As new variants emerge and vaccination efforts continue to ramp up, keeping track of news regarding the pandemic is still important. Here are today’s bullet points:
- COVID-19 claims pregnant Dallas woman in her 20s;
- Moderna vaccine co-inventor to speak at UT Southwestern webinar today;
- State, FEMA announce community vaccination centers;
- Dallas ISD to host vaccination registration events at White, Hillcrest;
- State offers C0VID-19 rent relief program.
COVID-19 claims pregnant Dallas woman in her 20s
Dallas County health officials Tuesday reported 1,303 new positive cases of COVID-19, with 116 of those cases being probable cases and 1,187 confirmed cases.
The county also reported 30 deaths Tuesday, including a Dallas woman in her 20s. Additionally, the county reported the deaths of two women in their 30s – a Dallas woman who died in a local hospital emergency room and an Irving woman who had recent reinfection with COVID-19 after initial recovery more than six months ago.
With the exception of a Dallas man in his 40s who died in a local ER, the rest of the victims were in their 50s or older, and all but two had underlying conditions. Ten of the 30 were from Dallas.
The county reported that for the CDC week ending Jan. 30, the infection rate among those presenting to area hospitals with symptoms of the virus was 24.7%.
The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday was 772 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 20% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
During the month of January, there were 9,231 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from 755 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County.
A total of 420 children in Dallas County under 18 years of age have been hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic, including 32 patients diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children (MIS-C). Over 80% of reported MIS-C cases in Dallas have occurred in children who are Hispanic or Latino or Black.
Moderna vaccine co-inventor to speak at UT Southwestern webinar today
There is still time to register for the latest in UT Southwestern’s Ida M. Green Lecture Series happening today at 4 p.m.
The series will feature Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Ph.D., the scientific lead on the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) Coronavirus Team and co-inventor of the Moderna, Inc. mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
Corbett, a viral immunologist and senior research fellow in the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), was appointed to the team in 2014.
State, FEMA announce community vaccination centers
Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is establishing mass community vaccination sites in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Houston.
These federal pilot sites, which will be based at AT&T Stadium and Fair Park in Dallas and Arlington, are part of a joint effort to support vaccination efforts in underserved areas. The sites will be operated by FEMA in partnership with the state of Texas through the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and local officials.
Preparations and buildout of these three locations is now underway, and the sites are expected to be open to eligible members of the public beginning February 24. Registration details for appointments at these locations will be announced in the coming days.
“These mass community sites will allow us to expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations in underserved communities and help us mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Abbott. “Thank you to our partners at FEMA for working with the State of Texas to establish these vaccination sites and help us protect our most vulnerable.”
“Our state and local partners have made an extraordinary effort in the vaccine rollout, these sites are another opportunity to work together and assist in the vaccine administration,” said Tony Robinson, FEMA Region 6 Administrator. “We are making progress, but the job isn’t complete until everyone who wants a vaccine receives a vaccine.”
The goal of establishing these joint federal pilot sites is to continue to vaccinate more Texans in an efficient, effective, and equitable manner, with an explicit focus on making sure that communities with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection are not left behind.
The state will closely monitor vaccination uptake at each of these sites and will work with local and federal partners to make real-time decisions to ensure the best utilization of the additional vaccines that have been made available.
Dallas ISD to host vaccination registration events at White, Hillcrest
Dallas ISD has joined the effort to help people get registered for the COVID-19 vaccine by hosting registration events at neighborhood schools.
Upcoming events include W.T. White High School on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon and Hillcrest High School on Thursday, Feb. 18 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
State offers C0VID-19 rent relief program
Abbott Tuesday announced that the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) has launched the Texas Rent Relief Program — the first statewide rent and utility assistance program for qualifying households throughout Texas.
This program has been created to administer the more than $1 billion allocated to Texas through the latest federal COVID-19 stimulus bill. TDHCA will begin accepting applications for the program on Monday, Feb. 15, but Texans can visit TexasRentRelief.com already to learn more about qualifications, required documents, and the application process.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a significant financial strain on many Texans, and the Texas Rent Relief Program will provide an incredible lifeline to households in need of assistance on their rent and utility payments,” said Abbott. “I urge qualifying households to apply for this program once applications open on February 15th. The State of Texas will continue to provide the resources and support for those in need throughout the pandemic.”
“The pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to many Texas families. The Texas Rent Relief program is for those Texans who need help to pay rent and utility bills and I encourage those who need it to apply. These resources will provide support for Texas families who need it while our economy continues to recover,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
“Texans have been resilient in responding to COVID-19, and this program can provide short-term assistance to families in need as they emerge from the financial aftershocks of the pandemic,” said Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan.
To qualify, households must be at or below 80% of the area median income as well as meet other criteria. Per federal guidelines, TDHCA will prioritize applications for households at or below 50% of the area median income level and households where one or more members are currently unemployed and have been for at least 90 days. Landlords are encouraged to apply on behalf of tenants, who must co-sign the application.
Beginning next Monday, applicants can submit their application by calling 1-833-9TX-RENT (1-833-989-7368) or submitting it online at TexasRentRelief.com. The call center will be open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.