County Reports ‘Steep Increase’ Continues

As Dallas County continues to report a “steep increase” in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and Pfizer announces promising findings about a vaccine candidate, here’s what you need to know today:

  • Dallas County reports 1,248 COVID-19 cases, two deaths;
  • Pfizer: COVID-19 vaccine candidate could be 90% effective;
  • Survey shows Dallasites more aware of environmental impact during pandemic.
Dallas County Reports 1,248 COVID-19 Cases, Two Deaths

Dallas County Health and Human Services Monday reported 1,248 additional COVID-19 cases–1,095 confirmed and 153 probable – for a cumulative total of 103,184 cases and 1,134 confirmed deaths. 

The county’s reported a cumulative total of 8,419 probable cases and 18 probable deaths. 

The additional deaths reported Monday include a Dallas man in his 40s and a Grand Prairie man in his 60s. Both had underlying conditions.

Of the total confirmed deaths reported to date, about 24% have been associated with long-term care facilities. Of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than two-thirds have been under 65 years of age. 

“Today our numbers continue their steep increase with 1,248 new cases of COVID-19 and two deaths. We can turn this around if we all work together. We know what we need to do, we just need to do it. Please avoid crowds and wear your mask at all times,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins Monday. “I know people are tired of COVID and ready to turn the page to a happier time, but we will need to continue to put community health and our economy above our selfish desires for a little while longer. The steep rise in cases that we’re seeing seriously threatens those with high-risk health conditions among us and can have a terrible effect on our economy going into this important holiday shopping season if we don’t all do our part.”

The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 remains high, the county says, at 14.9% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive in the week ending Oct. 31. 

A provisional total of 577 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-aged children (5 to 17 years) during the week ending Oct. 31, an almost two-fold increase from the numbers of children diagnosed in this age group four weeks earlier. 

Highland Park ISD reported one case among a student at Armstrong Elementary, one case among a staff member assigned to Bradfield Elementary, one case among a student there, three cases among staff members assigned to University Park Elementary, three among students there, one case among a staff member assigned to McCulloch Intermediate, one among a student, and two cases among students at Highland Park High School as of Monday, according to the district’s COVID-19 page.

Dallas ISD reported 823 cases across the district, 327 among campus staff, 85 among central staff, and 411 among students as of Monday, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.

UT Southwestern Medical Center reported hospitalizations have risen “significantly” in North Texas.

UTSW reports the average volume for the past week was 133% higher than the most recent low in late September, and hospitalizations have hit early August levels in Dallas and Tarrant Counties.

UTSW’s model projects Dallas County total COVID-19 hospitalizations could stay flat or increase to between 430 and 780 concurrent hospitalized cases by Nov. 20, and roughly 1,000 new cases per day are expected by Nov. 20.

Pfizer: COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Could Be 90% Effective

Pfizer Monday announced early analysis showed their COVID-19 vaccine candidate may be more than 90% effective in preventing infection, prompting the company to make plans to apply for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later this month.

“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO, in a statement Monday. “We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen. With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis.”

The interim analysis examined 94 cases so far in a study that’s enrolled 43,538 participants. Some participants got the vaccine while others got a placebo. The vaccine is given in two doses.

The findings don’t mean for certain that a vaccine will be accessible soon. The trial is continuing to enroll and the study seeks to evaluate the potential for the vaccine candidate to provide protection against COVID-19 in those who have had prior exposure to the virus, as well as vaccine prevention against severe COVID-19 disease.

Pfizer estimated it could produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

Survey Shows Dallasites More Aware Of Environmental Impact During Pandemic

A new poll conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Republic Services, a waste collection and recycling company, showed 72.4% of Dallas respondents report that spending more time at home in recent months due to the pandemic has made them more aware of their impact on the environment.

Also, in Dallas, 46% report that they’ve become more aware of their impact on the environment and 41.2% report that they’ve been careful to buy more eco-friendly products.The survey of 2,250 Americans also revealed 58% of respondents are reevaluating their eco-friendly habits as a result of the pandemic. While 65% confess to being “constantly” worried about the future of the environment, the same number said the pandemic has acted as a wake-up call for them to make sustainable choices.

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former 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.

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