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COVID-19 In DFW Dec. 22-Jan. 2: Local First Responders Start Getting Vaccinated

Woman administering vaccine to man in Dallas Fire & Rescue t-shirt. Both are seated around a desk.
Courtesy of Dallas Fire & Rescue
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Jurisdictions across North Texas started offering COVID-19 inoculations to police, fire fighters and EMS workers this week.

For the latest on the pandemic in North Texas, visit KERA News' COVID-19 Live Updates page.

Saturday, Jan. 2

Dallas County: 23 Deaths And 2,842 Positive Cases Reported

Dallas County Health and Human Services is reporting 2,842 positive cases — 2,312 confirmed cases and 530 probable cases.

Twenty-three deaths are also reported. They are:

  • A Dallas woman in her 30s who had been critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 40s who died in an area hospital ED and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 40s who was found deceased at home and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 40s. He died in a park.
  • A Duncanville man in his 40s who was found dead at home and had underlying high risk health conditions
  • A Dallas man in his 50s who was critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Sunnyvale man in his 50s who was found dead at home and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 50s who was found dead at home and had underlying high risk health conditions
  • A Dallas man in his 50s who was found dead at home and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas woman in her 60s who was found dead at home and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Duncanville woman in her 60s who had been hospitalized and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Seagoville man in his 60s who had been critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 60s who was found dead at home and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A DeSoto man in his 60s who was critically ill at an area hospital and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Mesquite woman in her 60s who was found dead at home and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 60s who was found dead at home.
  • A Dallas woman in her 60s who was critically ill at an area hospital and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 70s who died in an area hospital ED.
  • A Dallas man in his 70s who was found dead at home.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in Irving. She died in the facility and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • An Irving man in his 70s who was found dead at home and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 80s who was in an area hospital and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 90s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in Mesquite. She died in the facility and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.

Tarrant County Counts A Record 3,361 New Cases, 18 Deaths

Tarrant County Public Health is reporting 3,361 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 153,365. Eighteen deaths were also reported.

The deceased include a Fort Worth woman in her 90s, a North Richland Hills man in his 80s, an Arlington man in his 80s, a Mansfield man in his 80s, a Grand Prairie man in his 80s, a North Richland Hills woman in her 70s, a Sansom Park man in his 70s, a Mansfield woman in her 70s, a Fort Worth man in his 70s, an Arlington man in his 70s, a Haltom City man in his 70s, an Azle man in his 70s, a man and woman from Arlington in their 60s, a man and woman from Arlington in their 50s, a Fort Worth man in his 40s, and a Fort Worth man in his 30s. All but one had underlying health conditions.

Denton County Reports 4 Deaths, 610 New Cases

Denton County Public Health announced 610 new cases and four deaths, bringing the countywide total to 218 deaths.

Those deaths include:
• A woman over 80 who was a resident of Cedar Crest in Lewisville
• A Lewisville woman in her 60s
• A Frisco man in his 70s
• A Lewisville man over 80 who was a resident of Lewisville Estates

Thursday, Dec. 31

Tarrant County Reports Record-Breaking 3,116 New Cases

The area reported a record 3,116 daily cases, bringing the total number of cases to 150,004. There are a total of 1,494 deaths reported in the area and 108,969 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.

Dallas County Reports 17 Deaths

There are 1,774 additional cases in the area, bringing the total to 172,165. Of the cases reported, 1,418 are confirmed and 356 are probable cases. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins urged residents to limit New Year’s celebrations.

“Please remember doctors’ advice that it is best to celebrate only with the people that you live with and to avoid crowds. It won’t always be like this, and in fact, I believe next New Year’s will be one of large celebrations. But for now, with the lack of space in our hospitals and the unprecedented high spread of COVID, we ask everyone to make those small sacrifices in the spirit of patriotism to keep our community and our country stronger until the vaccine is available for everyone who wants it and sufficient time has passed for the vaccine to be effective in protecting against the virus.”

Seventeen deaths were reported today:

  • A Cedar Hill man in his 40s.
  • Two Dallas men in their 50s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 50s.
  • A Rowlett man in his 50s.
  • A Dallas man in his 60s.
  • An Irving woman in her 60s.
  • Two Dallas men in their 60s.
  • A Garland man in his 60s.
  • A Dallas man in his 60s.
  • A Grand Prairie woman in her 60s.
  • A Dallas man in his 70s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 70s.
  • A Carrollton woman in her 70s.
  • An Irving man in his 70s.
  • A Dallas man in his 80s.

5 Deaths Reported In Denton County

Five additional deaths were reported today, bringing the total deaths to 214: a Denton woman over 80, a Denton man in his 60s, a Cross Roads man in his 70s, a Lewisville man in his 70s and a Frisco woman in her 70s.

There are 498 new cases in the area, raising the total to 39,182.

495 New Cases In Collin County

Another 495 cases increases the total to 43,368. There have been 370 deaths reported in the area.

Tarrant Faces Rising Hospitalizations And Dwindling ICU Beds, County Public Health Director Says

Tarrant County on Wednesday reported more than 1,600 additional COVID-19 cases and 20 more deaths. And health officials say the county has seen record hospitalizations this week.

More people are heading to emergency rooms across Tarrant County to seek care for COVID-19.

County Public Health director Vinny Taneja told county commissioners this week that ICU beds are dwindling.

“One in five COVID patients end up in the ICU, so that number is trending to almost 20 percent,” he said. “People in the ICU tend to have poor health outcomes; we usually see a lot of deaths occurring.”

“We've got six ICU beds remaining,” he added. “That's very low.”

Taneja says every age range is getting hit with spikes in COVID cases, but Tarrant County has seen a sharp rise in cases among children under 15 years old, compared to data earlier in the year.

Close to 12% of cases are coming from children under 15, he said.

Taneja says last week the county tested a record number of residents for the virus and an average of about 20% of tests come back positive.

With the virus continuing to spread, Taneja says residents across North Texas should take precautions, like wearing masks, social distancing and staying home as much as possible.

North Texas Entertainment Industry To Receive COVID-19 Relief Funding

North Texas entertainment promoters are breathing a sigh of relief now that Congress has passed the latest COVID-19 relief package.

It includes $15 billion to live entertainment venues crippled by the pandemic.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price says the "Save Our Stages Act" will help keep the city's entertainment industry afloat.

"This isn't just about the concerts and the live music,” she said. “This is about our artists and the business owners and the servers and the vendors and the jobs that it brings and the people that can go back to work now that there is money out there infused."

Texas venues were among the first to close because of the pandemic.

The Small Business Administration will decide how to divvy out the funds nationwide. Grants could provide independent venue operators with up to 45% of their gross revenue from 2019.

FAA Halts Flights To And From DFW, Love Field Airports After Employee Tests Positive For COVID-19

The Federal Aviation Administration stopped all flights in and out of DFW International Airport and Love Field for a couple of hours yesterday.

DFW Airport says it was due to a thorough cleaning of an offsite FAA facility that controls airport airspace.

The move came after the FAA said an employee tested positive for COVID-19 after last working on Christmas day.

Some flights were delayed and canceled. Others had to circle the area or divert to other airports due to the closure.

Wednesday, Dec. 30

Dallas County Reports 15 Deaths And 2,292 New Cases

There are now a total of 1,611 deaths in the county. The deaths reported include:

  • A man in his 20s from Dallas.
  • A woman in her 40s from Irving.
  • Three women in their 50s from Dallas.
  • A man in his 50s from Mesquite.
  • A man in his 60s from Mesquite.
  • A man in his 60s from Garland.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in Mesquite.
  • A woman in her 70s from Mesquite.
  • A woman in her 70s from Dallas.
  • A woman in her 70s from Cedar Hill.
  • A man in his 70s from Dallas.
  • A woman in her 90s from Dallas.
  • A man in his 90s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in Dallas.

The provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases for the week ending Dec. 19 is 1,787, which is a rate of 67.8 daily new cases per 100,000 residents. According to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, this is one of the highest averages for daily cases since the pandemic started.

Tarrant County Reports 20 Deaths

The deaths include a woman from North Richland Hills that over 100, a man and two women from Fort Worth in their 90s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 80s, a man from Hurst in his 80s, two men from Arlington in their 80s, a woman from Azle in her 80s, four women and a man from Fort Worth in their 70s, a man from Benbrook in his 70s, a woman from Arlington in her 70s, a woman from Sansom Park in her 70s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 60s, and a man and woman from Fort Worth in their 30s.

Tarrant County now has 1,468 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus and 107,676 people have recovered.

Denton County Reports Three Deaths

There are now 209 deaths county wide. The deaths include:

  • A man over 80 who was a resident of Carrollton
  • A man over 80 who was a resident of Rambling Oaks Courtyard in Highland Village
  • A man in his 70s who was a resident of Brinker Denton SCC in Denton

“We ask for your continued vigilance on mask wearing, social distancing, and handwashing as today, we are also reporting the highest number of community members hospitalized for COVID-19 in Denton County,” Denton County Judge Andy Eads said.

Denton County also announced 591 new cases of COVID-19, of which 527 are active cases. There were also 309 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 25,693.

Fort Worth Museum Suspending Public Hours

The museum, which had previously been open only on the weekends, announced it would be suspending its open hours and moving toward developing hybrid programming. The museum will also hold a celebration event over Facebook Live from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday.

For more information on 2021 programming at the museum, visit fwmuseum.org.

City Of Dallas First Responders Are Getting Moderna Vaccines

The City of Dallas has started COVID-19 vaccinations for first responders.

2,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccines from the Texas Department of State Health Services are being administered to members of Dallas Fire Rescue, Dallas Police Department and Dallas City Marshals.

Officials expect 250 first responders to be vaccinated per day, through a drive-thru vaccination center at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. The city expects additional vaccines in the coming months to inoculate any remaining first responders.

Tuesday, Dec. 29

Vaccines Must Be Given As Quickly As Possible, Says State Health Commissioner

Texas’ top health official said Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccine providers that have received doses must give them out as quickly as possible and not hold any in reserve. Texas is dealing with record-breaking numbers of virus patients in hospitals and new cases.

State Health Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt said providers need to move quickly to vaccinate healthcare workers, people over 65 and other with medical conditions that put them at greater risk of death. He said no vaccine doses should be kept in reserve. Agency officials say doses remain limited but that more are coming.

Texas Bowl Cancelled

The Texas Bowl has been canceled because of an increase of positive COVID-19 tests within TCU’s program, becoming the 19th bowl canceled this season.

The Horned Frogs were supposed to play Arkansas on New Year’s Eve in Houston.

TCU Athletic Director Jeremiah Donati says a combination of COVID-19-related issues, injuries and other circumstances in the past 24 hours pushed the team below the established Big 12 Conference threshold for student-athlete availability that’s been in effect all season. He said that’s too much to overcome on such short notice.

It was the third game canceled since the bowl lineup was set earlier this month, with all of those involving SEC teams. The Gasparilla Bowl matching South Carolina against UAB was previously canceled, as was Missouri-Iowa in the Music City Bowl. Tennessee had to pull out of the Liberty Bowl, but Army replaced the Volunteers to face West Virginia.

Dallas County Reports 1,129 Cases And 16 Deaths

The county now has a total of 168,782 cases and 1,596 deaths. The deaths reported include:

  • A 18-year-old man from Garland.
  • A man in his 30s from Dallas.
  • Two men in their 40s from Dallas.
  • A woman in her 50s from Mesquite.
  • A woman in her 50s from Dallas.
  • A man in his 60s from Dallas.
  • A woman in her 60s from Garland.
  • A man in his 60s from Carrollton.
  • Two men in their 70s from Dallas.
  • A man in his 70s from Richardson.
  • A man in his 70s from Hutchins.
  • A woman in her 70s from Dallas.
  • A man in his 80s from Dallas.
  • A woman in her 80s from Dallas.

According to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, one in four persons currently hospitalized in Dallas County has COVID and approximately 30 percent of those hospitalized in the region have COVID.

Tarrant County Reports 23 Deaths And 1,278 New Cases

The deaths included a man from Keller who was over 100, a woman from Bedford in her 90s, a man from Hurst in his 90s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 90s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 80s, two men from Bedford in their 80s, two women from Mansfield in their 80s, two men from Fort Worth in their 80s, a man from Grapevine in his 80s, a woman from Bedford in her 70s, a man from Crowley in his 70s, two men from Benbrook in their 70s, a man from Fort Worth in his 70s, a woman from Hurst in her 70s, a man from Fort Worth in his 60s, a woman from Euless in her 60s, a man from Crowley in his 50s, a man from Mansfield in his 50s, and a man from Fort Worth in his 30s.

Tarrant County now has 1,448 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus and 106,644 people have recovered.

Denton County Reports Eight Deaths And 835 New Cases

The eight deaths bring the countywide total to 206 deaths. The deaths include:

  • A male in his 40s who was a resident of Carrollton
  • A male in his 70s who was a resident of unincorporated northwest Denton County
  • A male in his 50s who was a resident of unincorporated southeast Denton County
  • A male over 80 who was a resident of Cedar Crest Senior Living in Lewisville
  • A female over 80 who was a resident of Cedar Crest Senior Living in Lewisville
  • A female in her 70s who was a resident of The Colony
  • A female over 80 who was a resident of Lewisville
  • A female in her 60s who was a resident of unincorporated northeast Denton County

Denton County also announced 835 new cases, of which 747 are active cases. There were 358 newly recovered cases, increasing the countywide recovery total to 25,386.

Southwest Avoids Furloughs

Southwest Airlines says it's not going to furlough workers in 2021 after all.

The Dallas-based airline's CEO says that with Washington's approval of $15 billion in new federal aid to airlines, furloughs or pay cuts aren't needed.

American and United Airlines, which together furloughed 32,000 employees in October, said yesterday they will bring those workers back temporarily.

This is the second round of federal aid for the nation's airlines. Back in March they got $25 billion to cover payrolls for six months and up to another $25 billion in low-interest loans.

Texas Congressman Was One Of Those Who Opposed $2,000 Stimulus Checks

A Congressman from southeast Texas is among the Republicans who opposed a bill increasing stimulus checks to $2,000 that the U.S. House passed yesterday.

Ahead of the vote, U.S. Representative Kevin Brady of The Woodlands said the checks will do little to help the economy. He said instead, people will use the funds to pay down credit card debt.

"Or savings, or even make new purchases online at Walmart, Best Buy or Amazon," he said.

Brady was one of the 130 House Republicans who voted against the bill.

State Is Waiting For Unemployment Benefit Guidance

Texas is awaiting guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on how to implement unemployment provisions in the COVID-19 relief package President Trump signed this week. The bill includes a 300-dollar boost to jobless benefits each week.

"That's 300 dollars in addition to whatever people are getting under the state benefits that they're eligible for," said James Bernsen with the Texas Workforce Commission.

He says the Labor Department needs to tell the agency when the benefits should take effect. More than 4-million Texans have filed for unemployment since mid-March.

35% Of Texans Wouldn't Get A Vaccine, According To Survey

A recent survey finds that 35 percent of Texans say they're unlikely to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The statewide survey by the Episcopal Health Foundation also finds that less than half of Texans say they are very likely to get the shot.

Elena Marks is president and CEO of the foundation. She told public radio's Texas Standard that the survey shows that many groups of people are hesitant for various reasons:

"Misinformation is part of the problem, but there are also problems relating to particular groups that don't really have to do with misinformation, so much as it is to prior experiences in the healthcare delivery system, or in the case of immigrant populations, perhaps it has to do with coming into contact with immigration officials," Marks said.

Marks said that of survey respondents who identified as Democrats, 52% said they are very likely to get the vaccine — that's compared to 30% of Republicans.

Monday, Dec. 28

Dallas County Reports 15 Deaths; Officials Urge Caution Leading Up To New Year's Day

The county reports 1,243 new cases. The 15 deaths bring the countywide total to 1,580. The deaths include:

  • A man in his 40s from Garland.
  • A woman in her 50s from Dallas.
  • A man in his 50s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in Garland.
  • A woman in her 60s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in Dallas.
  • A man in his 60s from Lancaster.
  • A woman in her 60s from Farmers Branch.
  • A man in his 60s from Dallas.
  • Two women in their 70s from Dallas.
  • A man in his 70s from Irving.
  • A man in his 70s from Mesquite.
  • A woman in her 70s from Mesquite.
  • A man in his 70s from Rowlett.
  • A man in his 80s from Dallas.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in DeSoto.

"We began the day with 27 available adult ICU rooms in all of Dallas County hospitals," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. "UT Southwestern projects that our hospital numbers will be somewhere between our current level and up to 1,500 COVID cases in the hospitals on January 5. If we get to the highest end of this number, we will run through ICU beds and be forced to have less than optimum care."

With ICUs starting to fill, Jenkins also encouraged residents to stay home and reconsider plans to celebrate the New Year with large groups.

"Please take personal responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19 by following public health guidance and avoiding indoor New Year’s Eve celebrations such as at bars, clubs or restaurants," Jenkins said. "These are particularly high-risk settings. The safest way to celebrate is at home with your household. You may not feel your personal risk from COVID-19 is high, but given the high possibility of exposure in a bar or party setting, including house parties with people you don’t live with, you pose a risk to those around you if you can’t properly quarantine following potential exposure. Your actions could have potentially fatal implications if you contribute to the spread of COVID."

Denton County Reports 11 Deaths, The Highest Single-Day Total So Far

The county now has a total of 198 deaths. The deaths include:

  • A woman over 80 from Corinth
  • Two men in their 70s from Lewisville
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of Denton Golden Meadows Care in Denton
  • A woman over 80 who was a resident of Good Samaritan Society – Lake Forest Village in Denton
  • A man in his 50s from Flower Mound
  • A man over 80 who was a resident of unincorporated Denton County
  • A woman over 80 who was a resident of unincorporated Denton County
  • Two men in their 60s from Denton
  • A man over 80 from Denton
  • A woman over 80 from Denton

“In addition, we saw the highest COVID-19 inpatient hospital census on Sunday with 202 patients, bringing our seven day moving average to 30 percent," Denton County Judge Andy Eads said.

Denton County Public Health also announced 454 new cases of COVID-19, of which 357 are active cases. DCPH also reported 474 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 25,033.

Tarrant County Reports 18 Deaths

The deaths included two women from Richland Hills in their 90s, a man from Westworth Village in his 90s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 80s, a man from Hurst in his 80s, a man from Bedford in his 80s, a woman from Richland Hills in her 80s, a woman from Arlington in her 80s, a man from Haltom City in his 80s, a woman from Richland Hills in her 70s, a man and woman from Fort Worth in their 70s, a man from Bedford in his 70s, a woman from Richland Hills in his 70s, a man from Arlington in his 70s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 60s, a man from Arlington in his 50s and woman from Fort Worth in her 50s.

Tarrant County now has 1,425 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus and 105,531 people have recovered.

Nearly 380,000 Vaccines Sent To Providers In The Third Week Of Distribution

The Texas Department of State Health Services is instructing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ship COVID-19 vaccine to more than 350 providers in 94 Texas counties over the next week. The CDC will deliver 175,100 doses of the vaccine manufactured by Moderna and 81,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine directly to Texas providers.

An additional 121,875 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will go to the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. Vaccinations under the program started in Texas on Monday and, according to the CDC, will serve staff and residents at more than 300 long-term-care facilities in the first week.

Texas has been allocated about 1.2 million doses through the first three weeks of vaccine distribution, and vaccine will have reached providers in a total of 199 counties by the end of the week. DSHS has posted avaccine provider location map that will be updated weekly after allocated doses have shipped to providers. A list of providers that will be receiving vaccine this week is available at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/news/updates/COVIDVaccineAllocation-Week3.pdf.

DSHS encourages providers to rapidly vaccinate priority populations against COVID-19 and promptly report doses administered in ImmTrac2, the state’s immunization registry. Additional allocations of vaccine will be received each week.

EMS Providers And Home Health Care Workers Get Vaccines In Denton County

Denton County Public Health (DCPH) began vaccinating emergency medical service (EMS) providers and home health care workers as part of the 1A vaccine distribution group as designated by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Eligible pre-registered staff from local fire departments and home health agencies received their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during DCPH’s first drive-thru vaccine clinic, held at University of North Texas’ Discovery Park facility on Monday.

“We are excited about the vaccine’s arrival in Denton County as we continue to work on the first tier of vaccinations for our health care workers,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “We are following state guidelines to ensure vaccines received by the county go to fill in the gaps for those on the front lines, as well as our most vulnerable populations at long-term care facilities. We will continue to follow those guidelines as we receive additional vaccines and look forward to the day when every Denton County community member can easily find a vaccine provider for themselves.”

As additional vaccine becomes available, DCPH will coordinate with EMS and home health agencies, as well as other phase 1A organizations, to pre-register and schedule health care workers for vaccination. Community members who are healthcare workers are encouraged to contact their employer for vaccination distribution. All others are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider or pharmacy to determine if they are enrolled to give the vaccine.

Nursing Home Facilities Are Starting To Receive Vaccines

Nursing home facilities across Texas started getting the COVID-19 vaccine Monday. HMG Healthcare runs more than two dozen nursing homes and rehabilitation centers in Texas and Oklahoma. The company’s government relations director, Leticia Caballero, said all of her clients fit the high-risk COVID category. So this vaccine’s a big deal.

"We had several deaths since March," Caballero said. "It’s very scary, you’ve got a lot of immune compromised individuals. We’ve been waiting for this vaccine, We’re excited about it, I keep dreaming about it, because it was so great to hear about even though it was finally approved and available and now it’s actually getting administered into arms today."

Caballero says the first HMG facilities getting shots today are in Houston because they have pharmacies attached. She says North Texas centers, like Northgate Plaza in Irving, are scheduled to get the vaccine later this week.

People Over 65 And Those With Certain Medical Conditions Can Now Get Vaccines

The Department of State Health Services says local health care providers may now begin COVID-19 vaccinations for people who are at least 65 years old or have certain medical conditions.

That's as soon as they've offered their first vaccine allotments to frontline hospital workers and long term care residents.

Teachers are not included in the state's next vaccine distribution phase that started early last week.

In response, the Texas State Teachers Association says school districts should have the option of conducting remote-only classes until every educator who wants a vaccine can get one.

"We are calling on them to allow local school districts to close their school buildings if the local school officials and the local health authorities believe that is in the best interest of student and educator safety," said TSTA spokesperson Clay Robison.

Roughly 1 million people in Texas are expected to get their first COVID-19 vaccine shot by the end of the month.

Outgoing Speaker Of The Texas House Of Representatives Tests Positive For COVID-19

Dennis Bonnen, the outgoing speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, said he has tested positive for COVID-19 after his wife became sick last week.

The 48-year-old Republican says his symptoms have so far been mild and that his family is quarantined.

Bonnen wrote on Facebook yesterday that he was diagnosed with the disease over the weekend.

The speaker announced his illness as coronavirus hospitalizations in the state hovered just below their summer peak. There are more than 1.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas.

It's OK To Donate Blood If You've Gotten The COVID-19 Vaccine

Potential blood donors who have received the coronavirus vaccine can still donate blood safely and immediately.

Chief Medical Officer at BioBridge Global, Dr. Rachel Beddard, says the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not made from the virus that causes COVID-19. They are mRNA vaccines.

Dr. Beddard said mRNA vaccines teach cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response.

Blood donation guidelines normally defer donations if individuals have been recently vaccinated. That deferral period does not apply to mRNA vaccines.

Sunday, Dec. 27

Dallas County Reports 6,144 New Cases Over Holiday Weekend

The county reported 6,144 new cases from Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 24-26. Of the cases reported, there are 5,480 confirmed and 664 probable cases. There are a total of 166,758 cases.

Eleven deaths were reported:

  • A Grand Prairie man in his 40s.
  • A Dallas man in his 40s.
  • Two Dallas men in their 50s.
  • A Lancaster woman in her 60s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 60s.
  • An Irving woman in her 80s.
  • Three Dallas women in their 80s.
  • A Dallas man in his 80s.

There are currently 100 patients at long-term care facilities who have contracted the virus.

Tarrant County Reports 2,217 New Cases

Another 2,217 cases have been reported in the area, raising the total to 138,010. The county reported 18 deaths: a man and two women from Fort Worth in their 90s, two Fort Worth men in their 80s, two Arlington women in their 80s, an Arlington man, two Fort Worth women in their 70s, a Fort Worth woman and two men in their 60s, an Arlington man in his 60s, an Arlington man in his 50s, an Arlington man in his 40s, a Fort Worth woman in her 40s, and a woman from unincorporated Tarrant County in her 40s.

476 New Cases In Collin County

There are 476 additional cases in the area, bringing the total to 41,137. In the area, 36,903 people have recovered from the virus.

Read More: A Timeline Of COVID-19's Spread In North Texas

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