Reporting Glitch Again To Blame For Backlog

As Dallas County continues to report a backlog of COVID-19 cases because of an error in the state’s electronic lab reporting system and school districts continue to prepare for back-to-school, there’s a lot of information to keep track of. Here are today’s bullet points:

  • State reporting glitch again causes report of backlog of COVID-19 cases;
  • Alliance-AFT calls for county to extend order closing school buildings;
  • United to Learn, Alex Snodgrass, Origin Kitchen+Bar partner to help Dallas ISD.
State Reporting Glitch Again Causes Report of Backlog of COVID-19 Cases

Dallas County Health and Human Services Monday reported 1,850 additional COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed case count in Dallas County to 65,278, as well as an additional four deaths.

The total probable case count in Dallas is 2,519, with seven probable deaths from COVID-19.

“Once again we have a high number of cases coming in, this time from June, due to a coding error in the state’s electronic laboratory reporting system. While at this point it is reasonable and understandable for people to be skeptical of the state’s reporting system, it is not reasonable to be skeptical of the science that is proving to be effective throughout the world in controlling the spread of COVID-19, namely wearing a mask, six-foot distancing, hand-washing, deferring unnecessary trips until the numbers are lower, and avoiding any indoor activity where people outside your home cannot wear a mask one hundred percent of the time. The state is working to fix the coding error but we expect to have several more days of discovered backlogged cases where the patient was tested, received their results from the lab, but the information was lost in the state’s system and therefore no tracing was done,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “Given this situation, we ask that the public do two things: one, as always, if you have reason to believe that you have COVID-19 and get a test for that, we ask that you follow the CDC guidelines, isolate from everyone, including your own family, and mask at home until your results come back. Second given there’s a possibility that your results may not make it back to the tracing team, we ask that you let your known close contacts know that they may have been exposed through you to COVID-19. A close contact is anyone that you are around, within six feet, for more than 15 minutes from 48 hours before the onset of symptoms throughout the course of your sickness.”

The additional four deaths reported Monday include a Dallas woman in her 40s, a Dallas woman in her 70s, a Dallas man in his 70s, and a Richardson woman in her 70s. Each had been hospitalized and had underlying health conditions.

 Of the 829 confirmed deaths reported to date, about 27% have been associated with long-term care facilities. 

Over 2,925 children under 18 years of age have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since July 1, including 66 children who have been hospitalized. Of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than two-thirds have been under 65 years of age. Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

 Twenty-five hospitals on Sunday reported ventilator and bed capacity numbers to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s office. Johnson shared that of 5,957 total beds, 65% were occupied, of 942 total ICU beds, 62% were occupied, and of 997 total ventilators, 37% were in use.

According to UT Southwestern Medical Center’s latest data as of Aug. 14, hospitalizations in North Texas have declined 10% compared to a week ago and 27% compared to two weeks ago.

“In both Dallas and Tarrant Counties, hospitalizations remain high, but are currently declining and are projected to continue this gradual decline over the next two weeks,” UTSW notes.

UT Southwestern’s model projects that total COVID-19 hospitalizations in Dallas County could decline to between 330 and 550 concurrent hospitalized cases by Aug. 28, and roughly 470 new COVID-19 infections per day are expected by Aug. 28.

The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 has been declining but remains high, with about 13.8% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive in week 32. 

Alliance-AFT Calls For County To Extend Order Closing School Buildings

Alliance-AFT, a union representing all non-administrative staff in the Dallas ISD, is asking people to send letters to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins calling on him to keep the public health order closing schools for in-person learning in place until Dallas County has 14 consecutive days of dropping COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, a positivity rate of less than 5%, and a transmission rate of less than 1%.

“Schools are inherently designed to be contained, social environments. Our buildings are old and are often overcrowded and lacking in proper ventilation.” the letter reads. “By extending the health order, you will ensure that schools don’t become the next source of major community spread of a virus we have yet to contain.”

United to Learn, Alex Snodgrass, Origin Kitchen+Bar partner to help Dallas ISD
Lindsay Billingsley/Courtesy photo

We end today’s digest with a bit of good news. United to Learn, helmed by CEO Abby Williams and president Carol Goglia, goes live publicly yesterday with its Learning Launch program that benefits 2,500 Dallas ISD elementary teachers and their 28,500 students.

Learning Launch is United to Learn’s DISD teacher supply drive where teachers submit wish lists and U2L fundraises to fill those needs. This year’s needs are greater and different due to COVID. Laptops, internet, and health and safety signage are staples this year. The district doesn’t have funds to cover it all.

New this year, event chair Lindsay Billingsley introduced a virtual foodie element by bringing in Dallas-based food influencer Alex Snodgrass of The Defined Dish, local restaurant Origin Kitchen+Bar, and Emily Clarke Events to provide an in-home dinner and keepsake tablescape for two to the first 50 who donate $1,000 or more by August 31.

To learn more, click here.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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