Dallas County on Saturday reported 1,675 more coronavirus cases, all of them considered new. Two new COVID-19 deaths were also reported.
The latest victims were two Dallas men in their 70s who had been critically ill at a hospital and had underlying health conditions.
“The improving numbers, while early, are an indication that residents are renewing their strength and engaging in shared sacrifice and patriotism to keep our community and our country strong until such time as the vaccine can be widely distributed and have its effect,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a written statement.
“We’ve just got to keep it up and keep making those smart decisions. By next week we’ll have a feel for what the after-effects of Thanksgiving will be, and with the colder weather, we know that COVID cases are likely to uptick as more and more people are forced into tight spaces indoors.”
Of the new cases reported Saturday, 1,411 are confirmed and 264 are probable. The newly reported cases bring the county’s total confirmed cases to 132,890 and probable cases to 13,430. The county has recorded 1,232 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 38 probable deaths.
The county recently announced it is counting only positive antigen tests (sometimes called rapid tests) as probable cases; a few antibody and “household” results were included previously.
While other North Texas counties provide estimates for how many people have recovered from the virus, Dallas County officials do not report recoveries, noting that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not use that metric.
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 Friday, 764 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county. During the same period, 474 ER visits were for symptoms of the disease.
The county reported that since Nov. 1, 5,320 school-age children tested positive for COVID-19. Thirteen schools closed temporarily for in-person instruction this week, the county said.
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.
The county’s provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases for the latest reporting period was 1,069. The figure is calculated by the date of the COVID-19 test collection, 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 the county’s most recent reporting period, 22.3% 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, when 20.4% such patients tested positive.
There are currently 97 outbreaks at long-term care facilities, including 927 cases in the last 30 days.
County judges and mayors across North Texas on Saturday received official notice from the state of business capacity rollbacks prompted by high COVID-19 hospitalizations rates.
The North Texas hospital region on Thursday reached a threshold of seven consecutive days when 15% or more of available hospital beds were occupied by patients who had tested positive for COVID-19. Reaching that benchmark prompts restaurants to reduce their capacity to 50% from 75% and bars to close under an order set by Gov. Greg Abbott.
Dr. John Hellerstedt, the state’s health commissioner, on Saturday sent out letters to North Texas county judges officially notifying them of the order and what it entails.
The letter was more of a formality, however, because local officials have been aware of the order since Thursday.
Beginning Saturday, restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, manufacturing facilities, gyms and exercise facilities, museums, and libraries in North Texas must limit capacity to no more than 50%, Hellerstedt said in the letter.
Across the state, 11,627 more cases and 247 COVID-19 deaths were reported Saturday. Texas has now reported 1,240,750 confirmed cases and 22,502 fatalities.
There are 8,916 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, including 2,454 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
On Saturday, 14.94% of patients hospitalized in the North Texas hospital region were COVID-19 patients. The region must have seven consecutive days below the 15% threshold for the business capacity rollbacks to increase again, according to Abbott’s order.
The seven-day average positivity rate statewide, based on the date of test specimen collection, was 14.23% as of Friday. State health officials said using data based on when people were tested provides 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 14.26% 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 now 14.05%, according to the state 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 reported 1,302 coronavirus cases and one new death Saturday.
Information about the most recent victim was not made available.
The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 108,480, including 95,882 confirmed cases, 12,598 probable cases and 76,022 recoveries. The death toll stands at 872.
According to Saturday’s numbers on the county dashboard, 851 people are hospitalized with the virus.
The state added 422 coronavirus cases to Collin County’s total Saturday, bringing the tally to 28,547. Five new COVID-19 fatalities also were reported, bringing the county’s death toll to 277.
No details about the latest victims were available.
According to state data, the county has 3,167 active cases of the virus and has recorded 25,380 recoveries.
The county’s coronavirus dashboard provides only total hospitalizations, now at 320.
Denton County reported 389 coronavirus cases — of which 267 are active — and no new deaths Saturday.
The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 26,034, including 6,882 that are active and 18,994 that are recoveries. The death toll stands at 158.
The newly reported cases raised the county’s total molecular cases to 21,903, while antigen cases stand at 4,131.
There are 127 COVID-19 patients hospitalized with the virus, according to the county’s data.
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: 3,540 cases, 39 deaths.Kaufman County: 5,369 cases, 87 deaths.Ellis County: 7,905 cases, 127 deaths.Johnson County: 6,364 cases, 115 deaths.
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