Coronavirus

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Straining Dallas County Hospitals, Judge Jenkins Says

Dallas County Judge warns against events like trick-or-treating due to continuing rise in cases of adults and children

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The Dallas County Health Department says hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have risen back to levels seen in August and are placing a strain on hospitals. On Thursday, the county health department also announced another 435 cases of the virus along with three more related deaths.

"We continue to see an increase in the number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases as well as an increase in our hospitalizations," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a prepared statement. "We are back to the mid-August numbers for hospitalizations and that increase is placing a strain on our local hospitals, especially on their staff who have been tirelessly reporting to COVID since March."

Jenkins said projections indicated that the numbers will continue to rise and that people must act now to curb the spread of the virus.

According to data from the state health department, hospitalizations in Texas are up again Thursday to 4,931, a peak last reached in late August.

In North Texas it's a bit of a different story where the state says there are 1,374 people hospitalized with the virus -- the most out of any metro area in the state. In North Texas, the number of hospitalized people has gone up every day for more than a week and has returned to a high not seen since early August.

Of the 435 cases reported, 351 were confirmed and 84 were probable, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services. DCHHS said 291 of the cases came from the DSHS backlog and that all but one case, from August, were from earlier this month.

The additional three deaths being reported Thursday include the following:

  • A man in his 50s who was a resident of the City of Garland. He had been critically ill in the hospital.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Mesquite. She had been critically ill in the hospital and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 90s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He had been hospitalized and had underlying high-risk health conditions.

The county has now accumulated 91,664 confirmed cases of the virus since testing began in March. The county said there have been 1,093 confirmed deaths attributed in the county to the virus, which, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang, is now the third leading cause of death in the county behind diseases of the heart and cancers.

County health officials said Friday the 7-day average for CDC Week 41 was 482, an increase from the previous daily average of 385 from Week 40. The county also said that a provisional total of 406 school-aged children were confirmed or probable during that same week, which is more than twice the number of school-aged children diagnosed four weeks earlier.

Are Trick-or-Treating and Voting Dangerous?

Last week, Jenkins advised North Texans to avoid trick-or-treating this year, and other similar events, and called them a possible super-spreader activity.

"As we approach the Halloween holiday with cases increasing, it’s important that families make responsible decisions to do things within the family unit and not come into contact with many people outside their home. Doctors strongly encourage all residents to forgo trick or treating, trunk or treating, and Halloween parties and instead focus on candy hunts, Halloween themed family parties or movie nights, pumpkin carving and other things that can be done with the people that you live with. We must get this under control now or we are in for a rough holiday season and winter when the weather forces more people indoors which increases the chance of COVID-19 spread. We can do this North Texas but it’s up to each and every one of us. You’ve brought the numbers down twice before and you can do it again,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said earlier this week that voting in person in Dallas County is safe and that the county has spent millions of dollars on disinfectants, plexiglass screens and other precautions to ensure that voters are safe. Voters can also see a live, color-coded map showing the approximate wait times at polling locations in Dallas County so that they can see which polls are least crowded and where voting can be done quickly. See the map here.

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