Tarrant County

Health Director Urges Caution as COVID-19 Trends ‘Flatline' in Tarrant County

More than 1 million people -- just 51% of the population -- in Tarrant County are fully vaccinated

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Tarrant County health leaders are keeping a close eye on COVID-19 data as the holiday season approaches.

At a briefing before county commissioners Tuesday, Tarrant County Public Health director Vinny Taneja said the COVID-19 trends in Tarrant County appear to be "flatlining."

“All of our indicators are mixed. Some are saying we’re going up. Some are saying we’re kind of hanging close to a baseline. It’s cause for caution heading to the holiday. Last year, we saw the same thing. We saw a little bump after the holiday with COVID cases and the positivity. Then going into Thanksgiving, it was kind of flatlined. After Thanksgiving, it just took off,” Taneja said. “We’ve seen a little bump in school-related activity. Kids [are] getting sick again. It’s not too bad like we saw in the summer or early fall when schools open, but it’s there.”

Overall, Taneja said COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Texas have declined. In Tarrant County, there is a slight uptick compared to last week with about 230 in the hospitals as of Tuesday.

“That’s a decent number. I’d rather see it go down to zero because the trend needs to continue being down. It just worries me, because we’re heading into this cooler season. We’re seeing activity pick up across the U.S.,” he said.

According to the county dashboard, more than 1 million people in Tarrant County or about 51% of the county population are considered fully vaccinated. As of this week, 152,843 residents have received booster vaccine shots. Boosters were approved by the CDC for all adults last Friday.

“There is a lot of good news in all of this. A lot of people are protected, but I do worry about the rest of the 600,000 who have not received their vaccine. That’s a lot of folks in the community that could still have issues,” Taneja said, referring to the initial doses.

Hosted by the city of Fort Worth, the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center will close its vaccine site on Tuesday night and reopen Monday at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex. Keena Thompson brought her son Kade to the site Tuesday to get his first dose and to get her booster shot before the holidays.

“I feel a little bit more protected. We’re going to be with family this year. Pretty much all of us are vaccinated, so I do feel good about that,” Thompson said. “This year, we’re going to be with more family. It’s not going to be as big as it normally is, but it’s going to be more of us there.”

For families planning to gather for Thanksgiving, Taneja still recommended precautions be taken into consideration.

“If you have all, everyone fully vaccinated…you can relax a little. Everyone’s vaccinated. You’ve done what you can to protect yourself and your family,” he said. “If you have a mixed crowd, some people are vaccinated, some are not… if you have younger kids that are not vaccinated yet, you got to use caution. I know it’s going to be family time so you spend hours eating and talking, things like that. Limit exposure between vaccinated and unvaccinated. A lot of unvaccinated people coming together puts a bigger risk.”

Taneja said because demand at COVID-19 testing locations in the county has decreased, they will be adjusting their schedules.

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