Winter Weather Impacts COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

As winter weather impacts COVID-19 vaccine appointments and local officials continue to monitor the state of the pandemic, here’s what you need to know today:

  • Dallas County reports 1,231 COVID-19 cases, 37 deaths;
  • Jenkins, Johnson talk selection of Dallas for federal mass vaccination site;
  • Tips for winter weather proofing your home.
Dallas County Reports 1,231 COVID-19 cases, 37 deaths

Dallas County Wednesday reported 1,231 more COVID-19 cases – 1,018 confirmed and 213 probable – and 37 additional deaths.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dallas County’s reported a cumulative total of 237,943 confirmed cases, 32,853 probable, and 2,519 deaths. 

Among the deaths reported Wednesday were a Dallas man in his 20s who didn’t have any underlying conditions. The rest of the victims reported Wednesday were in their 50s or older.

Also among the deaths reported Wednesday were six people who lived in long-term care facilities in the county.

“Today we report another 1,231 positive COVID cases and 37 deaths, including a man in his 20’s with no underlying high risk health conditions. We must continue to wear our masks, wash our hands, keep six feet of distance, and avoid crowds at least until we reach herd immunity,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Wednesday. “These small sacrifices will help protect ourselves, our loved ones, and those in our community from the virus until we reach that point.”

The Fair Park vaccine hub operations are canceled and Dallas County offices are closed Thursday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted Thursday morning.

Dallas County reported Wednesday that 42,517 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered at the Fair Park mega-vaccine clinic, and the remainder of this week’s allocations will be for second doses. 

Parkland also shared Wednesday evening that the drive-through vaccine sites at Ellis Davis Field House and Eastfield Community College will be closed Thursday-Monday because of the cold weather. Patients who have appointments at those sites on these days should go to Parkland Memorial Hospital at 5200 Harry Hines Boulevard at their scheduled date and time. Vaccines at Parkland are by appointment only. Those who are unable to go to the hospital for their appointment will be contacted to reschedule their appointment. 

Hospitalizations are decreasing in Dallas County.

Dallas County also reported Wednesday there were 761 COVID-19 patients  in hospitals Tuesday, and the number of emergency room visits for COVID-19 like symptoms in Dallas County was 575 for the same time-period, which represents around 20% of all emergency department visits in the county according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council. 

There were 7,012 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from 713 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County in the past 30 days.

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). 

As of Wednesday, Highland Park ISD reported 10 cases among staff members and 24 cases among students districtwide, according to the district’s COVID-19 webpage.

Specifically, as of Wednesday there are three cases among staff members assigned to Armstrong Elementary, two cases among students at Boone, two cases among students at Hyer, one case in a staff member assigned to University Park, two cases among students at McCulloch, two cases among staff members assigned to Highland Park Middle School, six among students there, three cases among staff members assigned to Highland Park High School, and 12 cases among students there.

As of Wednesday, Dallas ISD reported 4,164 cases districtwide, 2,064 among campus staff, 429 among central staff, and 1,671 cases among students, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The county also reported 103 active long-term care facility outbreaks as of Wednesday. A cumulative total of 4,044 residents and 2,263 healthcare workers in long-term facilities in Dallas have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Of these, 876 have been hospitalized and 513 have died. About 22% of all deaths reported to date have been associated with long-term care facilities.  

The county also reported 16 outbreaks in congregate-living facilities, such as homeless shelters, group homes, and halfway homes, in the past 30 days. A cumulative total of 383 residents and 191 staff members in congregate-living facilities in Dallas have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Jenkins, Johnson talk selection of Dallas for federal mass vaccination site

Jenkins and Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson Wednesday said they’re optimistic the selection of Fair Park for a federal mass vaccination site. We shared the announcement that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would be establishing mass vaccination sites in the Dallas-Fort Worth area Wednesday.

“I applaud the White House for selecting Dallas as a community vaccination site. This is welcome news for all Texans. These much-needed resources will help us reach some of our hardest-hit communities and ensure that more residents access the vaccine in a fair and equitable manner,” said Jenkins. “These resources will help many families, and particularly our most vulnerable residents, regain some sense of normalcy.”

Jenkins said the sites at  Fair Park, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and NRG Stadium in Houston together will be capable of administering more than 10,000 shots a day.

“”We must all work to quickly and efficiently vaccinate as many people as possible against COVID-19, and doing so requires partnerships at every level of government,” Johnson said. “I am grateful that the White House has selected Dallas for this effort, and I look forward to seeing the new operation in action at Fair Park, a cornerstone of our community located in the heart of our city. Every vaccine dose given out will save lives and help our residents return to normalcy.”

Tips for winter weather proofing your home

Cason Wright, executive director of the concierge home management service Manorly, offered some tips for homeowners to prepare as winter weather rolls in.

Wright’s tips include:

  • Disconnect all hoses from hose bibs and install hose bib covers. If the hose is connected, it will not allow the vacuum breakers to function correctly and can split the plumbing pipe.
  • Set thermostats at minimum 65 degrees.
  • Leave interior faucets trickling.
  • If you have plumbing fixtures in cabinetry on exterior walls, open the cabinet doors to allow the interior ambient air in.
  • Insulate any exposed piping.
  • Drain cabanas and exterior buildings that do not have a heat source.
  • For decorative fountains, leave the pumps running continuously.
  • All pools should be standardly equipped with Freeze Guard to protect the pumps and piping, there should be no issue unless the Freeze Guard is not working or the pool is under maintenance. There are manual plugs that can be pulled in these cases to drain the pipes and pumps.
  • Make sure your pool is filled to the correct level on the tile line. If it is below the tile line and the pool freezes, it can crack the plaster.
  • Identify the shutoff valve for the house in case of an emergency. 

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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