The Tarrant County Public Health Department Friday is reporting 127 previously unreported COVID-19 deaths from October, November and December along with the addition of 2,998 new cases of the virus.
Of the increase in deaths, TCPH said since the pandemic began they have been receiving notifications of infections and deaths from clinics, hospitals, long term care facilities, laboratories, schools, the medical examiner, the state health and other local health departments. However, because a death may occur in a different place or weeks after a diagnosis, the death may not get reported to the local health department.
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"To address this problem, The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has begun sharing with local health departments the death certificate information where the cause or other conditions listed indicate COVID-19," TCPH said in a statement Friday. "TCPH is now using that data to find additional deaths of Tarrant County residents. Each week, data received from DSHS is compiled and reconciled against previously known deaths and where the person lived. This data is reported each Friday. As a result, the number of deaths reported out are expected to be greater on Friday."
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While reconciling that data Friday, the county added 127 COVID-19 deaths previously not reported -- 17 from October, 39 from November and 71 from December. They included 11 people from Arlington, two from Bedford, one from Benbrook, one from Colleyville, one from Crowley, 81 from Fort Worth, three from Grapevine, one from Haltom City, one from Hurst, five from Keller, two from Lake Worth, three from Mansfield, five from North Richland Hills, three from Saginaw, three from Watauga and four from White Settlement.
TCPH said all but 44 of the victims had underlying health conditions.
The county did not report any January deaths on Friday.
According to the TCPH COVID-19 dashboard on Friday, there were 1,524 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals through Thursday, four fewer than through the day before. COVID-19 patients are making up 29% of all county hospital patients and 24.92% of all hospital patients in TSA-E. The total bed occupancy rate for all hospital beds in the county is now at 88%, a 1% decrease from Thursday. Adult ICU capacity in Tarrant County decreased to from 96% to 92% according to the TCPH COVID-19 dashboard.
In the last seven days, the county has announced 20,726 new and probable cases of the virus or an average of 2,961 per day. Data from the county health department indicated there were 2,448 more confirmed cases than the most recent report and 550 more probable cases. To date, the county has reported 148,477 confirmed cases of the virus and 22,253 probable cases for a total of 170,730 cases.
The county is also reporting another 1,725 estimated recoveries, bringing the total number of survivors to 122,438. There are currently an estimated 46,589 active cases in the county, the most of any North Texas county.
TCPH now reports 1,703 deaths attributed to the virus since March 2020.
Tarrant County, which has extended its mask mandate until Feb. 28, 2021, began reporting both probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in August 2020 at the request of the state health department. Probable cases, the county said, account for a variety of real-world situations and could highlight cases in the community that may otherwise go unreported.
COVID-19 causes a respiratory illness with cough, fever and shortness of breath and may lead to bronchitis, severe pneumonia or even death. For more information go to coronavirus.tarrantcounty.com or call the Tarrant County Public Health information line, 817-248-6299, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.