Health officials in Dallas County reported another single-day high in new COVID-19 cases Saturday, along with 10 more deaths due to the coronavirus. The county's positivity rate also reached a record high.
Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 3,194 cases Saturday. The county said 2,293 were confirmed cases and 901 were probable (antigen test) cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county from March 2020 to 190,580 and the number of probable (antigen test) cases to 24,393. The total of confirmed and probable cases in the county is now at 214,973. Over the last seven days, Dallas County officials have reported 18,813 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus for an average of 2,688 per day.
The positivity rate in Dallas County climbed to 31%.
County officials said Saturday there have been 1,766 deaths in the county attributed to the virus since March 2020. The 10 latest victims include people whose ages ranged from their 60s to their 90s. All had been hospitalized and had underlying health conditions, according to Dallas County Health and Human Serivces.
"All of these numbers are leading to a lack of hospital bed capacity and a loss of your best chance for optimum care at our hospitals," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. "Our healthcare heroes and everyone with an underlying condition of any kind need your help to see us through these darkest days of the COVID pandemic."
The number of patients hospitalized with the coronavirus through Friday dropped slightly from the day before -- from 1,206 to 1,183 -- while people with COVID-19 symptoms represented 23% of all county emergency room visits in the same 24-hour period.
Jenkins tweeted Saturday that just 15 adult ICU beds remained in the county.
Dallas County has begun to take registrations for those in Phase 1B to be vaccinated. They announced Thursday they planned to open a large-scale vaccine hub at Fair Park next week where they can administer up to 2,000 vaccines per day. 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.
The vaccines will be available by appointment only and will not be provided to walk-ups. To register to receive a vaccine, click on the link above. Jenkins said people will be notified of when to show up for a vaccine and that they'll be selected based on priority.
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Jenkins said Dallas County has just over 6,000 doses of the vaccine to distribute this week, while more than 123,000 people had already registered to be vaccinated.
If you would like to register to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Dallas County, click here for more information.
"We will continue to push for more vaccine from the State and get it out to our residents as soon after we receive it as possible," he said. "If we all work together by making smart decisions and registering to be vaccinated, together we will turn the tide in the battle against COVID this year and get back to many of our pre-COVID activities."
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.
While vaccines are still scarce, a new free testing site will open in Dallas on Monday.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management and MCI Diagnostic Center will open a site Monday at 9728 Greenville Ave. in Dallas. The site will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, until Jan. 31.
"We thank the state of Texas and the Texas Division of Emergency Management for opening up additional testing site in Dallas," Director of the City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management Rocky Vaz said. "This testing site will give our residents more accessibility to know their COVID-19 status."
For more information about testing in the city of Dallas, click here or call 214-670-INFO.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.