Dallas County on Wednesday reported 947 more coronavirus cases, all of them considered new, and 17 new COVID-19 deaths — the most deaths reported by the county on a single day in more than a month. Meanwhile, Tarrant County became the first North Texas county to report more than 2,000 new cases in a single day.
Twelve of the latest Dallas County victims lived in Dallas: a woman in her 30s, a man in his 40s, two women in their 50s, four men and one woman in their 60s, a man and woman in their 70s and a man in his 80s. The woman in her 30s was a new mother who had been critically ill in a hospital after giving birth.
All of them except for the woman and one of the men in their 60s had underlying high-risk health problems.
The remaining victims were a Farmers Branch man in his 60s, a Garland man in his 50s, a Lancaster woman in her 70s, a Mesquite woman in her 50s and a Richardson woman in her 80s. All had underlying health conditions.
For the second straight day County Judge Clay Jenkins said the county had received “lower than expected numbers” from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
A DSHS spokesman told The Dallas Morning News that the state was unable to import data from its electronic laboratory reporting system on Sunday. Though the issue had been addressed by Monday morning, county health departments have received delayed information as a result over the following days.
Jenkins said it’s been encouraging to see more North Texans limiting their contacts with people outside of their homes, and he’s optimistic that county residents will stop the recent spike.
“We did it during the ‘Safer at Home’ order in March and April. We did it again in July as wearing masks became a part of our daily routine and we can do it again now to keep our families, our communities, and our economy secure until the vaccine is readily available,” Jenkins said in a written statement.
Of the new cases reported Wednesday, 786 are confirmed and 161 are probable. The newly reported cases bring the county’s total confirmed cases to 111,960 and probable cases to 10,347. The county has recorded 1,162 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 22 probable deaths.
The county recently announced it is counting only positive antigen tests (sometimes called rapid tests) as probable cases; a few antibody and “household” results were included previously.
While other North Texas counties provide estimates for how many people have recovered from the virus, Dallas County officials do not report recoveries, noting that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not use that metric.
Health officials use hospitalizations, intensive-care admissions and emergency room visits as key metrics to track the real-time impact of COVID-19 in the county. In the 24-hour period that ended Tuesday, 660 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county. During the same period, 545 ER visits were for symptoms of the disease.
The county’s provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases for the latest reporting period, Nov. 1-7, rose to 1,078. The figure is calculated by the date of the COVID-19 test collection, according to the county.
The county reported that during the same week, 919 school-age children tested positive for COVID-19, an increase of more than 200 from the previous week. During that week, 10 Dallas County K-12 schools closed temporarily due to coronavirus outbreaks.
Dallas County doesn’t provide a positivity rate for all COVID-19 tests conducted in the area; county health officials have said they don’t have an accurate count of how many tests are conducted each day. But as of the county’s most recent reporting period, 15.3% of people who showed up at hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms tested positive for the virus. That’s an increase from the previous reporting period, when 15% of such patients tested positive.
Jenkins pointed out last week that because the county bases its report on the CDC schedule, the seven-day average, total cases among school-aged children and positive respiratory specimen rate all lag by at least seven days.
Across the state, 8,489 more cases and 187 COVID-19 deaths were reported Wednesday. Texas has now reported 1,048,383 confirmed cases and 19,883 fatalities.
There are 7,958 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, including 2,295 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The seven-day average positivity rate statewide, based on the date of test specimen collection, was 11.5% as of Tuesday. State health officials said using data based on when people were tested provides the most accurate positivity rate.
The state also provides a positivity rate based on when lab results were reported to the state; that rate stood at 12.7% as of Tuesday.
Officials previously calculated Texas’ coronavirus positivity rate by dividing the most recent seven days of new positive test results by the most recent seven days of total new test results. By that measure, the positivity rate is now 9.7%, according to the state dashboard.
A spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services said that positivity rate data based on lab results and new cases will likely be phased out but is still being provided for transparency and continuity purposes.
Tarrant County reported a record 2,112 coronavirus cases and nine new deaths Wednesday.
The county’s previous single-day high was 1,525 cases on Nov. 9.
The latest deaths include five Fort Worth residents — a man in his 50s, a man and woman in their 60s, and a man and woman in their 70s. The other victims were two Arlington men, in their 50s and 60s, a Burleson man in his 70s and a Haltom City man in his 80s.
All but the younger Arlington man had underlying health problems, a county spokesman said.
Among this week’s new cases are Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and her husband, Tom. The mayor, who announced the positive tests Wednesday, said they both have mild symptoms.
“As we head into the holiday season, we continue to ask everyone to remain vigilant and prioritize the health and safety of our community by wearing a mask and social distancing,” Price said. “We appreciate everyone’s prayers for a speedy recovery.”
The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 85,759, including 76,140 confirmed cases, 9,619 probable cases and 63,223 recoveries. The death toll stands at 811.
According to Wednesday’s numbers on the county dashboard, 794 people are hospitalized with the virus.
Twenty children are being treated for COVID-19 at Cook Children’s hospital in Fort Worth. It’s the hospital’s highest number of coronavirus patients since the start of the pandemic, said Suzanne Whitworth, medical director of infectious diseases.
Whitworth told reporters on Wednesday that the hospital’s COVID-19 floor unit is nearly at capacity. But she said there is ample space should the hospital need to add more COVID-19 beds.
“We do think that the number of children that will require hospitalization over the next few weeks or months will very likely go up,” she said.
Whitworth said the children are exhibiting a wide range of symptoms. Some are “not very ill,” while others have developed COVID-19 pneumonia. In addition, she said some patients have been diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a serious condition associated with COVID-19.
“We have seen perfectly healthy children come into the hospital who have COVID-19, who wind up on a ventilator and life support,” Whitworth said. “It’s not a high number, but you can’t say that children are not at risk.”
The state added 294 coronavirus cases to Collin County’s total Wednesday, bringing the tally to 21,983. Three new COVID-19 fatalities also were reported, bringing the county’s death toll to 225.
No details about the latest victims were available.
The state did not update Collin County’s data on Tuesday, so it’s unclear whether the new cases were the total for both days or from a single day.
According to state data, the county has 2,096 active cases of the virus and has recorded 19,887 recoveries.
The county’s coronavirus dashboard provides only total hospitalizations, currently at 313 — a decrease of nine since hitting a record high of 322 one day earlier.
Denton County reported 252 coronavirus cases — of which 154 are active — and no new deaths Wednesday.
The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 20,403, including 4,057 that are active and 16,200 that are recoveries. The death toll stands at 146.
The newly reported cases raised the county’s total molecular cases to 17,553, while antigen cases stand at 2,850.
There are 122 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, an all-time high according to the county’s data. Over the last week, COVID-19 patients have accounted for 18.8% of the county’s total inpatient hospitalizations — a record.
The county had 18 adult intensive-care beds remaining Wednesday. However, 203 additional inpatient beds were available, county data shows. A spokeswoman said last week that those beds could be used to serve COVID patients.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has taken over reporting for these other North Texas counties. In some counties, new data may not be reported every day.
The latest numbers are:
- Rockwall County: 2,464 cases, 35 deaths
- Kaufman County: 4,163 cases, 72 deaths
- Ellis County: 5,831 cases, 103 deaths
- Johnson County: 4,584 cases, 81 deaths
Staff writer Allie Morris contributed to this report.