Dallas County is reporting another 403 new COVID-19 cases Thursday along with six more deaths and another uptick in hospitalizations overnight. While again over 400, the county's numbers are lower than the high mark of 517 new cases reported in Tarrant County Thursday.
Thursday's hospitalizations in North Texas added to the record high set earlier this week for the North Texas region when more than 1,000 people were being treated in medical facilities for COVID-19.
Instead of focusing on cases, however, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said that the real focus should be hospitalizations. Jenkins said last week the hospitals had well over 400 COVID-19 patients, up from the 250-300 COVID-19 patients seen in weeks prior. On Thursday, the county reported another increase of patients, up 14 individuals over a 24-hour period, to 556 total cases in a hospital or acute care setting.
Additionally, the county reported the number of emergency room visits for COVID-19 like symptoms in Dallas County for a 24-hour period ending Wednesday, June 24, was 701, representing 30% of all visits according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
The DFW Hospital Council said Thursday afternoon that area hospitals are running at about 70% capacity in medical/surgical and ICU patients. The number of COVID-19 patients in DFW-area ICUs is 1,069. They added they are using approximately 38% of their ventilators.
"Today's numbers continue the trend of increasing hospitalizations and new COVID-19 positive cases. Additionally, we are beginning to see more spread amongst children in daycare and young people who attend bars or work in the service industries," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. "Today the governor stopped elective surgeries in hospitals in Dallas County and this will increase hospital capacity, as less people will need beds to recuperate from elective surgery. This move was necessary due to the wave of new COVID-19 cases we are seeing that are beginning to fill up hospitals."
The six latest victims to die after contracting the virus were all from Dallas and included patients ranging in age from their 60s to their 80s.
- A Dallas man in his 60s who had been hospitalized and did not have underlying high-risk health conditions.
- A Dallas woman in her 70s who did not have underlying health conditions and who died in a hospital emergency room.
- A Dallas man in his 70s who had been critically ill in an area hospital and did not have underlying high-risk health conditions.
- A Dallas man in his 80s who had been critically ill in an area hospital and did not have underlying high-risk health conditions.
- A Dallas man in his 80s who had underlying high-risk health conditions and died at the assisted living facility where he lived.
- A Dallas woman in her 80s who did not have high-risk health conditions and had been critically ill in an area hospital.
The 403 new cases reported Thursday is the 16th straight day where cases have been above 300. The 7-day average for new cases is now 413 cases per day. On June 1, the seven day average for new cases was 209 new cases per day.
The county has now accumulated 18,538 cases of the virus since testing began in March. There have been 334 deaths attributed in the county to the virus, which, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang, is now the third leading cause of death in the county behind diseases of the heart and cancers.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, an estimated 11,553 people (through Thursday) in the county have recovered from the virus leaving an estimated 6,652 known patients fighting the infection.
Last week the Dallas County Commissioners Court mandated that all customers and employees wear face coverings while inside businesses inside Dallas County. If people refuse, the business could face a fine.
Jenkins is hopeful the mask policy will help curb the spread of the virus saying Friday that in the 15 states where they were mandated there were declines in infections. Jenkins added that in 31 other states where they were required in businesses only, like in Dallas County, there was also evidence it helped curb the spread of the virus.
To date, of cases requiring hospitalization who reported employment, over 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.