Dallas County added another 1,774 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Thursday along with 17 more deaths attributed to the virus, including 10 people who died at home or work.
County health officials said there were 1,007 COVID-19 patients in acute care in Dallas County hospitals through Wednesday night, a slight increase over the day before.
Of the cases reported Thursday, the county said 1,418 were confirmed cases and 356 were probable (antigen test) cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county from March to 172,165 and the number of probable (antigen test) cases to 21,153. The total of confirmed and probable cases in the county is now at 193,318. Over the last seven days, Dallas County officials have reported 13,900 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus.
The 17 latest victims include 10 people whose ages ranged from their 40s to their 70s who were either found deceased at home or at work. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said this was due to a group of autopsies recently completed and reported by the Dallas County Medical Examiner. The remaining victims were all between their 60s and 80s and all died at a hospital, including one man who was in his 70s and died in an emergency room.
County officials said Thursday there have been 1,628 deaths in the county attributed to the virus. In the summer, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said COVID-19 is the third leading cause of death in the county behind diseases of the heart and cancers.
There have been a number of questions about COVID-19 vaccine availability across North Texas. In a statement Thursday, Jenkins said the county is working with the DFW Hospital Council and the state health department "to streamline the process and make it easier for you to get reliable information about where the shots will be available."
"Currently, in Dallas County, we are still working through 1A and should be out of our current allocation by the end of today on those healthcare providers and other 1A members. Many of our hospitals likewise are still working through the 1A health providers, but as more vaccine comes in there will be more availability for 1B."
Group 1A is comprised primarily of healthcare personnel and first responders. Group 1B is made up of essential workers, those with high-risk medical conditions and adults older than 65.
Jenkins said his office will share information about when group 1B can get the vaccine as soon as possible.
The county said that the provisional 7-day average for new confirmed and probable cases by date of a test collection for CDC week 51 was 1,787, which represents a rate of 67.8 daily new cases per 100,000 residents.
In the last 30 days, there have been 5,971 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from more than 756 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County, including 569 staff members. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 21 school nurses have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Jenkins, on Monday, issued a warning for those who planned traditional gatherings on New Year's Eve, urging them to reconsider their plans and to take precautions against spreading the virus.
"To help our healthcare heroes help you, please make smart decisions and follow doctors’ advice this New Year’s season. Wear your mask when around people you don’t live with and avoid crowds and get-togethers. We must all think of ways to celebrate the New Year that are safe, not just for us, but for those who will inevitably catch the virus from the people who contract it this New Year’s," Jenkins said. "It may not be you, but your grandmother or someone else’s grandmother who pays a heavy toll for your decision to have a traditional New Year’s celebration. Please help make the small sacrifice of patriotism to keep our community and our country strong until everyone who wants the vaccine can get it and it can have its opportunity to protect them from the virus."