The number of new daily cases is one thing but it's the number of people being hospitalized for COVID-19 that has doctors concerned.
That number is just one data point that researchers at UT Southwestern in Dallas use to create a tool that's quickly become a go-to for decision-makers and the public alike.
"There is a threshold where you exceed capacity at the hospital and when you do that, your mortality rate skyrockets. That’s what we want to avoid," said Associate Director of UT Southwestern’s Clinical Informatics Center Dr. Mujeeb Basit.
Dr. Basit is part of the team of researchers who began publishing COVID-19 forecasts, a snapshot of how the regions is faring against the pandemic week to week.
The latest snapshot published Monday shows the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has more than doubled in Dallas and Tarrant Counties in about a month.
The numbers are projected to go up even more.
"When we do our modeling, we consider these numbers to be the floor. This is the lowest that we think we will get. The real number is somewhere above this and that should be enormously concerning," said Dr. Basit.
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Part of their report may show why.
The team tracks the mobility of North Texans, who, according to their data, are increasingly more mobile and spending less time at home.
"At the end of the day, it’s the interaction between people and how active they are that drive all of these statistics," said Basit.
The projections use real-time information to predict the situation in two weeks and medical leaders in the region say the projections have been spot on.
Basit said how we behave over the coming week will have a direct impact on Thanksgiving.
"One of the worst things to possibly happen would be a lock down right before Thanksgiving and we want to preserve our own ability and take the personal responsibility to say, 'I am going to wear a mask, socially distance, perform really good hand hygiene, so that I am able to do the things that I want to do during Thanksgiving,'" said Basit.