Dallas County is reporting 2,809 COVID-19 cases Saturday along with five more deaths and just 23 ICU beds available in the entire county.
The county on Saturday also confirmed its first case of a COVID-19 variant said to be more contagious.
"The emergence of strain B.1.1.7, while inevitable given the mobility of the modern world and the fact that we are a major transportation hub, means that there is a strain that is 70% more contagious in our community and it will grow quickly," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a written statement.
Jenkins said that the variant was identified in a Dallas man in his 20s who had no recent history of travel outside the U.S. The man is stable and is in isolation.
The county also reported 1,145 COVID-19 patients who were in county hospitals through Friday night. They also reported 524 ER visits Friday for people with COVID-19 symptoms. On Friday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted there were 18 adult ICU beds available as of Jan. 14. On Saturday, he tweeted there were 23 available as of Jan. 15.
Of the cases reported Saturday, the county said 2,432 were confirmed cases and 377 were probable (antigen test) cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county from March 2020 to 206,329 and the number of probable (antigen test) cases to 26,919. The total of confirmed and probable cases in the county is now at 233,248. Over the last seven days, Dallas County officials have reported 18,275 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus for an average of 2,649 per day.
"These numbers, along with near record-high numbers of COVID hospitalizations, a low number of adult ICU beds available, and the announcement earlier today of the first reported case with the B.1.1.7 variant in Dallas County, are all reasons for our public health experts to be concerned about this virus in our community and region of the next several weeks," Jenkins said in a statement.
County officials said Saturday there have been 1,858 deaths in the county attributed to the virus since March 2020. The five victims announced Saturday included three Dallas residents, one Garland resident and one Grand Prairie resident. All had been hospitalized and had underlying health conditions, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.
COVID-19 VACCINE EFFORTS
In partnership with the state health department, Dallas County opened a large-scale vaccine hub at Fair Park on Monday where they planned to administer up to 2,000 vaccines per day for those in Phase 1A and 1B. 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. The county is also planning on providing vaccines at two other locations in the county where they can administer an additional 1,000 vaccines per day.
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
As the state begins to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines for those in Phase 1A and 1B, county health departments have begun waitlists for those wish to be inoculated.
You can now 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.
The vaccine is currently only being administered to those who are part of Phase 1A and 1B, as outlined by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Those in Phase 1A are front-line healthcare workers or residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes those who are over the age of 65, or those over the age of 16 with a chronic medical condition that puts them at risk for severe illness.
Once vaccinated, people 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. Even when fully vaccinated, it's still possible to become infected by the virus since the vaccine does not offer 100% protection.
The Texas Department of State Health Services announced Saturday it was expanding the number of vaccine hubs across the state. It includes five in Dallas County.