Efforts to vaccinate more people against COVID-19 continued this weekend, as health leaders track a rise in cases and hospitalizations.
As of Saturday, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council reported 1,046 patients battling the virus in Trauma Service Area E hospitals. Stephen Love, president of the council, said the number of COVID-19 patients in North Texas’ hospitals have increased by at least triple in the past 30 days.
“What we’re worried about…hospitalizations, as you know, are a lagging indicator. So, as the case counts go up, you expect more hospitalizations in about 7 to 12 days,” Love said. “All we’re saying is look at the facts. Look at the science.”
Just before 10 p.m. Friday night, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced the county’s Public Health Committee unanimously decided to move the COVID-19 threat level from ‘yellow’ to ‘orange’ for unvaccinated people, meaning there’s a moderate risk for transmission.
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As demand for the vaccines decrease, distribution has shifted from mass vaccination sites to pop-up clinics. The mega-site at Fair Park in Dallas closed last weekend after six months of operations and roughly 500,000 vaccinations total, according to Judge Jenkins.
On Saturday, Williams Chicken along East Illinois Avenue partnered with Project Unity to serve as a pop-up vaccination site. Project Unity founder Pastor Ritchie Butler said the event was even more critical with the pace of vaccinations slowing down and the more contagious delta variant of the disease gaining prominence among new cases.
“People who are hesitant right now need to be able to identify with a trusted partner, agent and Williams is that,” Pastor Butler said. “We don’t want to disrespect anyone who has a fear. We all have a fear but we want to walk people through their place of fear as a pastor, to a place of trust the vaccine and trust us.”
Williams Chicken founder Hiawatha Williams said there was no goal set of how many vaccinations they wanted to administer Saturday, but he said this was their way of doing their part no matter how big the impact.
“I saw a sign down the street that said, we’re giving shots for vaccinations…for measles, mumps, and COVID…so we’ve been giving vaccinations for years. So, don’t tell me this something new or something we can’t trust,” Williams said.