The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to fall in DFW-area hospitals, and DFW Hospital Councils says last month's winter storm may possibly have helped in the decline.
"We are currently running about 1,300 COVID-19 positive patients in our hospitals in Trauma Service Area E and in mid-January we were over 4,000, so we are continuing to decrease which is very good news," CEO of Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Stephen Love said.
Texas is nearing the mark of two full weeks since the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients dropped below 15% and occupancy restrictions imposed on non-essential businesses were lifted.
They were first set in place in early December to help decrease the strain on frontline workers and Texas hospitals during the pandemic.
After a three-month increase led to the most coronavirus hospitalizations Texas has seen yet in January, hospitalizations started to decline in mid-January and continue to do so.
According to Love, coronavirus hospitalizations look a lot different than how they did just six weeks ago.
The percentage of COVID-19 patients to bed capacity is down to just 9%, and the ICU COVID-19 patients are 24% of total ICU capacity, down from 50% six weeks ago.
Dangerously cold weather the state hadn't seen in decades forced many Texans to stay off the roads and in their homes the week of Feb. 14.
"It is difficult to say if the winter storm impacted COVID-19 hospitalizations," Love said. "But we hope to see further decreases in about 10-14 days because people were at home, kind of like 'shelter in place' last year."
Love made it clear that the fight to clear the state of the virus is far from over, and safety protocols should still be in place.
"We do not want to let our guard down-we must continue wearing masks, physical distancing, washing hands, and get vaccinations in as many arms as possible," Love said. "Spring Breaks are coming and we need everyone to do their part to keep the COVID-19 virus spread as low as possible."
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
County health departments have launched waitlists for adults 16 years old and over.
You can register to recieve the vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Links are below:
You do not need to be a resident of the county to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county -- registration is open to anyone in Texas. For those without internet access, Tarrant County is also taking registrations by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS vaccine hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.
For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group in Texas, see this page from the Texas DSHS.