Park Cities Zip Code Identified as Risk Zone by PCCI

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, one index is showing a marked increase in one Park Cities zip code. We have that and more in today’s bullet points:

  • Park Cities Zip Code identified as a risk zone by PCCI;
  • Jenkins encourages mail-in voters to check ballot status;
  • Dallas County reports nearly 600 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday.
Park Cities Zip Code Identified as Risk Zone by PCCI
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One zip code that is partially in the Park Cities has been identified as having an extreme increase in COVID-19 cases by the Parkland Center of Clinical Innovation’s Vulnerability Index.

The PCCI team uses technology, data science, and clinical expertise to take a look at the behaviors and other social aspects of various groups, and create ways for healthcare providers to better treat and even prevent various illnesses.

The Vulnerability Index observes increases in vulnerability to COVID-19 infection in Dallas County, and since October has indicated several hot-spots showing a significant increase in their Vulnerability Index (VI) .

The index determines which communities are most at risk by looking at a variety of factors, including comorbidity rates, density of senior population, and decreased access to things like food, medicine, employment, and transportation.

Those factors are then combined with dynamic mobility rates and confirmed COVID-19 cases, where a vulnerability value is scaled using July 2020’s peak numbers.

To build the Vulnerability Index, PCCI relied on data from Parkland Health & Hospital System, the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, U.S. Census, and SafeGraph.

The Vulnerability Index reports that in early October, the ZIP Code with the highest vulnerability value continued to be 75211, around Cockrell Hill. This area has been a high-risk area since the launch of PCCI’s Vulnerability Index.

But 75219 also was on that top 10 list, showing growth in cases. However, unlike the top five, this Park Cities zip code is in the bottom five of that top 10 list, meaning that it is at a moderate risk level still.

“Contributing to vulnerability rating for all ten ZIP codes was increased year-over-year mobility that was detected,” a statement from PCCI said. “COVID-19 case counts have also increased generally across the county.”

“The ways to fight this virus remain the same as prior months – limit outside visits, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap, wear a mask when travel is required outside the home, and continue social distancing,” said Thomas Roderick, PhD, senior data and applied scientist at PCCI.  “Also, be sure to listen to public health authorities, such as the Dallas County HHS, Texas DSHS, and CDC. Working together we can push back against the recent increase in cases.”

The PCCI COVID-19 Vulnerability Index can be found on its COVID-19 Hub for Dallas County at: https://covid-analytics-pccinnovation.hub.arcgis.com/.

Jenkins Encourages Mail-In Voters to Check Ballot Status

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins encourages every voter who used the absentee/mail in option for this election to check the status of the ballot with a new online tool provided to Texas voters. 

The nonprofit Vote America has released their online tool this month to track the ballots as they are arriving at elections offices across the state. The state of Texas does not provide a system for verifying that your vote has been received.

“By tracking your ballot status today, you can see if your vote has been counted,” said Jenkins. “If the system shows the ballot has not yet been received, you can contact the Elections Department to see what options remain before Tuesday.”

Ballots that have not been received do not mean they have been lost. If you still have your mail ballot and want to mail it; the county recommends doing that as soon as possible. Voters can also drop completed ballots off at Dallas Elections Headquarters at 1520 Round Table Drive, or take it to the polling place to have it canceled and vote in person. If the requested mail ballot never arrived, please call (214) 819-6359 to have the ballot canceled or resent or vote in person. Also, voting in person provisionally is allowed and that vote will be counted if the mail ballot does not arrive. 

With Dallas County shattering its own early vote records and three days remaining before Election Day, Jenkins says voters need the confidence of knowing their vote is part of this historic turnout. 

“Democracy works best when everyone participates and this tool ensures that our voters who chose to vote by mail can know their vote has been counted,” he said.

Dallas County Reports Nearly 600 New COVID-19 Cases Tuesday

Dallas County health officials reported 597 additional positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday – 419 confirmed cases and 178 probable cases. No new deaths were reported.

Hospitalizations have increased, with 473 patients hospitalized Monday. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 17% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council

Dallas County reported in its Oct. 27 aggregate report that most confirmed cases continue to be between the ages of 18 and 60, with the 18-40 age group accounting for 46% of the cases, and the 41-64 age group accounting for another 34% of the total cases.

Close contact or community transmission continues to be the biggest risk factor for contracting COVID-19, accounting for more than 94% of all cases.

Of the testing done, positive cases accounted for 14.2% as of Oct. 17, with 978 positives coming from 6,880 tests. Testing for the week prior found that positive cases accounted for 11.3% of all testing.

Nine percent of all cases ended up hospitalized – 23% ended up in intensive care, and 13% ended up on a ventilator.

In a city-by-city breakdown, Dallas still comes in with the highest number of cases – 48,580 confirmed cases and 2,661 probable cases. Highland Park has 115 confirmed cases and another 48 probable cases, and University Park has 335 confirmed cases (up from 323), and 297 probable cases.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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