COVID Deaths Remain High

Dallas County COVID-19 case counts continue to be a bit off because of the winter storms that wreaked havoc last week, health officials said.

From Friday to Sunday, a total of 2,840 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus were reported by Dallas County health officials over the weekend, and an additional 627 probable cases were reported, along with 63 deaths.

All told, between Friday and Sunday 896 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 were reported by the county.

“The new COVID case numbers are artificial due to a lack of reporting and the lack of testing during the extreme winter weather,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “Next week reporting should return to normal and we can see what the true numbers are. The trends we were seeing before the ice storms were encouraging and I’m hopeful that we are beginning to turn the corner in the fight against COVID.”

But the deaths – which are a lagging indicator – continue. On Friday, the county reported 40 deaths. On Saturday, 25, and on Sunday, 44.

Many of those who died were in their 50s or older. Most had underlying high-risk conditions. But six were younger than 50. Three were in their 30s.

Vaccinations began again Sunday at the Fair Park location, and now that temperatures have warmed, vaccination efforts can ramp up once again.

“We do believe the case numbers are declining and we are seeing the lowest numbers in our hospitals since early November,” Jenkins said Saturday. “It’s important that we all continue to focus on wearing our masks, maintaining physical distance, washing our hands, avoiding crowds, and foregoing get-togethers for a little longer.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services said Friday that it allocated 591,920 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine and had directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ship those doses to 563 providers in 230 counties, including 84,240 doses for large vaccine clinics in Harris, Dallas, and Tarrant counties supported by the federal government.

The state also ordered 364,830 doses intended as the second dose for people first vaccinated a few weeks ago. 

In Dallas, Dallas County’s Fair Park site received 21,060 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Baylor Medical Center will receive 2,340 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine; and Parkland and UT Southwestern will each receive 9,360 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital 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.

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