How Big A Risk Is Aerosolized Spread of COVID-19?

As UT Southwestern Medical Center warns of a possible increase in hospitalizations, some school districts prepare to welcome more students, and local officials continue to keep a watchful eye on the state of the pandemic, here’s what you need to know today:

  • How big a risk does aerosolized spread of COVID-19 pose?;
  • Dallas County reports 197 new COVID-19 cases, one death;
  • Love Field hosts Community Meeting Oct. 22
How Big A Risk Does Aerosolized Spread of COVID-19 Pose?

Dr. Fred Campbell, of UT Health San Antonio, told The Texas Standard that aerosols can contain coronavirus particles, but “it’s rare that the virus could infect people after traveling long distances through the air.”

“Those aerosols do contain virus particles, but for whatever reason, they don’t appear to be infectious,” Campbell told The Texas Standard.

Campbell added that spread via respiratory droplets between people in close proximity remains the biggest concern and maintaining six feet of distance and wearing a mask remain the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Texas Standard reported. 

He added to the news show that outdoors remains preferable to indoors when gathering with others during the pandemic, although people should still wear masks and practice social distancing. 

“A garage would be as close to an outside environment as one could get,” Campbell said in the interview.

Dallas County Reports 197 New COVID-19 Cases, One Death

Dallas County Health and Human Services Monday reported a total of 311 additional cases (197 confirmed and 114 probable), as well as one additional death.

Of the 197 new cases reported Monday, 62 came through the Texas Department of State Health Services’ (DSHS) electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) system, and 11 were from previous months–one from May, three from June, two from July, and five from August.

Of the 197 newly reported confirmed cases, 186 confirmed cases were from the month of September. The cumulative confirmed case count in Dallas County is 81,372 including 1,021 confirmed deaths. The cumulative probable case count in Dallas County is 4,038 including 13 probable deaths from COVID-19.  

The additional death reported Monday was a Lancaster man in his 90s who’d been hospitalized and had underlying health conditions.

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. Of the total confirmed deaths reported to date, about 25% have been associated with long-term care facilities.  

“It’s very important that we focus on taking common sense and scientifically proven steps to keep ourselves safe during this time where the state is beginning to see an uptick in cases and our numbers remain flat but our progress has stopped and we may begin to see a tick up. You cannot control what happens over the next two weeks because those numbers will be decided by what we did in the past due to the incubation period of the virus. We can control what happens 10-14 days from now,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. 

Jenkins also stressed the importance of continuing to follow public health guidance.

“Wear your mask, maintain six-foot distance, wash your hands frequently, avoid unnecessary trips, and avoid any activity that’s indoors where masks cannot be worn one hundred percent of the time. If you choose to eat at a restaurant, consider patio dining. If you choose organized workouts, consider working out outside the building in the fall weather and not inside of an indoor facility with heavy breathing and without masks. If we all will put community health over our selfish desires to do the few things that the doctors tell us are still not safe, we hopefully can have a safer fall that allows for more freedom. But how the fall and winter goes is largely up to each of you,” he said.

A provisional total of 225 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-aged children between 5 and 17 years during the week ending Sept.19, an increase from the previous week for this age group, according to the county. The percentage of cases occurring in young adults aged between 18 and 22 years has increased to 14% for the month of September. 

The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 has increased and remains high, the county says, with 11.9% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive in the week ending Sept. 19. 

UT Southwestern Medical Center data as of Sept. 24-25 show hospitalizations in North Texas are on the rise again.

“In Dallas and Tarrant Counties, both hospitalizations and the number of patients in the ICU are projected to increase over the next two weeks,” UTSW reports. “The spread of disease is now more even among different age groups compared to the end of August, when it was spreading largely in younger age groups.”

UTSW reports hospitalizations increased 10% compared to one and two weeks ago.

UTSW’s forecast predicts total COVID-19 hospitalizations in Dallas County could increase slightly to between 250 and 460 concurrent hospitalized cases by Oct. 9, and roughly 520 new COVID-19 infections per day are expected by Oct. 9.

Love Field hosts Community Meeting Oct. 22

Dallas Love Field is hosting its quarterly Good Neighbor Program community meeting virtually at 6 p.m. Oct. 22. To register, click here.

Google Chrome is recommended to participate in the meeting, but Mozilla Firefox or Safari are also compatible.

The meeting can be accessed via a computer, iPad, iPhone, Android, or other smart devices. The ClickMeeting Webinar app can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play Store, but it is not necessary to view the meeting.

Attendees can also dial-in for audio only by calling 1-832-706-2490. The pin for the dial in number is 875449577# 

For questions or registration issues, email LoveFieldGNP@dallascityhall.com or call 214-670-5683 during normal business hours.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *