Updated 7:45 p.m.: Revised to include information on area hospital capacity.
Dallas County on Tuesday reported 1,129 more coronavirus cases, all of them considered new. Sixteen new COVID-19 deaths also were announced.
Meanwhile, the state reported that a record 11,775 Texans were hospitalized with the virus Tuesday.
The latest Dallas County victims included nine Dallas residents: a man in his 30s, two men in their 40s, a man in his 60s, two men and a woman in their 70s, and a man and a woman in their 80s. All had been hospitalized, and all except the woman in her 80s had underlying health conditions.
A Dallas woman in her 50s died at home and had underlying health conditions.
Two Garland residents were among the dead: an 18-year-old man and a woman in her 60s who each had been hospitalized in critically ill condition. The man had underlying chronic medical conditions; the woman did not.
The remaining victims were a Mesquite woman in her 50s, a Carrollton man in his 60s, a Richardson man in his 70s and a Hutchins man in his 70s. All had been critically ill in the hospital and had underlying health conditions.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said COVID-19 hospitalizations are at a record high while the availability of ICU beds in the county is at a record low.
“Currently, 1 in 4 persons hospitalized in Dallas County has COVID and approximately 30% of those hospitalized in the region have COVID,” Jenkins said in a written statement. “With the UT Southwestern projections indicating that our numbers of COVID hospitalizations will rise dramatically by Jan. 5, it is imperative that all of us make the small, smart sacrifices to keep ourselves and our community as healthy as possible in this time of high spread.”
Of the new cases reported Tuesday, 882 are confirmed and 247 are probable. The newly reported cases bring the county’s total confirmed cases to 168,782 and probable cases to 20,470. The county has recorded 1,596 COVID-19 deaths.
The county has said 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 Monday, 1,018 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county — a record. During the same period, 557 ER visits were for symptoms of the disease.
As of Tuesday, only 31 adult intensive care beds were available in Dallas and Tarrant counties, according to data provided from the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council. In Dallas alone, there were over 300 beds available at the start of the pandemic.
In a tweet, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said that in the city’s 25 hospitals, 71% of beds — or 4,170 of 5,911 — are occupied as of Tuesday. He also said that 46% of the city’s ventilators — or about 479 of 1,035 — are in use.
Here are the bed and ventilator capacity statistics as reported by 25 hospitals in the @CityOfDallas:
Total beds: 5911
Beds occupied: 4170 (71%)
Total ICU beds: 936
ICU beds occupied: 738 (79%)
Total ventilators: 1035
Ventilators in use: 479 (46%)
— Mayor Eric Johnson (@Johnson4Dallas) December 29, 2020
On Monday, Jenkins warned that if UT Southwestern’s forecast for hospitalizations — up to 1,500 by Jan. 5 — proves accurate, ICU beds will be at capacity and some patients will receive “less than optimum” care.
The county reported that over the past 30 days, 5,971 COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in school-age children and staff members from 756 schools in Dallas County. Since March, 21 school nurses have tested positive for COVID-19.
There are 102 active COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, the highest number since the pandemic began, the county said. Of the county’s total COVID-19 deaths, about 22% are associated with long-term care facilities.
Also Tuesday, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department announced that Sheriff Marian Brown will be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine this week.
“I trust the health care system that provides for the people in our custody,” Brown said in a written statement. “It is my hope that as I track my journey of receiving the vaccine, it will encourage someone to take it as well.”
Across the state, 31,278 more cases and 241 COVID-19 deaths were reported Tuesday. Texas has now reported 1,715,978 total cases and 26,762 fatalities.
Of the new cases, 26,990 were confirmed — a record — and 4,288 were probable.
A note on the state dashboard said that some of the cases included in Tuesday’s totals were from previous days, since some counties did not report COVID-19 data over the holiday weekend.
The state has now reported 1,518,499 confirmed cases and 197,479 probable cases.
The state also added 1,030 older confirmed cases and 244 older probable cases that were recently reported by labs.
There are 11,775 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals — a new high — including 3,619 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
On Tuesday, 23.64% of patients in the hospital region covering the D-FW area were COVID-19 patients.
The seven-day average positivity rate statewide for molecular tests, based on the date of test specimen collection, was 17.154% as of Monday. State health officials said using data based on when people were tested provides the most accurate positivity rate.
For antigen tests, the positivity rate for the same period was 11.05%.
Elsewhere in Texas, U.S. Renal Care, which provides treatment for people with kidney disease, announced Tuesday that some Texas clinics would be receiving a monoclonal antibody therapy to treat COVID-19 patients.
The drug, known as Bamlanivimab, is manufactured by Eli Lilly and was obtained through the federal program Operation Warp Speed. Monoclonal antibody drugs use laboratory-made antibodies that mimic antibodies naturally produced in the body.
The FDA granted emergency use of Bamlanivimab on Nov. 9. The drug is used to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 cases in patients over age 12 who are not hospitalized.
Data recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the drug may reduce hospitalizations for high-risk patients with mild to moderate cases of the virus. According to the CDC, people with chronic kidney disease are among those at increased risk for serious illness if they get COVID-19.
“Having the ability to administer monoclonal antibody therapy to high-risk, COVID-19 positive patients in our clinics — where they already receive dialysis care three times a week — may reduce hospitalizations and save lives,” Dr. Mary Dittrich, chief medical officer of U.S. Renal Care, said in a written statement.
It wasn’t clear which clinics in Texas will receive the drug.
In addition to Texas, clinics in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland and New Mexico will also receive initial shipments of the drug.
Tarrant County reported 1,278 coronavirus cases and 23 new deaths Tuesday.
The latest deaths include seven Fort Worth residents: a woman in her 90s, a woman and two men in their 80s, a man in his 70s, a man in his 60s and a man in his 30s.
Four Bedford residents were among the victims: a woman in her 90s, two men in their 80s, and a woman in her 70s.
Three Mansfield residents also died: two women in their 80s and a man in his 50s. Two men from Crowley were also included, a man in his 70s and a man in his 50s. Two of the victims were from Hurst, a man in his 90s and a woman in her 70s.
The remaining five victims were a Keller man who was over 100, a Grapevine man in his 80s, two men from Benbrook in their 70s and a Euless woman in her 60s.
The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 145,279, including 127,256 confirmed cases, 18,023 probable cases and 106,644 recoveries. The death toll stands at 1,448.
According to Tuesday’s numbers on the county dashboard, 1,323 people are hospitalized with the virus.
The state added 1,179 coronavirus cases to Collin County’s total Tuesday, bringing the tally to 47,197. Six new COVID-19 fatalities also were reported, bringing the county’s death toll to 357.
No details about the latest victims were available.
Of the new cases, 897 were confirmed and 282 were probable. Collin County has recorded 42,393 confirmed cases and 4,804 probable cases.
According to state data, the county has 4,506 active cases of the virus and has recorded 37,887 recoveries.
The county’s coronavirus dashboard provides only total hospitalizations, now at 539.
Denton County reported 835 coronavirus cases — of which 747 are active — and eight new deaths Tuesday.
The latest deaths include a man and woman over 80 who lived at Cedar Crest Senior Living in Lewisville. Other victims were a Lewisville woman in her 80s, a woman from The Colony in her 70s, a man in his 70s from unincorporated northwest Denton County, a woman in her 60s from unincorporated northeast Denton County, a man in his 50s from unincorporated southeast Denton County and a Carrollton man in his 40s.
The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 38,094, including 12,502 that are active and 25,386 that are recoveries. They also raise total molecular cases to 31,269, while antigen cases stand at 6,825.
The death toll stands at 206.
There are 217 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, according to the county’s data.
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: 6,011 cases (5,005 confirmed and 1,006 probable), 50 deaths.
- Kaufman County: 8,985 cases (7,840 confirmed and 1,145 probable), 115 deaths.
- Ellis County: 12,665 cases (11,164 confirmed and 1,501 probable), 163 deaths.
- Johnson County: 10,665 cases (9,449 confirmed and 1,216 probable), 150 deaths.