County Announces COVID Vaccination Registration

Dallas County residents who fall into the 1A or 1B state categories can register and be pre-screened for their opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, county officials said over the weekend.

Those who fit into the Texas Department of State Health Services 1A or 1B categories (1A is the designation for qualifying health care workers and 1B is the designation for those 65 and older or those 16 and older that have qualifying high-risk chronic medical conditions) can go to the county’s site to register and be pre-screened.

Officials cautioned that as of now, vaccine supply is extremely limited, but that DCHHS anticipates receiving additional supply in the coming weeks and months. The registration website is for vaccination eligibility only at DCHHS, and not for all providers within Dallas County.

“Right now, we have no remaining vaccine but expect more from the state soon,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “We still have people in phase 1A that must be given the vaccine even as we begin phase 1B. Currently, this DCHHS site will only sign up Dallas County residents and priority within 1B will be given to those with the highest vulnerability scores until more vaccine is available.

“Meanwhile, we are working with the DFW Hospital Council and others to ramp up equitable and rapid vaccinations countywide.” 

Dallas County Health and Human Services director Dr. Philip Huang said that as they replenish their supply, they’ll work through the registration list and determine eligiblity.

“We hope to receive additional allocations from the state soon so that we can continue to work with our partners and begin to meet the needs of our community and turn the corner in the fight against this virus,” he said.

But even as healthcare workers and other qualifying residents are queuing up to receive the vaccine that experts say will help turn the tide on the pandemic, the county reported some of its highest new case and death counts over the four-day weekend.

A total of 7,427 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus were reported by Dallas County health officials over the four-day holiday weekend, and an additional 1,040 probable cases were reported, along with 50 deaths.

On Thursday, the county reported 1,774 cases (1,418 confirmed cases and 356 probable) and 17 deaths, on Saturday 2,842 cases (2,312 confirmed and 530 probable) and 23 deaths, and on Sunday, 3,851 cases (3,697 confirmed and 154 probable) and 10 deaths – which includes data from Friday and Saturday.

That averages to roughly 2,117 cases per day over the four day weekend.

Among the dead are a Dallas woman in her 30s, a Dallas man in his 40s who died in a hospital emergency room, a Dallas man in his 40s who was found dead at home, a Dallas man in his 40s who was found dead at a park, a Duncanville man in his 40s who was found dead at home, a Cedar Hill man in his 40s who was found dead in his home, four Dallas men in their 50s who were found dead in their homes, a Dallas woman in her 50s who was found dead at home, a Rowlett man in his 50s who was found dead at home, two Dallas men in their 50s who died in area hospitals, a Sunnyvale man in his 50s who was found dead at his home, a Grand Prairie man in his 50s, two Dallas women in their 60s (one was found dead at her home and had no underlying conditions), a Duncanville woman in her 60s, a Seagoville man in his 60s, three Dallas men in their 60s who was found dead at their homes, a DeSoto man in his 60s, a Mesquite woman in her 60s who was found dead at her home, a Dallas woman in her 60s with no underlying health conditions, a Dallas man in his 60s who was found dead at work, an Irving woman in her 60s, two Dallas men in their 60s, a Garland man in his 60s, a Grand Prairie woman in her 60s who was found dead at her home, two Dallas men in their 70s who died in local ERs, a Dallas woman in her 70s who was found dead at her home, a Carrollton woman in her 70s, two Irving men in their 70s who were found dead in their homes, a Dallas man in his 70s who was found dead at his home, a Rowlett man in his 70s, a Garland woman in her 70s, a Dallas woman in her 80s, a Mesquite woman in her 80s, and two Dallas men in their 80s. Unless otherwise noted, all had underlying high-risk medical conditions.

Jenkins said the 11 deaths of people found at home or elsewhere happened over several weeks.

“These deaths are spread over several weeks as the autopsies and other prerequisites for their investigation and announcement took time to complete,” he said. “The high number of cases in consistent with the UT Southwestern model that we will see increased numbers of cases and hospitalizations in early January.”

The county said there are 102 active long-term care facility outbreaks. Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 2,954 residents and 1,687 healthcare workers in long-term facilities in Dallas have been diagnosed with COVID-19.  Of these, 640 have been hospitalized and 323 have died. Of these, 665 have been hospitalized and 352 have died.

About 22% of all deaths reported to date have been associated with long-term care facilities, including a woman in her 70s who died in the Irving facility she lived in, a woman in her 90s who died at a Mesquite facility, two men in their 90s who lived in a Mesquite facility, and a woman in her 90s who lived in a Mesquite facility.

Forty-two outbreaks of COVID-19 in congregate-living facilities like homeless shelters and group homes have been reported in the past 30 days associated with 115 cases.

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday was 988 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 24% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council

The provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases (by date of test collection) for the CDC week ending Dec. 22 was to 1,787, which is a rate of 67.8 daily new cases per 100,000 residents. Positive tests also remain high, with 26.5% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive.

Over the past 30 days, there have been 5,971 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from 756 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County, including 569 staff members.  Since the beginning of the pandemic, 21 school nurses have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

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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