Dallas County is reporting 229 new positive COVID-19 tests Sunday along with 22 deaths related to the virus. County officials say the number of new cases is "artificially low," driven by lower testing and reporting delays due to winter storms.
Of the cases reported Sunday, the county said 229 were confirmed cases and 44 were probable (antigen test) cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county from March 2020 to 242,770 and the number of probable (antigen test) cases to 34,175. The total of confirmed and probable cases in the county is now 276,945. Over the last seven reporting days, Dallas County officials have announced 2,520 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus for an average of 360 per day.
"We do believe the case numbers are declining and we are seeing the lowest numbers in our hospitals since early November," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement Saturday. "It's important that we all continue to focus on wearing our masks, maintaining physical distance, washing our hands, avoiding crowds, and foregoing get-togethers for a little longer."
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
County health departments have launched waitlists for adults 16 years old and over.
You can register to recieve the vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Links are below:
You do not need to be a resident of the county to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county -- registration is open to anyone in Texas. For those without internet access, Tarrant County is also taking registrations by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS vaccine hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.
For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group in Texas, see this page from the Texas DSHS.
Get DFW local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC DFW newsletters.
With the 22 deaths added Sunday, there have now been 2,838 deaths in the county attributed to the virus since March 2020. The latest victims announced included people whose ages ranged from their 30s to their 90s.
COVID-19 VACCINE EFFORTS
Dallas County currently operates a large-scale vaccination hub at Fair Park where they can vaccinate up to 2,000 people per day. The vaccination center does not accept walk-ups and you must have an appointment to get vaccinated. Register for an appointment at the link below.
Jenkins said the metroplex was close to 200,000 shots behind in vaccinations due to last week's winter weather.
"These are incredibly tough times with the grid collapse, the damage to or water system, broken pipes, and now electric companies who were not properly regulated poised to charge thousands and thousands of dollars to hurting Texas families," Jenkins said Saturday. "My team and I will continue to do all that we can to help with both COVID and the latest crisis. I encourage you all to continue helping one another and focusing on the good. Don't let this get you down. We will get through this together."
FEMA announced last week the Fair Park location, along with AT&T Stadium in Arlington and NRG Stadium in Houston, would soon be mass vaccination hubs where more than 10,000 people per day could receive the vaccine. Those hubs are expected to be open by Wednesday. It's not clear if the winter storm will delay that opening.
Jenkins said the county has administered 43,823 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine at the county's Fair Park vaccine hub since it opened on Jan. 11.
The judge reiterated that those who have received their first shot of the vaccine do not need to make an appointment for their second dose -- the date of the second appointment, he said, is on the back of the vaccination card received when the first dose was administered.
"As individuals are vaccinated, it’s critical that we don’t let up our guard and that we continue using those personal protective measures until we reach herd immunity to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Once you receive the vaccine, you still need to wear your mask, wash your hands, stay at least six feet away from others, and avoid crowds," Jenkins said.
In Texas, the COVID-19 vaccines are currently available to anyone over the age of 5. The vaccines are still not approved for children younger than 5 however -- those trials are ongoing.
Once vaccinated, people who received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines are expected to get some level of protection within a couple of weeks after the first shot, but full protection may not happen until a couple of weeks after the second shot. For those who receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine -- there is only one shot needed.
As of Jan. 3, 2022, it is also recommended those who are age 12 and up and who have been fully vaccinated receive a booster as early as five months after their last dose, for a total of three shots. The vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech is the only U.S. option for children of any age.
As for even younger children, kid-size doses for 5- to 11-year-olds rolled out in November and experts said healthy youngsters should be protected after their second dose for a while. But the FDA also said on Jan. 3, 2022, that if children that young have severely weakened immune systems, they will be allowed a third dose 28 days after their second. That’s the same third-dose timing already recommended for immune-compromised teens and adults.
Pfizer and Moderna are studying their vaccines, in even smaller doses, for children younger than 5.
Even when fully vaccinated, it's still possible to become infected by the virus since none of the vaccines offer 100% protection from infection. With that in mind, even if you've been vaccinated it's still a good idea to wear a mask and keep some separation between strangers or those whose vaccination status is unclear.
Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows where COVID-19 vaccines have been sent around the state. Click on a marker to find out information about each location. Use the "plus" and "minus" signs below to zoom in and out of the map.
From the Texas DSHS: Availability of COVID-19 vaccines lilsted on this map are based on shipping information and reporting to the DSHS directly by facilities. Please contact providers in advance to confirm vaccination location and hours, that they have vaccine on hand and that you are eligible for vaccination at that site. Not all providers are vaccinating the public or people in all priority groups. Vaccine is available at no charge, regardless of insurance status.