COVID-19 Disease Activity Still High, But Indicators Are Starting to Trend Down: Tarrant County Public Health

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Tarrant County health leaders are reporting a downward trend in all key indicators measuring COVID-19 data, adding the next few months may be critical.

Hospitalizations, positivity rate, and overall cases are declining, Tarrant County Public Health director Vinny Taneja said Tuesday. As of this week, the county’s positivity rate stands at about 25%. At its peak, the county experienced a 42% positivity rate, Taneja said.

“It’s a relative statement. We had a really high peak, so things are looking very good because they were in the downward trend but if you just look in the numbers, we still have very high disease activity in the community,” he said. “What does that mean? We need to continue our masking, get our vaccinations done. There’s a huge gap between people who have completed their two-dose series and people who came out for their booster shots.”

Testing demand is also down with lines about 1/10th of the size of lines from two weeks ago, Taneja added. He said the next couple of months may be critical, with the possibility of children between six-months-old and five-years-old eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. In Tarrant County, about 143,000 children are included in that age group.

“That’s our last group that we don’t have a vaccine for,” he said. “Once we have that out and if parents would cooperate and get their kids vaccinated, we can get to a nice summer break. Hopefully, they can go back to school or summer break or daycares in the fall. A lot rides on that.”

Dr. Robert Rogers, an allergy-immunology specialist in Fort Worth, said his practice is also getting fewer and fewer calls related to COVID-19 infections.

“Mid to late January was pretty awful. We were at the peak of the surge and since then, things seem to getting significantly better,” Dr. Rogers said.

Rogers said as a whole, he feels optimistic about current trends and the upcoming months.

“I think the real wildcard is, do enough people have immunity to prevent another surge? That’s one. Another would be, are we going to deal with another variant?” he explained. “I think our biggest problem is that this pandemic is still pretty new. I know it seems like we’ve been in forever, but it’s still pretty new in terms of measuring things about how long-lasting immunity is going to be whether vaccine immunity is going to last longer than natural immunity.”

As of this week, county data shows 69% of eligible Tarrant County residents are fully vaccinated and 16% of eligible residents have received booster shots.

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