coronavirus

Tarrant County Adds 732 COVID-19 Cases Thursday, 2 New Deaths

County cases top 61,500 with 712 dead and more than 49,900 recovered since early March

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Tarrant County Public Health is reporting 732 additional cases of COVID-19 Thursday along with two more deaths.

The latest victims of the virus include a man from Arlington in his 80s and a woman from Fort Worth in her 40s. Both had underlying health conditions.

Of the 732 additional cases reported Thursday, data from the county health department indicates there are 660 more confirmed cases than the day before and 72 more probable cases. It is not clear if any of the new cases came from the Texas DSHS backlog.

The county began reporting both probable and confirmed cases 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 55,900 confirmed cases of the virus and 5,627 probable cases for a total of 61,527 cases.

The county is also reporting another 405 estimated recoveries, bringing the total number of survivors to 49,949. There are currently an estimated 10,866 active cases in the county.

Of the county's cases, 71% 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 37%.

The health department reports 472 COVID-19 patients are currently occupying hospital beds in the county -- about 9% of capacity and nearly twice what it was a month ago when it was at 5%.

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley told county commissioners Tuesday that despite the recent uptick in cases, he's comfortable with the county's current response plan.

"The governor has said we’ve got to keep the region under 15% and the region is a little lower than what we are in Tarrant County, so I will watch that. But the thing is, I’m going to listen to those CEO’s and when they begin getting nervous, I’m going to get nervous."

Dr. Rajesh Nandy, an associate professor of biostatistics at UNTHSC, has been tracking COVID-19 trends in North Texas' four largest counties since the onset of the pandemic. Without a vaccine widely available yet, Nandy said he predicted there would be cyclical trends of upwards and downwards data.

"New hospitalization numbers keep inching up. I wouldn’t say it’s growing really fast, but it’s growing. There’s no mistake about that," Nandy said. "The problem with a disease like COVID is that by the time we realize that we are experiencing a surge, it may already be too late because the numbers specifically reflect the reality from a couple of weeks ago. So if now we’re seeing a surge, that means we are deep into a surge."

Tarrant County Public Health director Vinny Taneja urged Tuesday, personal responsibility was crucial.

"We all want to get back to normal. Trust me. I mean, I want to go sleep a full eight hours. We haven’t done that in the last eight months. Everybody’s getting tired. COVID fatigue is a real thing. I mean, public policy people, policymakers, general public. Everybody’s tired, but reality is, COVID is still here. COVID is still surging in our community. Again, it’s just a reminder that we all need to work together and do the right thing," Taneja said. "There’s a lot of talk from different experts from the national level that fall is going to be rough. Signs are pointing to a big surge coming. Nobody can guess how high it will go but certainly, we’re accelerating in our community just like we were back in late June, heading into July."

With 712 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.

With the recent changes to their reporting system, Tarrant County Public Health said changes have also been made to their online dashboard, most notably to the Case Counts tab and Cases by Location tab. The Case Counts tab now includes cases reported by week, including both probable and confirmed, while the Cases by Location tab includes a map showing the 30-day average infection rate by ZIP code.

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