Dr. Joseph Chang is Parkland Hospital's Chief Medical Officer. He said his colleagues are cautiously hopeful as we near the end of January. Still, on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, Chang said doctors and nurses are incredibly overwhelmed.
“I think we are all hesitant to call it a downward trend just yet, but we’re definitely encouraged,” he said. “If we all continue to wear our masks and wash our hands, we might actually be able to let loose a breath here for a little bit. And as healthcare workers, my folks can’t wait for the day they can at least take a deep breath.”
In Tarrant County, a recent study from UT-Southwestern Medical Center reports COVID-19 hospitalizations have decreased by 4% in the last two weeks. However, UT-Southwestern reports Dallas County has seen a 4% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past two weeks, though the number is projected to stay flat in the coming weeks. Overall, hospitalizations for COVID-19 in North Texas remain near record highs. Also, even with the slightest downtick, hospital occupancy is still several times higher than even the highest point in July.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
As the state begins to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines for those in Phase 1A and 1B, county health departments have begun waitlists for those wish to be inoculated.
You can now 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.
“This peak is 60 to 70% higher than our summer peak so we’re still at incredibly high volumes,” said Chang. “Even if we really start going down at the same speed that we came up, it’ll be another month for us to get down even to our summer peak.”
As for the more contagious COVID-19 strain which has now which has made its way to North Texas, Chang said it should not change our outlook about the vaccine nor our habits for protecting ourselves.
“Whatever mutations occur in that virus impervious to soap,” he said. “It doesn’t make so it can magically pass through your mask or pass through the walls of your house. So, the same things that protect us from the original COVID-19 strain will protect us against the variants of a COVID-19 strain.”
He said the bottom line is we all must continue to do our part.
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.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.