coronavirus

Tarrant County ICU Occupancy at 97%; 1,609 COVID-19 Cases, 20 Deaths Added Wednesday

County cases top 146,800 with 1,468 dead since early March; an estimated 107,676 people have recovered from the virus

Nefty Gonzalez, NBC 5

The Tarrant County Public Health Department confirms hospital ICUs in the county are at 97% capacity Wednesday, a drop of 2% from the day before. The county health department also confirmed another 1,609 new cases of COVID-19 were being reported Wednesday along with another 20 new deaths.

According to the TCPH COVID-19 dashboard, there are 1,374 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals and that they make up 28% of the ICU patients. The total bed occupancy rate for all hospital beds in the county is now at 87%.

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.

Though the hospital capacities are getting close to 100%, officials stress they have 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?"

In the last seven days, the county has announced 11,095 new cases of the virus or an average of 1,424 per day. Data from the county health department indicates there are 1,354 more confirmed cases than the most recent report and 255 more probable cases.

The latest victims included a woman from North Richland Hills that exceeded 100, a man and two women from Fort Worth in their 90s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 80s, a man from Hurst in his 80s, two men from Arlington in their 80s, a woman from Azle in her 80s, four women and a man from Fort Worth in their 70s, a man from Benbrook in his 70s, a woman from Arlington in her 70s, a woman from Sansom Park in her 70s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 60s, and a man and woman from Fort Worth in their 30s. Three had unknown underlying conditions, while the others had underlying 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 128,610 confirmed cases of the virus and 18,278 probable cases for a total of 146,888 cases.

The county is also reporting another 1,032 estimated recoveries, bringing the total number of survivors to 107,676. There are currently an estimated 37,744 active cases in the county, the most of any North Texas county.

With 1,468 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.

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