Dallas County added another 1,243 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 Monday along with 15 more deaths attributed to the virus. Meanwhile, county officials warn of projections that forecast 1,500 people could be hospitalized with the virus in the county by Jan. 5 and that may lead to "less than optimum care" in Dallas County hospitals.
Of the cases reported Monday, the county said 1,142 were confirmed cases and 101 were probable (antigen test) cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county from March to 167,900 and the number of probable (antigen test) cases to 20,223. The total of confirmed and probable cases in the county is now at 188,123. Over the last seven days, Dallas County officials have confirmed 13,583 confirmed and probable cases of the virus.
"Today we add 1,243 cases and announce 15 more deaths in the battle against COVID. We began the day with 27 available ICU rooms in all of Dallas County hospitals," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. "UT Southwestern projects that our hospital numbers will be somewhere between our current level and 1,500 COVID cases in the hospitals on Jan. 5. If we get to the highest end of this number, we will run through ICU beds and be forced to have less than optimum care."
The 15 latest victims include a man in his 40s from Garland who died in hospice care; a man in his 50s from Garland who was a resident of a long-term care facility; a woman in her 50s from Dallas; a woman in her 60s from Dallas who was a resident of a long-term care facility; a man in his 60s from Dallas; a woman in her 70s from Dallas who died in hospice care; a woman in her 70s from Dallas; a man in his 80s from Dallas who died in hospice care; a man in his 60s from Lancaster; a man in his 60s from Farmers Branch; a man in his 70s from Irving; a man in his 70s from Mesquite; a woman in her 70s from Mesquite; a man in his 70s from Rowlett; a woman in her 80s from DeSoto. All of the patients had been hospitalized and all but one, a man in his 70s from Mesquite, had underlying health conditions.
County officials said Monday there have been 1,580 deaths in the county attributed to the virus. In the summer, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said COVID-19 is the third leading cause of death in the county behind diseases of the heart and cancers.
The county said that the provisional 7-day average for new confirmed and probable cases by date of a test collection for CDC week 50 was 1,722, which represents a rate of 65.3 daily new cases per 100,000 residents.
In the last 30 days, there have been 4,955 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from more than 764 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County, including 692 staff members. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 21 school nurses have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Jenkins issued a warning for those who planned traditional gatherings on New Year's Eve, urging them to reconsider their plans and to take precautions against spreading the virus.
"To help our healthcare heroes help you, please make smart decisions and follow doctors’ advice this New Year’s season. Wear your mask when around people you don’t live with and avoid crowds and get-togethers. We must all think of ways to celebrate the New Year that are safe, not just for us, but for those who will inevitably catch the virus from the people who contract it this New Year’s," Jenkins said. "It may not be you, but your grandmother or someone else’s grandmother who pays a heavy toll for your decision to have a traditional New Year’s celebration. Please help make the small sacrifice of patriotism to keep our community and our country strong until everyone who wants the vaccine can get it and it can have its opportunity to protect them from the virus."