Dallas County reported 537 more confirmed cases Thursday, including 529 which the county considers new and eight from previous months. One new COVID-19 death was also reported.
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 Thursday, Dallas County health officials said 324 came from the state’s reporting system, including two from May, three from June, three from September, and 316 from October. The remaining 213 cases were reported directly to the county health department.
The latest victim was a Dallas man in his 70s who had underlying health problems that put him at greater risk for COVID-19 complications.
In light of rising COVID-19 numbers in area hospitals, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins urged residents to again do all they can to “flatten the curve.”
“We are on the beginning of a second wave of COVID-19 cases if we do not modify behavior, and with talk of bars opening and increased capacity in other commercial buildings, there is a false sense of security,” Jenkins said in a written statement. “Given that our numbers are going in the wrong direction, we must turn things around now.”
The newly reported cases bring the county’s total confirmed cases to 88,372. The county’s confirmed death toll stands at 1,059.
Additionally, Dallas County reported 52 probable cases Thursday, bringing the total number of probable cases to 4,476. The county has also reported 13 probable COVID-19 deaths. In Thursday’s news release, Jenkins said all 52 new probable cases were positive antigen tests.
A county spokeswoman said last week that the county was counting only positive antigen tests as probable cases, though a few antibody and “households” results had been included.
On Tuesday, Dr. Philip Huang, director of the county’s health department, said those few antibody inclusions were likely cases in which patients showed symptoms for multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a serious condition associated with COVID-19, in addition to having antibodies.
Moving forward, Huang said, the county’s definition of probable cases likely will include only positive antigen tests — with this lone exception.
“For ease of understanding the numbers, antigen tests are coded as probable and PCR [polymerase chain reaction] tests are coded as confirmed,” Jenkins said Thursday.
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’s 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 24-hour period that ended Wednesday, 376 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county. During the period, 472 ER visits were for symptoms of the disease — about 18% of the county’s total ER visits, according to data reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
The county’s provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases for the latest reporting period, Sept. 27-Oct. 3, was 374. The figure is calculated by the date of the COVID-19 test collection, according to the county.
During that period, 283 school-age children tested positive for the virus — an increase from the prior week.
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, 10% of people who showed up at hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms tested positive for the virus. That’s a decrease from the previous reporting period, when 10.7% of such patients tested positive.
Across the state, 4,615 more cases and 95 COVID-19 deaths were reported Thursday. Texas has now reported 809,808 confirmed cases and 16,812 fatalities.
There are 4,263 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, including 1,177 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The seven-day average positivity rate statewide, based on the date of test specimen collection, was 8.04% as of Wednesday. 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 7.69% as of Wednesday.
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 8.25%, 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 reported 655 coronavirus cases and two new deaths Thursday.
Both of the latest victims had underlying health problems. They include a Fort Worth woman in her 60s and an Arlington man in his 90s.
The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 57,438, including 4,804 probable cases and 47,780 recoveries. The death toll stands at 698.
According to the county dashboard, 442 people are hospitalized with the virus.
Collin County added 100 coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing its total to 16,588. The county also reported one new death, raising the toll to 168.
The county has 898 active cases of the virus — including 142 people who are hospitalized, according to the county dashboard — and has recorded 15,690 recoveries.
According to a note on the county dashboard, Collin County will shut down its county dashboard October 30 and redirect to the state’s numbers because of “continued inaccuracies.”
The county has received its data from DSHS since turning over case management in June, and it has a note on the webpage warning residents that it has low confidence in the numbers the state is providing.
Denton County reported 143 coronavirus cases — of which 108 are active — and no new deaths Thursday.
The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 14,797, including 2,233 that are active and 12,448 that are recoveries. The death toll stands at 116.
The newly reported cases raised the county’s total molecular cases to 13,306, while antigen cases stand at 1,491.
There are 59 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, according to the county’s data.
Denton County Public Health will offer free drive-through testing Friday at the University of North Texas’ Discovery Park, 3940 N. Elm St. in Denton. Those eligible for a test include all county residents who have not previously tested positive for the coronavirus.
Preregistration is required by calling 940-349-2585. Appointment times begin at 8 a.m.
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: 1,770 cases, 30 deaths.Kaufman County: 3,330 cases, 51 deaths.Ellis County: 4,684 cases, 73 deaths.Johnson County: 3,364 cases, 59 deaths.