The number of patients battling COVID-19 in Tarrant County hospitals makes up more than a third of all COVID-19 patients in Trauma Service Area E, according to new data.
According to the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, there are 911 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in TSA E as of Tuesday. 321 patients are in Tarrant County’s hospitals, according to DFW Hospital Council CEO Stephen Love.
“As a point of reference, we had 287 COVID-19 patients in the hospitals on June 20 so as you can tell, our hospitalizations have increased significantly in 30 days,” Love wrote in an email. “Vaccinations are absolutely helping protect people and the unvaccinated are very much at risk with the increase in the Delta variant.”
The number of statewide hospitalizations is also on the rise, growing from 1,591 on July 1 to 3,319 through Tuesday, according to the state health department.
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At a briefing before Tarrant County commissioners Tuesday, John Peter Smith Hospital president and CEO Robert Earley said their hospital is currently caring for 31 COVID-19 patients. There were as few as eight patients in March, Earley said.
“We have numbers in the peak of it upwards of 200. 30 is a long cry from that, but it’s not great to see it go from eight to 31,” he said. “JPS has given 95,291 vaccines and it’s not enough. I wish that number were triple. I don’t know what to do. I try every effort I can to diminish the politics of vaccines. I try every effort I can to diminish people’s fears that is not based on anything we have that is science.”
According to Tarrant County’s dashboard, more than 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to date with 30% of eligible residents fully vaccinated.
“It is us not agreeing as a community that what is prolonging the pandemic,” Tarrant County Public Health director Vinny Taneja said. “The more time we give the virus to mutate in people, more variants are going to come. We’re going to run out of the alphabet to name those variants.”
At the meeting, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley questioned exactly what “herd immunity” meant for the county.
“Until you tell me what your definition is, I can’t tell you whether we’ll ever get there,” Judge Whitley said.
Taneja said the concept of herd immunity is generally accepted as 70% of a community having immunity to an illness, though he said Tarrant County has not set a numerical goal for vaccinations and other factors.
“We don’t want COVID cases to occur. That’s the ultimate goal, right? So, if you achieve 70%, and you still have a raging outbreak then well…that doesn’t do us any good,” he explained. If we’re only at 50% and COVID subsides, then hey…that works for me.”
An update on the county’s COVID-19 dashboard is expected on Wednesday.