Hospitals Become Overburdened as Cases Spike

As hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases climb, and as people continue to wait for their opportunity to receive the two-part vaccination that could help turn the tide, there is a lot of news to keep track of. Here are today’s bullet points:

  • COVID hospitalizations climb;
  • County reports 2,794 new cases, 20 deaths;
  • Give blood, get a Super Bowl experience.
COVID Hospitalizations Climb

As of yesterday, the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council is reporting that there are 11 ICU beds available in the entire county, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Wednesday morning.

Texas Health said that their hospitals would once again cease elective surgeries to better cope with the new surge of COVID cases.

And yesterday, Will Maddox reported at our sister publication D Magazine that COVID-19 patients make up more than a quarter of all of those in the hospital, and half of all ICU patients in North Texas.

“There are more COVID-positive people in Texas hospitals than ever before, with 12,961 patients hospitalized with the disease,” he wrote. “COVID-19 patients now occupy one in every five hospital beds. In the state’s Trauma Service Area E, which includes 19 counties in North Texas, there are more than 4,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, representing 26 percent of hospital capacity. There are just 46 intensive care unit beds available in the region as of Monday, with 11 in Dallas County, 14 in Tarrant County, and only five in all of Collin County. As of Monday, adult COVID-19 patients make up 50.99 percent of the total adult ICU beds in the region.”

You can read more about the hospital surge (as well as why Mayor Eric Johnson’s numbers on hospital bed availability often diverge from what NCTTRAC reports) here.

County Reports 2,794 New Cases, 20 Deaths

Dallas County health officials Tuesday reported 2,794 new cases of COVID-19, with 2,563 of them counted as confirmed cases and 231 as probable cases.

The county also reported 20 dead, including a Dallas woman in her 40s, a Dallas man in his 40s, a Mesquite man in his 50s, a Dallas woman in her 60s who was found dead in her home, two Mesquite women in their 60s, a Seagoville man in his 60s, a Dallas man in his 60s, two Dallas men in their 70s, a Mesquite man in his 70s, a Garland woman in her 70s, a Seagoville man in his 80s, a Dallas woman in her 80s, a Mesquite man in his 80s, and two Dallas men in their 80s.

There are currently 102 active long-term care facility outbreaks – the highest number of long-term care facilities with active outbreaks reported in Dallas County since the beginning of the pandemic, health officials said Tuesday.  

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, 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 man in his 50s who lived in a Mesquite facility and died at a local emergency room, a woman in her 80s who lived in a Mesquite facility, and a man in his 80s who lived in a Dallas facility and died at a local ER.

Forty-two outbreaks of COVID-19 in congregate-living facilities (e.g. homeless shelters, group homes, and halfway homes) have been reported in the past 30 days associated with 115 cases.  One facility has reported 93 COVID-19 outbreak cases since October.

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.

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday was 1,113 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

Give Blood, Get a Super Bowl Experience

The American Red Cross and the National Football League are teaming up this January, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals – especially those who have recovered from COVID-19 – to help tackle the need for blood. Right now, more donors are needed to help hospital patients.

And if doing a good deed to kick off the new year isn’t enough, the organization and the NFL said they will automatically enter donors into a drawing to win two tickets to next year’s Super Bowl, and those who give between Jan. 1 and Jan. 20 will also be entered to win a Big Game at Home package for an awesome viewing experience safely at home, with a 65-inch television and a $500 gift card to put toward food and fun.

Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood today with the American Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.

COVID-19 survivors can help by giving whole blood. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients. Health emergencies don’t pause for holidays, game days or a pandemic – blood is needed every two seconds in the U.S. to help patients battling injury and illness.

To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their donation.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance.

Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.  

Donation opportunities include:

  • 1/11/2021: 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Lowe’s Dallas, 6011 Lemmon Avenue
  • 1/13/2021: 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., American Red Cross Dallas Chapter, 2055 Kendall Drive
  • 1/13/2021: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m., American Red Cross Dallas Chapter, 2055 Kendall Drive
  • 1/15/2021: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Foundry Commercial, 8144 Walnut Hill Ln., Ste. 120
  • 1/17/2021: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., American Red Cross Dallas Chapter, 2055 Kendall Dr.
  • 1/18/2021: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., American Red Cross Dallas Chapter, 2055 Kendall Dr.
  • 1/19/2021: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., AT&T Performing Arts Center, 2403 Flora St
  • 1/20/2021: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Lovers Lane United Methodist Church, 9200 Inwood Road
  • 1/20/2021: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Trammell Crow Center, 2010 Flora Street
  • 1/27/2021: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Crescent Real Estate, 200 Crescent Court
  • 1/27/2021: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Trusted ER Uptown, 3607 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 100
  • 1/31/2021: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., American Red Cross Dallas Chapter, 2055 Kendall Dr.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy 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 doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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