Dallas County Reaches ‘Grim Milestone’ for COVID-19 Cases

As we enter the workweek from a very busy news weekend, here’s what you need to know today:

  • Dallas County reaches ‘grim milestone’ for COVID-19 cases;
  • Texas named top state for foreign direct investment;
  • Medical City Healthcare collects 1,200 pounds of medications in take-back event.
Dallas County Reaches ‘Grim Milestone’ for COVID-19 Cases

A total of 2,328 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus were reported by Dallas County health officials between Friday and Sunday, and an additional 665 probable cases were reported, along with seven deaths.

On Friday, the county reported 1,269 cases (867 confirmed and 402 probable) and two confirmed deaths; on Saturday,  876 cases (654 confirmed and 222 probable) and three deaths; and on Sunday, 848 cases (807 confirmed and 41 probable)  and two deaths.

Cumulatively, there have been 102,089 sickened so far with COVID-19, and 1,132 have died from it.

Among the dead are a Dallas woman in her 50s, two Dallas men in their 60s, two Dallas men in their 70s – one with no underlying high-risk health conditions, and a Dallas woman in her 80s. Unless indicated, all had high-risk health conditions.

 Of the total confirmed deaths reported to date, about 24% have been associated with long-term care facilities, including a man in his 60s who lived in a Dallas facility.

“Today we’ve reached the grim milestone of 100,000 Dallas County residents who have been sickened with COVID-19,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Friday. “Our daily numbers continue to increase with today’s total of 1,269 being the highest daily total we’ve seen since our peaks in July that could not be attributed to a backlog or data release like we saw earlier this week when 80% of our probable cases on the day that we reported 1500 cases were attributable to antigen tests that had been done over the last 15 days. 

“Today’s numbers are from recent cases. Additionally, we have two deaths to report today, a person in their 50’s and a person in their 60’s.”

Jenkins attributed the spread to seeing people give in to “COVID fatigue,” relaxing their diligence regarding social distancing and mask-wearing. 

“We must get these numbers under control as Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two holidays when people are around more people and the cold winter months bring us indoors where spread is easier,” he added.

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday was 501 patients, up from 462 last Friday. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 20% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council

UT Southwestern’s latest forecast projects that by Nov. 17, Dallas County hospitals could see concurrent hospitalizations rise to between 400 and 710 cases, with roughly 1,000 new cases per day on average. 

“Hospitalizations in North Texas have risen significantly,” the researchers said. “The average volume for the past week was 130% higher than the most recent low in late September.”

The researchers said they expect ICU populations to increase, with only a “slight probability” that they will remain flat.

According to trackers provided by Dallas ISD and Highland Park ISD, cases of COVID-19 are cropping up at schools. On Friday, Dallas ISD’s COVID-19 dashboard indicated that there were now 757 cases throughout the district – 292 among campus staff, 73 among central staff, and 392 among students.

Hillcrest High School has 13 cases (up from 12 last week), W.T. White High School has 13 cases (up from 12), Thomas Jefferson High School has 19 (up from 16), Marsh Middle School has one case, Benjamin Franklin Middle School has four (up from three), Medrano Middle School has two, Dealey Montessori has three (up from two), Walnut Hill Elementary has 16, Sudie Williams has two, Pershing Elementary has two, Withers Elementary has three, Gooch Elementary has six (up from five), Kramer Elementary has three (up from two), Preston Hollow Elementary has one, and K.B. Polk has one case.

Highland Park ISD is reporting six staff cases and four student cases. Neither district provides information on how many students and staff have quarantined due to classroom exposure to the virus. 

Dallas County reported Saturday that a provisional total of 577 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-aged children (5 to 17 years) during CDC week 44 – the week ending Oct. 31, over twice the numbers of children diagnosed in this age group a month ago.

In the county’s Nov. 6 aggregate report, the county broke down probable cases for children ages 5 to 17 by city. Dallas children in this age group with confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 numbered at 270 for the week ending Oct. 31 and 335 for the week ending Oct. 24. Highland Park children numbered zero for the last two weeks. University Park children numbered four for the week ending Oct. 31 and two for the week ending Oct. 24.

For the week ending Nov. 1, the state Texas Education Agency reported that 19,698 students tested positive for COVID-19, and 12,289 staff members, compared to the week before with 15,986 students and 10,141 staff members.

Dallas County reported in its Nov. 6 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 14.9% as of Oct. 31, with 1,210 positives coming from 8,125 tests. Testing for the week prior found that positive cases accounted for 15.4% of all testing.

Nine percent of all cases ended up hospitalized – 24% 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 – 51,573 confirmed cases and 4,101 probable cases. Highland Park has 123 confirmed cases (up from 118 last week) and another 55 probable cases, and University Park has 360 confirmed cases (up from 342), and 364 probable cases.

“This won’t last forever but unfortunately it will last a little while longer and it’s up to all of us to do our part to flatten the curve,” Jenkins said.

Texas Named Top State for Foreign Direct Investment

Texas has been named the top state for foreign direct investment projects adn the top Free Trade Zone state in the country by Site Selection Magazine

The magazine also included two Texas metropolitan areas on their list of Top FDI Project Metros: Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland (number 5) and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (number 6). 

 “Texas continues to be the premiere economic destination in the country, attracting more foreign-direct investment than any other state, thanks to our outstanding workforce, friendly business climate, and robust infrastructure,” Gov. Greg Abbott said. “With these new rankings from Site Selection, the evidence is even more clear: global businesses succeed in Texas because we’ve built a framework that allows free enterprise to flourish. 

“By building upon our economic development dominance, we will continue to attract more job-creating investments to the Lone Star State from across the country and the world, and ensure economic opportunity for more hardworking Texans.” 

 Site Selection Magazine publishes information for expansion-planning decision-makers — CEOs, corporate real estate executives and facility planners, human resource managers and consultants to corporations. This is the third annual Global Groundwork Index to be released, which uses a blend of proprietary data from Conway Analytics’ Conway Projects Database and an equally robust database from global infrastructure advisory and events firm CG/LA.

Medical City Healthcare Collects 1,200 Pounds of Medications in Take-Back Event

Medical City Healthcare hospitals collected 1,200 pounds of medications during its “Crush the Crisis” drug take back events on Saturday, Oct. 24. The events helped raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and proper disposal of medications.

Community members safely and anonymously disposed of unused or expired medications at drive-through locations at four Medical City Healthcare hospitals located in three North Texas counties, including Medical City Dallas. The events aligned with the DEA’s National Take Back Day and law enforcement officers from Arlington, Dallas, Denton and Fort Worth Police Departments were on-hand to secure the medications. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two million people in the U.S. suffered from an opioid use disorder and more than 67,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2018. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the U.S. is seeing an increase in opioid usage, with 40 states reporting increases in opioid-related deaths, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).

“We are incredibly proud of these efforts to help ‘Crush the Crisis’ on opioid addiction,” Miguel Benet, MD, chief medical officer of Medical City Healthcare, said. “With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic contributing to stress and depression, it is vitally important to remove unused pain medications from homes and to educate the community about the serious threat of opioid misuse.”

To learn more about Medical City Healthcare’s Drug Take-Back program and find the location of a permanent drug take-back box that is available 24/7/365 as part of Medical City Healthcare’s ongoing efforts to “Crush the Crisis,” visit https://medicalcityhealthcare.com/DrugTakeBack.

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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