Officials in Dallas County on Sunday reported 1,174 additional cases of COVID-19 and the deaths of two Dallas men, bringing the number of coronavirus-related fatalities in the county to 451.
One of the men was in his 60s and had been critically ill at an area hospital, while the other was in his 80s and was a resident of a long-term care facility, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services. Both men had underlying health conditions.
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Sunday marked the 10th straight day on which Dallas County reported more than 1,000 cases of the new coronavirus, raising the countywide total to 33,800. The county's 7-day average stands at 1,137 new cases per day, up from 811 one week ago and 292 one month ago.
Dallas County does not report recoveries from COVID-19 because it lacks the manpower to follow up with thousands of patients, however, the Texas Department of State Health Services posts an estimated number of recoveries on its site and lists 53,752 for Dallas County as of Sunday, August 30. Using data supplied by the state, there are an estimated 14,900 active COVID-19 cases in the county.
"We can stop the surge of cases going higher if we all take responsibility and make our best choices," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. "You focus on the micro-level, and by that I mean focus on your family and your circle, and let our team focus on the macro-level."
In an interview with NBC 5 on Saturday, Jenkins said he believed "things will get worse before they get better."
"As soon as the Governor came up with his UT Southwestern did a model that said by July 1, we’d be at 800 cases in Dallas. What’s going on now is completely predictable to the doctors," he said, referring to a study released in May.
In a statement to NBC 5 Saturday, a spokesperson for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott added, "As the governor said, we need all local officials and law enforcement to step up and enforce the mask order so we can keep our economy open."
Hospitalizations and emergency room visits due to the virus remained high Friday, with 783 people hospitalized in Dallas County. About one-third of all ER visits Thursday were for COVID-19-like symptoms, DCHHS reported.
County officials said last week more than half of the new cases reported have been young adults between the ages of 18 and 39.
To date, of cases requiring hospitalization who reported employment, more than 80% have been critical infrastructure workers, with a broad range of affected occupational sectors, including healthcare, transportation, food and agriculture, public works, finance, communications, clergy, first responders and other essential functions.
Of cases requiring hospitalization, two-thirds have been under 65 years of age, and about half do not have high-risk chronic health conditions. Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
The county has been reporting for several weeks now that more than a third of the deaths related to COVID-19 have been among residents of long-term care facilities.
The increase in cases comes as the state's positivity rate, the percentage of people testing positive for the virus, has been sustained well over 10% for nearly three weeks and on Saturday climbed to a high not seen since April 12. An increase in the positivity rate indicates an increase in the spread of the virus, not an increase in testing for the virus.