Vaccination Efforts Stymied By Winter Storm Uri

Winter Storm Uri, as this record-breaking winter weather event has been named by the Weather Channel, has put a damper on Dallas County plans for vaccinations for the next couple of days.

Rocky Vaz, city of Dallas director of emergency management, said that the Fair Park vaccination site will be closed through Monday. The city is taking a wait-and-see approach on further closures beyond that, but is planning for vaccination operations for 2,500 does of Moderna on Thursday and Friday, weather permitting, and Methodist hospital is planning to administer 2,500 doses between Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services announced this weekend that the state will receive 407,650 first doses of the vaccine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week, and they will be shipped directly to 302 providers in 158 counties.

On top of the state allocation, the federal government has shipped 80,000 doses of vaccine to 376 pharmacy locations across the state as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Pharmacies participating in Texas include CVS, Walmart, and a consortium of independent pharmacies. 

In Dallas, Baylor Medical Center will receive 4,875 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine; the city of Dallas and Dallas County Health and Human Services will receive 5,000 and 9,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, respectively; and Parkland and UT Southwestern will each receive 10,725 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Additionally, the Walgreens at 2515 Inwood Road will recieve Moderna doses, and the Tom Thumb locations at 10455 N. Central Expressway and 11920 Preston Road will get 200 and 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine each.

From Friday to Sunday, a total of 2,054 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus were reported by Dallas County health officials over the weekend, and an additional 615 probable cases were reported, along with 58 deaths.

On Friday, the county reported 845 cases (540 confirmed cases and 305 probable) and 40 deaths, on Saturday 939 cases (769 confirmed and 170 probable) and eight deaths, and on Sunday, 885 cases (745 confirmed and 140 probable) and 10 deaths.

Although the bulk of those who died this weekend were 50 and older, with pre-existing conditions, a Dallas man in his 30s died after being critically ill in a hospital, as well as five other Dallas County residents in their 40s. Four had no underlying high-risk conditions. Twenty-eight were Dallas residents.

There are 89 active long-term care facility outbreaks.  A cumulative total of 4,098 residents and 2,304 healthcare workers in long-term facilities in Dallas have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Of these, 894 have been hospitalized and 518 have died.

About 22% of all deaths reported to date have been associated with long-term care facilities, including 10 that were reported over the weekend.

During the past 30 days, there were 7,012 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from 713 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, Latino, or Black.

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday was 686 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 18% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council

Four cases of the COVID-19 variant first identified in the UK have been found in Dallas County, officials said. Positive tests from sick patients arriving to area hospitals came in at a rate of 21.1% for the week ending Feb. 6.

When it comes to cumulative case counts, Dallas still leads Dallas County cities with 131,092 total cases. Highland Park has had 810 cases so far, and University Park 2,838.

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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