COVID-19 Brings Deadly Weekend with 48 Deaths

A total of 4,102 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus were reported by Dallas County health officials between Friday and Sunday, and an additional 1,012 probable cases were reported, along with 48 deaths.

On Friday, the county reported 2,248 cases (1,938  confirmed cases and 310 probable) and 10 deaths; on Saturday,  1,723 cases (1,376  confirmed and 347 probable) and eight deaths; and on Sunday, 1,143 cases (788 confirmed and 355 probable) and 30 deaths.

Among the dead are a Dallas woman in her 30s who died in hospice care, a Mesquite woman in her 40s, an Irving woman in her 40s with no underlying high-risk medical conditions, a Dallas woman in her 50s, two Dallas men in their 50s (one died in a facility), a Grand Prairie woman in her 50s, a DeSoto man in his 50s, a Garland man in his 50s who was found dead in his home, a Grand Prairie woman in her 60s, a Garland man in his 60s, a Mesquite woman in her 60s, a Lancaster man in his 60s, two Dallas women in their 60s, two Dallas men in their 60s,  a Rowlett man in his 70s, an Irving man his 70s, two Dallas men in their 70s (one died in a hospital emergency room), a Richardson woman in her 70s, a Mesquite man in his 70s, a Dallas woman in her 70s, a Garland man in his 70s, a Grand Prairie woman in her 70s, a Mesquite woman in her 70s, two Dallas men in their 80s, a Dallas woman in her 80s, a Richardson woman in her 80s, a Duncanville man in his 90s, a Grand Prairie woman in her 90s who died in hospice care, a Cedar Hill man in his 90s, and a Dallas woman in her 90s who died in hospice care.

There are currently 99 active long-term care facility outbreaks.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 2,696 residents and 1,550 healthcare workers in long-term facilities in Dallas have been diagnosed with COVID-19.  Of these, 631 have been hospitalized and 318 have died. About 22% of all deaths reported to date have been associated with long-term care facilities, including a man in his 80s who lived in a Dallas facility and died in hospice care, a woman in her 80s who lived in an Irving facility and died in hospice care, a woman in her 80s who lived in a Dallas facility and died in hospice care,  a woman in her 90s who died in a Garland facility and had no underlying high-risk health conditions, a man in his 90s who lived in a Dallas facility in hospice care, and a woman in her 90s who lived in a Dallas facility and was in hospice care.

“Our number of average cases per day is slightly down this week and our number of reported deaths this week is down to 56,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Saturday. “For the third time this week, we’re also reporting a new record of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Dallas County.

“Unlike in the spring and summer surges, the ability to draw on regional capacity and additional staff is limited at this time,” he cautioned. “A post-holiday surge on top of the current increases could be devastating to our already heavily burdened health care providers. This is not the position we wanted to be in heading into the winter holidays. While we are all tired of COVID-19, the virus unfortunately isn’t tired of us.”

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday was a record high 910 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 23% 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 Dec. 29, Dallas County hospitals could see concurrent hospitalizations rise to between 620 and 1,060 cases, with roughly 1,700 new cases per day on average. 

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 2,204 cases throughout the district – 978 among campus staff, 240 among central staff, and 986 among students.

Hillcrest High School has 19 cases, W.T. White High School has 22 cases, Thomas Jefferson High School has 28, Marsh Middle School has eight cases, Benjamin Franklin Middle School has nine, Medrano Middle School has 12, Longfellow has eight, Walker Middle School has five, Dealey Montessori has nine, Walnut Hill Elementary has 18, Sudie Williams has three, Foster Elementary has five, Nathan Adams Elementary has six, Pershing Elementary has two, Withers Elementary has seven, Gooch Elementary has 12, Kramer Elementary has 10, Preston Hollow Elementary has nine, and K.B. Polk has nine cases.

Highland Park ISD is reporting a single staff case (at the high school) and 21 student cases (five among the two elementary schools, nine at the middle schools, and 10 at Highland Park High School). Neither district provides information on how many students and staff have quarantined due to classroom exposure to the virus. 

Not all private schools are publicly reporting their cases, but among those that are:

  • Greenhill reported eight active cases – all students –  as of Dec. 20.
  • Ursuline reported one lab-confirmed student case of COVID-19 and 47 students quarantining as of Dec.17, and three staff members quarantining.
  • Hockaday reported three students and four faculty or staff members as having active cases, with 66 students and 10 staff members or faculty quarantining.

Dallas County reported that over the past 30 days, there have been 6,050 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from 780 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County, including 686 staff members. Of these cases, 603 have been associated with extracurricular activities, including athletics.

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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