Tarrant County

‘Full-on Surge': Tarrant County Leaders Worry About Children's Health, Hospital Capacity

The community spread of COVID-19 in Tarrant County was about 22% Tuesday

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Addressing county commissioners on Tuesday, the county's top public health official said there was no good news to share.

“We’re in a full-on surge,” Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said. “We’re in a high level of community spread.”

As of Tuesday, Taneja said the community spread of COVID-19 in Tarrant County hovered near 22% as hospitalizations continue to climb.

The latest data showed there were 819 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Tarrant County, which means nearly one in five people in area hospitals are being treated for the virus, Taneja said.

Taneja said his biggest concern remained children too young to get the vaccine as school resumes and cases climb.

“The message is the same. We know how to get through this,” Taneja said.

He urged parents to get vaccinated to help protect those too young for the shot and for parents of those that fall between the ages of 12 and 17 to get their children vaccinated at back-to-school immunization clinics.

On Tuesday, Cook Children’s Medical Center reported 24 pediatric patients battling COVID-19.

The latest coronavirus surge comes as pediatrician’s offices and hospitals are dealing with an outbreak of RSV, adding to the strain on bed capacity and staff.

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said hospital capacity remained a top concern for him.

“Texas is a big state. You need to let the elected officials at the local level do what’s best for their constituents.”

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley

“That’s always been the number one priority,” Whitley said. “We’ve got to have hospitals that are open and accessible to our people.”

As for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order prohibiting mask mandates, Whitley said his hands were tied, yet urged those vaccinated and unvaccinated to start wearing masks again to protect from the delta variant.

“I’ve always been a strong proponent of local control and I think that’s what we need right now,” Whitley said. “Texas is a big state. You need to let the elected officials at the local level do what’s best for their constituents.”

Taneja told commissioners the public health department was working to increase mobile testing sites as the demand for tests has climbed in recent weeks. Residents can visit the county website to find a free COVID-19 shot.

Whitley said those still concerned with taking the shot should consult their doctor.

“Go to your doctor and quit listening to this nonsense on social media and some nut up there talking about something they know nothing about,” Whitley said. “Trust the people you’ve trusted with your health all your life and get a vaccine.”

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