The Tarrant County Public Health Department confirms 2,016 new cases of COVID-19 Friday along with another 16 new deaths. TCPH is also reporting more than 1,030 people are hospitalized in the county with the virus including more than 200 in ICUs.
In the last seven days, the county has announced 11,330 new cases of the virus. Of the 2,016 additional cases reported Friday, data from the county health department indicates there are 1,725 more confirmed cases than the most recent report and 291 more probable cases.
The latest 16 victims included a woman from Bedford in her 80s, a man from Benbrook in his 80s, a man from Sansom Park in his 80s, a woman from Keller in her 80s, a man from Fort Worth in his 80s, a man from Westworth Village in his 80s, a man from Euless in his 80s, two men from Arlington in their 70s, a man from Euless in his 70s, an unknown gender person from Crowley in their 70s, a man from Hurst in his 60s, a woman from Arlington in her 60s, a woman from Blue Mound in her 60s, a woman from Benbrook in her 60s and a man from Fort Worth in his 60s. All but three had underlying health conditions.
Tarrant County, which extended its mask mandate until Feb. 28, 2021, last month, began reporting both probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in August 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. To date, the county has reported 112,372 confirmed cases of the virus and 15,889 probable cases for a total of 128,261 cases.
The county is also reporting another 1,527 estimated recoveries, bringing the total number of survivors to 93,363. There are currently an estimated 33,827 active cases in the county, the most of any North Texas county.
Of the county's cases, 72% of those who have died were over the age of 65 even though they only make up 10% of the cases. Those aged 25 to 44 make up the largest percentage of people with COVID-19 at 36%.
The health department reports Friday 1,033 COVID-19 patients were occupying hospital beds in the county through Thursday, which is 20 more than the day before and accounts for nearly 20% of capacity; TCPH said 206 of those patients are in ICUs.
Stephen Love, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, said the region's hospitalization rate included 2,946 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients as of Friday.
"It’s the highest I have ever seen it," Love told NBC 5 Friday, adding the patient count increased by 87 people in the last day. "Here’s what also very concerning. In that same Trauma Service E, we have 67 staffed available ICU beds. In Tarrant, 20. In Dallas County, 11. Collin, six. In Denton County, five"
With the upcoming holidays, Love is urging people to remain vigilant.
"I know people are tired. I know I sound like a broken record. They may wear their mask to the grocery store and say, 'OK, I’m masking up doing my part'. Then they come home and let their guard down. They visit their neighbors, they have people over and they don’t wear their masks. I think that’s how the spread occurs," he said. "We’re so thankful for the vaccine but people have got to realize, this is the first step in a very long journey. They cannot let their guard down and go, 'Oh, the vaccine is here, we don’t have to mask anymore, we don’t have to physical distance.' That is just not the case."
With 1,071 deaths now attributed to the virus, COVID-19 is now projected to be the third-leading killer of Tarrant County residents behind cancer and heart disease and is expected to surpass the annual total for stroke later this year.
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.