COVID-19 Claims More Than 2,000 Countywide

Last week was a deadly week – the deadliest since the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was first diagnosed in Dallas County. Deadly enough to claim 138. Deadly enough to put the county over 2,000 deaths.

In March, it will have been a year since many of us naively grabbed a few things off our desks on our way home from work “in case” we couldn’t come back for a few weeks.

And while, in a comparison of the population of Dallas County to the amount of people who have contracted COVID or who have died from it, it seems like an unimpressive percentage, do we really need it to be a bigger percentage before it’s worthy of worry and prudence?

After all, to the friends and families of those 2,000, it’s not a small number. It’s their everything, more often than not. It’s a significant number, that family member that succumbed to a virus that has set the world on its collective ear. To those who are still – months later – dealing with aftereffects of their bout with the virus, even one is a big number. It’s upended their lives.

It does seem like there is a light at the end of this extremely long tunnel. Vaccines continue to be developed, and more are being produced. But even the most optimistic of experts will tell you that masking, social distancing, and limiting unnecessary interactions with people you don’t live with will need to continue for several more months, until the maximum number of people possible can be vaccinated.

From Friday to Sunday, a total of 4,439 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus were reported by Dallas County health officials over the weekend, and an additional 720 probable cases were reported, along with 64 deaths.

On Friday, the county reported 2,065 cases (1,843 confirmed cases and 222 probable) and 31 deaths, on Saturday 1,920 cases (1,525 confirmed and 395 probable) and 21 deaths, and on Sunday, 1,174 cases (1,071 confirmed and 103 probable) and 12 deaths.

Among the dead is a University Park woman in her 80s. Also among the dead are Grand Prairie woman in her 40s, a Richardson man in his 40s, a Dallas woman in her 50s who was found dead in her home, three Dallas women in their 50s (one was found dead in her home), two Dallas men in their 50s, a Wilmer man in his 50s, a Grand Prairie woman in her 50s, a Mesquite man in his 50s, three Dallas women in their 60s, two Dallas men in their 60s, five Dallas men in their 70s (one died in a local emergency room), a Mesquite woman in her 70s, three Dallas women in their 70s, a Garland woman in her 70s, two Dallas women in their 80s, a Mesquite woman in her 80s, three Garland men in their 80s, a Farmers Branch woman in her 80s who was found dead in her home, three Dallas men in their 80s, a Dallas woman in her 90s, a Dallas man in his 90s who died in hospice care, and a Garland man in his 90s.

There are currently 111 active long-term care facility outbreaks.  A cumulative total of 3,669 residents and 2,091 healthcare workers in long-term facilities in Dallas have been diagnosed with COVID-19.  Of these, 745 have been hospitalized and 402 have died.  

About 22% of all deaths reported to date have been associated with long-term care facilities, including a man in his 60s who lived at a Garland facility, two women in their 70s who lived in Dallas facilities, a man in his 70s who lived in a Mesquite facility, a woman in her 80s who died in an Irving facility, a man in his 80s who lived in a Garland facility, a man in his 80s who lived in a Dallas facility, a woman in her 80s who lived in a Dallas facility, a woman in her 80s who died in a Garland facility, a woman in her 80s who died in a Mesquite facility, two men in their 90s who died in Mesquite facilities, a woman in her 90s who died in a Dallas facility, and a woman in her 90s who lived in a Mesquite facility.

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday was 1,212 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 22% 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 Feb. 2, Dallas County hospitals could see concurrent hospitalizations rise to between 940 and 1,470 cases, with roughly 2,700 new cases per day on average. 

According to trackers provided by Dallas ISD and Highland Park ISD, cases of COVID-19 are continuing to crop up at schools. On Friday, Dallas ISD’s COVID-19 dashboard indicated that there were have been 3,567 cases throughout the district – 1,775 among campus staff, 381 among central staff, and 1,411 among students.

Hillcrest High School has 29 cases, W.T. White High School has 44 cases, Thomas Jefferson High School has 42, Marsh Middle School has 16 cases, Benjamin Franklin Middle School has 16, Medrano Middle School has 18, Longfellow has 13, Walker Middle School has seven, Dealey Montessori has nine, Walnut Hill Elementary has 22, Sudie Williams has eight, Foster Elementary has 13, Nathan Adams Elementary has nine, Pershing Elementary has eight, Withers Elementary has 13, Gooch Elementary has 19, Kramer Elementary has 19, Preston Hollow Elementary has 13, and K.B. Polk has 15 cases.

Highland Park ISD is reporting five staff cases and 26 student cases (three among four of the five elementary schools, seven at the middle schools, and 16 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 two active student cases and a single staff and faculty case as of Jan. 24.
  • Ursuline reported seven lab-confirmed student cases of COVID-19 and 35 students quarantining as of Jan. 22, and one confirmed case among faculty and staff, with four staff members quarantining.
  • Hockaday reported two students and three faculty or staff members as having active cases, with 26 students and 15 staff members or faculty quarantining.

Over the past 30 days, there have been 8,810 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from 716 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County. One COVID-19 outbreak in a school in December originated with spread among 11 staff members, with transmission to 10 students, and subsequent additional cases were found among at least 13 household members of these students and staff.  One death and one hospitalization occurred from this outbreak.

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 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *