From the policy repercussions of the freeze to an infamous respiratory disease, here is the news that happened on Thursday, April 8, which North Texans should know.
- FEMA partially approved Abbott’s extension for vaccination sites in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex;
- Dallas County reported 244 new COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths;
- Sen. Cornyn and Dallas Rep. Johnson cross party lines to pass an energy grid built for an unpredictable Texas climate.
FEMA partially approved an extension for vaccination sites in DFW, per the request of Abbott.
Gov. Abbott announced on April 8 that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has partially approved a request to extend operations for the Federally Supported Community Vaccination Centers in Arlington, Dallas and Houston through May 18.
FEMA’s extension includes federal personnel who will continue to assist in operating the sites. However, the extension does not include more federal supplies and more doses of vaccine. Instead, the state of Texas will provide the supplies and doses.
“Thank you to FEMA for extending the use of federal personnel at these mass vaccination sites through the middle of May,” said Abbott. “Where the federal government falls short, Texas will step in by providing the supplies and vaccine doses needed to keep these successful sites operational.”
Originally launched in Feb., these federal pilot sites are based at E Sports Stadium, Fair Park and NRG Stadium. The federal sites are part of a joint effort to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts in underserved areas. The sites are operated by federal personnel in partnership with the state of Texas through TDEM and local officials.
“We will continue to work with our federal and local partners to ensure our communities have access to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Abbott.
Dallas County reported 244 new COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths.
As of April 8, Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 244 additional positive cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Dallas County.
There is a cumulative total of 253,446 confirmed cases. There is a cumulative total of 39,919 probable cases.
A total of 3,669 Dallas County residents have died due to COVID-19 illness.
Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) is providing initial vaccinations to those most at risk of exposure to COVID-19. DCHHS has administered over 319,000 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Fair Park mega-vaccine clinic, which started operations on Jan. 11. Vaccine operations for both first and second doses at Fair Park will continue through April 10.
Among the 22 deaths reported Thursday were a critically ill Grand Prairie man in his 40’s, a Dallas man in his 40’s who had underlying high-risk health conditions, a Mesquite man in his 50’s who had underlying high-risk health conditions, a Dallas woman in her 60’s who had been hospitalized and had underlying high-risk health conditions, a Carrollton man in his 60’s who been critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high-risk health conditions, a Dallas woman in her 60’s who had underlying high-risk health conditions, and a Grand Prairie woman in her 60’s who had been hospitalized and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
Additionally, the death count included a Dallas man in his 70’s who passed at home and had underlying high-risk health conditions, a Coppell man in his 70’s who did not have underlying high-risk health conditions, a Dallas woman in her 70’s who had underlying high-risk health conditions, a Dallas man in his 70’s who had been critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high-risk health conditions, and a Balch Springs woman in her 70’s who died in an area hospital ED and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
Also among the deaths reported Thursday were two Coppell women in their 80’s who had underlying high-risk health conditions, a Mesquite man in his 80’s who died at home and had underlying high-risk health conditions, a Dallas man in his 80’s who was found deceased at home and had underlying high-risk health conditions, two Dallas women in their 80’s who had underlying high-risk health conditions, two Dallas men in their 90’s who passed in facilities, an Irving woman in her 90’s who expired in the facility and did not have underlying high-risk health conditions, and an Irving man in his 90’s who was a died in a long-term care facility and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
“Today we report an additional 244 COVID-19 cases and 22 additional deaths, including a man in his 40’s who did not have underlying health conditions,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
To date, a total of 19 cases of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7; two cases of B.1.429 variants; and one case of a B.1.526 variant have been identified in residents of Dallas County. Two have been hospitalized and five had a history of recent domestic travel outside of Texas.
The provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases for CDC week 12 was 218, which is a rate of 8.3 daily new cases per 100,000 residents. The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 remains high, and with 7.6 percent of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive in the last week of March.
During the past 30 days, there were 1,223 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from 380 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County. An outbreak of over 70 cases of COVID-19 has been reported associated with attendees at a high school dance and dinner on March 13, including subsequent spread into their household members.
Of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than 66 percent have been under 65 years of age. Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
New cases are being reported as a daily aggregate, with more detailed summary reports updated Tuesday and Friday evenings are available here.
Modeling indicates if there are major changes to personal behaviors, such as not masking or social distancing, that we could see a substantial surge. You can find additional information on risk-level monitoring data here.
“Almost 37 percent of eligible Dallas County residents have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and almost 21 percent are fully vaccinated according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services,” said Jenkins. “While I’m glad these numbers are increasing with each passing day, we still have a large number of our residents who are either unvaccinated or are not yet fully vaccinated. It’s important that we continue to wear our masks, keep our distance, wash our hands, avoid crowds, register for the vaccine and get vaccinated as soon as we can. If you haven’t received your vaccine, please register at www.DallasCounty.org.”
Also in the news, Sen. Cornyn and Dallas Rep. Johnson cross party lines to pass an energy grid built for an unpredictable Texas climate.
That’s right, the Texas February freeze inspired bipartisanship.
Republican Cornyn and Democrat Johnson teamed up on a bill to weatherize the Texas energy grid. The bill would forge a grant program so Texas energy providers can boost their existing electric infrastructure, in order to protect Texans against future dangerous weather.
The two Texan officials announced the Power On Act, which would set up a grant program in the Department of Energy so states weatherize their grids. Their legislation would authorize $500 million for power providers, suppliers and distributors. The millions will not fund new construction but reinforce our current electric infrastructure.
“There’s no red team, and no blue team, there’s only team Texas,” Cornyn said. “And when things happen like this 120-year weather event we’re here to talk about, we look for answers and how to fix the problems and things that need to be done.”