PCCI: COVID-19 Leading Cause of Death In Dallas County

With the anniversary of Dallas County’s first COVID-19 death having recently passed, the virus has become the leading cause of death among county residents, surpassing heart disease, cancer, and strokes in the past year, the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) reported Wednesday.

The first death in Dallas County was recorded on March 19, 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By March 21, 2021, deaths in Dallas County from COVID-19 stood at 3,763. This surpassed estimated deaths due to heart disease (3,668), cancer (3,356) and strokes (1,015) during that same period.

COVID-19 deaths in Dallas County saw their steepest increases starting in December. On Dec. 21, 2020, deaths from COVID-19 stood at 1,841, but in the following three months deaths more than doubled, adding 1,922 more casualties.

“This is a sad milestone for Dallas County,” said Vikas Chowdhry, chief analytics and information officer at PCCI. “We can see that COVID-19 claimed the most lives following social gatherings and holiday travel beginning with Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year’s. Starting in December we saw a startling spike of deaths due to COVID-19 that represented more than all of the deaths in the previous months we had experienced during the pandemic. This offers a valuable lesson going forward, that we must remain vigilant to protect ourselves, our families and friends.”

PCCI recently forecast that Dallas County may reach COVID-19 herd immunity by mid-June. However, in order to reach this threshold residents of Dallas County need to continue their efforts to protect themselves from infection, Chowdhry said.

“We are remaining optimistic that we can reach herd immunity by the early summer, but the key is ongoing vigilance, including continued adhering to local health official guidance, social distancing, face covering, and registering for vaccinations as soon as possible,” said Chowdhry.

In other news:

  • Dallas County Wednesday reported 270 more COVID-19 cases — 175 confirmed cases and 95 probable — and 21 additional deaths, including a Seagoville man in his 30s. The county also reported an outbreak of over 50 cases of COVID-19 has been reported this past week among high school students who attended a dance and dinner on March 13. 
  • The Texas Department of State Health Services this week outlined new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated nursing home residents to have close contact with loved ones, the Dallas Morning News reports.
  • After U.S. health officials raised concerns, AstraZeneca Wednesday released updated data showing its COVID-19 vaccine is 76% effective at preventing symptomatic illness from the virus.

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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