Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Tarrant County are increasing, though not drastically, according to the county public health director.
Vinny Taneja, director of Tarrant County Public Health, said from a public health standpoint, they want to see hospitalizations either flattening or decreasing.
“The ‘low’ on hospitalization in our area was about April 13. Since then, we’ve been slowly ticking up everyday,” Taneja said. “Data speaks for itself. The trends have been showing up. Now, it’s not crazy up. I want to be real about that. Trends should be going down, right? It’s going up, so that’s concerning and it should be concerning for everybody.”
Around April 13, Taneja said there were 113 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Tarrant County, but in the recent weeks, that number has climbed to about 230.
That means the number of COVID-19 patients in Tarrant County hospital beds is around 4%, Taneja said.
This data was presented before the Tarrant County Commissioner’s Court meeting on Tuesday, when Taneja said health officials would continue to watch data as restrictions slowly begin to lift.
“From the 1918 flu, I quoted something I read from a newspaper article that people rejoiced in the streets,” he said. “We need to continue to stay at home as much as possible. If we’re going to be out and about, maintain social distancing and wear a mask if you’re out in public.”
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He said this especially applied to the population over the age of 65. On Tuesday, Tarrant County Public Health announced six more deaths related to the novel coronavirus. All of the patients had underlying health conditions and ranged in age from their 50s to their 80s, according to a press relase
The deaths reported Tuesday bring the county's total to 83 coronavirus-related deaths, while 653 people have recovered.
Speaking on behalf of Fort Worth’s Emergency Operations Center, Fort Worth Fire Chief Jim Davis said they anticipated an increase in cases as restrictions are reduced and testing capability increases.
At a work session meeting before the city council, Davis said there were more than 2,500 confirmed cases in Tarrant County, with just under 1,200 in Fort Worth.
“Our [county] doubling rate right now is about every 19 days. That’s actually pretty good. Some of these places have been devastated by the coronavirus which is New York City, they were having doubling rates every day and a half. Every two days, three days and that’s where they were getting into trouble with their hospital admissions,” Davis said.
Acknowledging the hospitalization numbers in Tarrant County, Judge Glen Whitley said he was “comfortable” with reopening progression and the number of cases.
“We’re not going to close the hospitals. That was the important part. That was the reason we started the restrictions in the first place,” Whitley said. “We still need to take this very seriously. Most of the folks who come down with this are not going into the hospitals, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to be concerned about spreading this even more.”
However, Whitley said he would like to see more people in masks in public and encouraged the continued practice of social distancing.
“Let’s just use some common sense. Let’s be respectful and responsible for our actions,” he said.
At the commissioner’s court meeting, county officials announced the opening of a new testing site in southeast Fort Worth. To schedule an appointment, click here.