The Tarrant County Public Health Department reported an additional 3,116 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, sending the total number of confirmed and probable cases over the 150,000 mark. The county is also nearing 1,500 dead from the virus on the addition of 26 new deaths reported on New Year's Eve.
According to the TCPH COVID-19 dashboard, there are 1,399 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals, 25 more than the day before. COVID-19 patients are making up 28% of all ICU patients. The total bed occupancy rate for all hospital beds in the county is now at 90%, up 3% from Wednesday.
Though the hospital capacities are getting close to 100%, officials stress they have surge plans to expand capacity if necessary.
"Hospitals have pandemic surge plans. Let me not scare people, that they don’t know or they don’t have the capacity. They do, but do you really want to stretch that capacity? We already know we’re thin on staffing," Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinnu Taneja said Tuesday. "Staff has been working in the hospital for close to 10 months dealing with a lot of COVID and illness. They’re tired. Some of them had COVID, family with COVID, some of them died. So, do you really want to stretch that capacity?"
TCPH said on Thursday that they have distributed 4,200 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine received on Dec. 23 to groups 1A and 1B. If you would like to register to receive the vaccine in Tarrant County, click here for more information and a link to register.
In the last seven days, the county has announced 14,211 new cases of the virus or an average of 1,786 per day. Data from the county health department indicates there are 2,536 more confirmed cases than the most recent report and 580 more probable cases. To date, the county has reported 131,146 confirmed cases of the virus and 18,858 probable cases for a total of 150,004 cases.
The county is also reporting another 1,293 estimated recoveries, bringing the total number of survivors to 108,969. There are currently an estimated 39,541 active cases in the county, the most of any North Texas county.
TCPH said that in observance of the New Year's Day holiday they will not report new information on Friday. When the county resumes reporting on Saturday, higher than average numbers should be expected.
The latest victims included a woman from Fort Worth in her 90s, four men from Fort Worth in their 80s, a man from Arlington in his 80s, a woman from Mansfield in her 80s, a woman from Bedford in her 80s, a woman from Saginaw in her 70s, a woman and two men from Fort Worth in their 70s, a man from Lake Worth in his 70s, a man from North Richland Hills in his 60s, a woman from Mansfield in her 60s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 60s, a woman from Saginaw in her 60s, a woman from Arlington in her 60s, a woman from Hurst in her 60s, a man from Grapevine in his 60s, a man from Arlington in his 50s, a man from Fort Worth in his 50s, two men from Fort Worth in their 40s, a man from Forest Hill in his 40s, and a man from Fort Worth in his 30s. All but four had underlying health conditions.
With 1,494 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.
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.
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.