As officials continue to monitor the state of the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of the July 4 holiday and new public health guidance continues to be issued at the state and local level, there’s a lot of information to keep up with. Here are today’s bullet points:
- Dallas County reports 708 additional COVID-19 cases, seven more deaths;
- $2.67 billion in federal funding for Texas hospitals secured by Gov. Abbott and HHSC;
- Abbott, HHSC announce extension of emergency SNAP benefits during pandemic.
Dallas County Reports 708 Additional COVID-19 Cases, Seven More Deaths
Dallas County Health and Human Services Thursday reported another record single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases at 708 additional positive cases, bringing the total case count in Dallas County to 22,590, as well as an additional seven deaths.
The dead include an Irving man in his 40s, two Dallas men in their 50s, an Irving woman in her 60s, a Dallas woman in her 60s, a Dallas woman in her 70s, and a Dallas man in his 90s. Five of the seven had underlying high-risk health conditions and were critically ill, officials say. One had been hospitalized but had no underlying high-risk health conditions.
Of the 387 total deaths reported to date, more than a third have been associated with long-term care facilities.
More than two-thirds of cases that require hospitalization have been under the age of 65. About half of these cases do not have high-risk health conditions. Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
More than half of COVID-19 cases reported in Dallas County after June 1 are between 18 and 39 years old. An increasing proportion of cases continues to be paired with large recreational/social gatherings since early June, including house gatherings and parties.
“Today we reached 700 new COVID-19 cases for the first time and 387 total deaths. It took 92 days to reach 300 COVID-19 cases and it has taken 22 days since then to reach 700. The situation we have right now is significant and accelerating community spread. We cannot afford another statewide letdown in our strong personal responsibility COVID-19 protection choices, so this 4th of July, celebrate with your nuclear family and avoid crowds and extended family gatherings. I realize this is disappointing for all of us but it’s up to all of us to #FlattenTheCurve and save lives, and the best way to do that is to avoid those crowds this holiday weekend and wear a mask if you are around anyone outside your family,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson shared Thursday bed and ventilator capacity statistics as reported by 25 hospitals. Of 6,083 total beds, 4,307 (71%) were occupied, of 944 total ICU beds, 669 (71%) were occupied, and of 958 total ventilators, 359 (37%) were in use.
The county also continues to see record-high numbers of COVID-19 inpatients in Dallas County hospitals with 669 COVID-19 patients in acute care for the period ending July 1.
Additionally, the county reports 804 emergency room visits for COVID-19-like symptoms in the 24-hour period ending July 1.
$2.67 Billion in Federal Funding for Texas Hospitals Secured By Gov. Abbott and HHSC
Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Thursday announced $2.67 billion in federal funding was approved to support Texas hospitals that provide care for people receiving Medicaid.
The statewide Uniform Hospital Rate Increase Program (UHRIP) provides for increased Medicaid payments to hospitals for inpatient and outpatient services provided to persons with Medicaid. UHRIP strives to lessen Medicaid shortfall for hospitals that serve people who receive it. Up from $1.6 billion in State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the estimated UHRIP pool size for SFY 2021 at $2.67 billion.
“This federal funding is a crucial source of support for Texas hospitals that provide care for Medicaid patients,” said Abbott. “As we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State is committed to ensuring that our hospitals have the resources they need to continue providing care to Texans across the state.”
Abbott, HHSC Announce Extension Of Emergency SNAP Benefits During Pandemic
In addition to Abbott and the HHSC’s previous announcement, an additional announcement was made that the HHSC will provide about $182 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits for the month of July as the state continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
HHSC received federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend the maximum, allowable amount of SNAP benefits to recipients based on family size.
The emergency July allotments are in addition to the $628 million in benefits previously provided to Texans in April, May, and June.
“During this pandemic we must ensure those who need it most can continue providing nutritious food for their families and maintain their health,” said Texas HHS Access and Eligibility Services Deputy Executive Commissioner Wayne Salter. “We’ll continue to make sure Texans can access the services they need as this situation evolves.”