVID-19 symptoms and contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

While other North Texas counties provide estimates for how many people have recovered from the virus, Dallas County officials do not report recoveries, saying it is not a measurement used by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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 previous 24 hours, 321 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county, and 341 ER visits were for symptoms of the disease.

Though those numbers have declined since highs in July, health officials said the virus still has a “disruptive” impact on the county’s health care systems, according to a news release from the county judge’s office.

More than two-thirds of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization so far have been in people under 65, and diabetes has been an underlying condition in about a third of all hospitalized patients, according to the county.

Dallas County doesn’t provide a positivity rate for all COVID-19 tests conducted in the area; county health officials have said they don’t have an accurate count of how many tests are conducted each day. But as of its most recent reporting period, 11.9% of people who showed up at hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms tested positive for the virus. That’s an increase from the previous reporting period, in which 10% such patients tested positive.

Of the county’s total confirmed COVID-19 deaths, about 25% are associated with long-term care facilities.

Statewide data

Across the state, 3,283 more cases and 121 COVID-19 deaths were reported Saturday. Texas has reported 733,438 confirmed cases and 15,485 fatalities.

According to the state dashboard on Saturday there were 3,209 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, including 804 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The seven-day average positivity rate statewide, based on the date of test specimen collection, was 6.62% as of Friday. State health officials said using data based on when people were tested will provide the most accurate positivity rate.

The state also provides a positivity rate based on when lab results were reported to the state; that rate stood at 9.47% as of Friday.

Officials previously calculated Texas’ coronavirus positivity rate by dividing the most recent seven days of new positive test results by the most recent seven days of total new test results. By that measure, the positivity rate is 7.29% percent, according to its dashboard.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services said that positivity rate data based on lab results and new cases will likely be phased out but is still being provided for transparency and continuity purposes.

Tarrant County

Tarrant County reported 262 coronavirus cases and eight new COVID-19 deaths Saturday.

The county’s death toll stands at 653. Details about the most recent victims were not made available.

The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 49,159, including 3,488 probable cases. Recoveries from the virus stand at 43,040.

According to the county dashboard, 282 people are hospitalized with the virus.

Collin County

Collin County added 42 coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing its total to 13,513.

The county also reported four new COVID-19 fatalities, raising its death toll to 145.

The county has 963 active cases, and 12,550 people have recovered from the virus. According to the county dashboard, 99 people are hospitalized with the virus.

Collin County, which receives its data from the Department of State Health Services since turning over case management in June, has a note on its dashboard warning residents that it has low confidence in the numbers the state is providing.

Denton County

Denton County reported 35 new coronavirus cases and no new COVID-19 deaths Saturday.

The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 11,985, including 1,577 active cases and 10,299 recoveries. The death toll is 109.

Other counties

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

The latest numbers are:

Rockwall County: 1,629 cases, 25 deaths.Kaufman County: 3,136 cases, 47 deaths.Ellis County: 4,398 cases, 68 deaths.Johnson County: 3,011 cases, 50 deaths.

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