On Tuesday, Tarrant County health officials announced 29 more deaths related to COVID-19, including one infant boy.
Due to privacy reasons, information released was limited. However, a spokesperson from Tarrant County Public Health confirmed the child was a Fort Worth boy “under the age of 10” who had underlying health conditions. Kim Brown, a spokesperson for Cook Children’s Medical Center, confirmed late Tuesday afternoon that the child reported among Tuesday’s deaths was a patient at their hospital and was under the age of 1.
Vinny Taneja, director of Tarrant County Public Health, described the child’s death as “heartbreaking”.
“This is our second pediatric death and this the first “under 10” age group. The other one we reported a few weeks ago was between 10 and 20,” Taneja said Tuesday. “That’s very heartbreaking. I mean, it’s one thing to get an illness and recover but to lose a child to a preventable illness, it breaks my heart. It should not happen.”
At a commissioners court briefing Tuesday, Taneja reported a downward trend of hospitalizations and testing positivity rates in Tarrant County. All indicators used to measure the COVID-19 outbreak are down, Taneja said.
“During the holidays, there were a lot of shoppers out with no mask. Now you go to the store, there’s a lot of people with masks,” he said. “On top of that, mid-December is when the first doses of vaccine out. Public Health got it around the 23rd of December. We’ve given out around 100,000 doses. Even though it’s not the complete series, we know that even a half series is quite effective because a complete series is 95% effective.”
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
County health departments have launched waitlists for adults 16 years old and over.
You can 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 latest news from around North Texas.
Even so, he cautioned the county was still in the “red zone” as indicated by federal guidelines.
“Now that we’re turning the tide and coming lower, of course, we’re happy that the trend is downward. If you look relatively at where we are, case rates are high. Every indicator is still at a very high level. So, it’s not like the outbreak is done,” he said. “But because for the last two weeks, we’re heading in the right direction and all of the indicators are in the right direction, I’m feeling optimistic that we’re about to catch a break.”
Demand for the vaccine is high, Taneja said. According to Tarrant County Public Health, there are more than 417,000 registered and waiting for a vaccine. Of that, 82% are currently eligible for one.
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said as of Tuesday, about 23,000 more doses have been delivered along with ‘second dose’ shots. It’s his hope the county will have drive-thru vaccination sites, he said.
“That’s what we’ve charged UNT to help us with,” he said. “Not only to help us with fixing and identifying sites but also in helping enlist volunteers and staff.”
As of Tuesday, Tarrant County has 2,101 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus and 154,975 people have recovered.
Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows where COVID-19 vaccines have been sent around the state. Click on a marker to find out information about each location. Use the "plus" and "minus" signs below to zoom in and out of the map.
From the Texas DSHS: Availability of COVID-19 vaccines lilsted on this map are based on shipping information and reporting to the DSHS directly by facilities. Please contact providers in advance to confirm vaccination location and hours, that they have vaccine on hand and that you are eligible for vaccination at that site. Not all providers are vaccinating the public or people in all priority groups. Vaccine is available at no charge, regardless of insurance status.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
Get DFW local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC DFW newsletters.