COVID-19 In DFW Jan. 31-Feb. 6: Dallas County Reports The Most Deaths In A Single Week
Dallas County reported 228 deaths during the week. Also, another vaccine mega-clinic opened in Denton County.
For the latest on the pandemic in North Texas, visit KERA News' COVID-19 Live Updates page.
Saturday, Feb. 6
Dallas County Reports ‘Deadliest Week’ With 228 Deaths
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said this is the "deadliest week" so far with 228 deaths reported. This is the third week in a row that the number of weekly deaths has exceeded the previous week.
Ten deaths were reported today:
- A Dallas man in his 60s.
- A Dallas man in his 70s.
- A Dallas man in his 80s.
- A Dallas woman in her 80s.
- A Mesquite man in his 80s.
- Two Dallas men in their 80s.
- A Dallas woman in her 80s.
- A Dallas man in his 90s.
- A Lancaster woman in her 90s.
Another 1,024 cases were reported, 857 of which are confirmed. That brings the total to 234,210.
Roughly 37,200 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given out at the Fair Park mega-vaccine clinic, which opened on Jan. 11.
1,245 New Cases Reported In Tarrant County
There are 1,245 additional cases in the county, raising the total to 228,038. There have been 2,427 deaths and 185,676 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.
Denton County Announces 326 New Cases
An additional 326 cases increases the total to 56,629. The county also reported 414 newly-recovered cases, increasing the countywide recovery total to 41,246.
288 New Cases In Collin County
There are 288 new cases, bringing the total to 65,160. There have been 625 deaths and 61,039 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.
Friday, Feb. 5
Dallas County Reports 42 Deaths, 1,424 New Cases
The 42 deaths brings the total number of deaths reported this week to 218, the highest number of deaths for a week since the beginning of the pandemic. There have been a total of 2,397 deaths in Dallas County.
Friday's deaths included people who ranged in age from their 30s to their 90s. Nine of them were residents of long-term care facilities.
Tarrant County Reports 81 Deaths
The higher number of deaths comes as the county reconciles its data with the state. Four deaths of the deaths were from December, 76 were from January and one was from February. The county has had a total of 2,387 deaths.
Another 1,394 positive cases were reported Friday.
Denton County Reports 483 Cases
Of the 483 new cases, 448 are active cases. This increases the cumulative, countywide total to 56,303 COVID-19 cases. DCPH also reported 502 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 40,832.
New Analysis Shows COVID-19 Vulnerability Went Up Last Month
A new analysis from the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation shows a big increase in vulnerability to COVID-19 in some Dallas County neighborhoods.
The health care research firm looks at case numbers, mobility, and other data to calculate its “vulnerability index.” That index shows which areas are at increased risk for COVID-19 transmissions and need more immediate public health attention.
“The entire healthcare community in Dallas County is striving to equitably mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and the Vulnerability Index offers factual data to support that effort,” said Thomas Roderick, senior director of data and applied sciences at PCCI.
The zip codes 75211 (Cockrell Hill) and 75243 (Northeast Dallas) are the two areas of Dallas County with the highest vulnerability index number.
The increased risk seen in many zip codes reflects the recent holidays, but there are indications that was the crest of the wave.
“Because [the] path towards vaccinations is progressing each day at a more rapid rate, we feel that we’ve gone over the — hopefully, what’s been the worst,” said PCCI President and CEO Steve Miff.
It’s still unclear how new variants of the virus will affect case numbers. And researchers urge people to continue to wear masks and socially distance.
Dallas Fed Is Optimistic About Economic Growth Later This Year
Economic conditions in Texas showed signs of weakness last month, but experts are optimistic about growth later this year. Emily Kerr, senior business economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, co-wrote the latest Texas Economic Update.
"Roughly 60 percent of surveyed firms report their January revenues are still down from normal," Kerr said. "Overall, outlooks are positive, and stimulus payments, PPP, and the vaccination rollout are tailwinds for economic growth this year, with most firms expecting business to return to pre-COVID levels by year-end."
Kerr also said the state's housing market remains strong, with high levels of home sales and building permits.
Texas Sets Up Mobile Vaccination Teams
Texas this week sent out mobile teams to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to underserved, rural counties.
The team of Texas National Guard personnel will vaccinate residents of Motley, Glasscock, Kenedy, Terrell, and McMullen counties.
The governor and the Texas emergency management division announced the pilot program last week. State officials say the teams have vaccinated more than 550 people so far.
Thursday, Feb. 4
DART To Provide Transportation To Methodist Vaccine Event
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) announced it will provide transportation for the vaccination event at Methodist Hospital.
The two-day event will take place from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Around 3,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to individuals 65 years and older and individuals with pre-existing health conditions.
DART will provide seven buses to transport individuals with verified appointments from remote parking lots to the vaccine location and back to their cars.
Dallas County Reports 1,149 New Cases
Another 1,149 cases brings the total to 232,200. Of the cases reported today, 789 are confirmed. There have been a total of 2,355 deaths in the area — 35 of which were reported today.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said while progress is being made with vaccinations, residents need to do their part by taking the proper precautions, including telecommuting and shopping curbside:
“Here in North Texas, we continue to vaccinate tens of thousands of people a day but vaccine alone will not win the battle against COVID. We must use all the tools at our disposal. This includes wearing your mask, washing your hands, maintaining a safe distance, avoiding crowds, and forgoing get-togethers.”
19 Deaths Announced In Denton County
Nineteen deaths were reported in the county, bringing the total to 344 deaths. Those who died ranged in age from their 40s to 80.
There are also 458 new cases, of which 422 are active. This increases the total to 55,820.
Tarrant County Reports 1,663 Additional Cases
An additional 1,663 cases raises the total to 225,399. There have been 2,306 deaths and 180,329 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.
279 New Cases In Collin County
There are 279 new cases in the county, increasing the total to 64,433. The county has reported 608 total deaths due to the virus.
Texas Department Of State Health Services Urges Vaccine Providers To Prioritize Seniors
The Texas Department of State Health Services is asking COVID-19 vaccine providers to prioritize people 75 and older.
Currently, the state is only vaccinating certain groups, including frontline health care workers, people 65 and older and those 16 and older with certain medical conditions.
Associate Commissioner Imelda Garcia says DSHS is offering guidance to providers on how to reach older adults, who face an increased risk:
“Setting aside a specific number of doses for our seniors, serving them during certain hours, helping them move more quickly through the line with a fast track lane, or taking vaccines directly to them through the EMS providers or Meals on Wheels, like they’re doing successfully in Corpus Christi and San Antonio.”
State officials say, so far, about 1 million doses have been administered to people 65 and older. That’s approximately one in four Texans in that age group.
New Federal Program Will Bring Vaccines To Local Pharmacies
More than 2.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered throughout Texas. More than 600,000 Texans have been fully vaccinated, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Associate Commissioner Imelda Garcia says the state will get about 380,000 vaccine doses next week.
Garcia says Texas pharmacies will also get vaccine shipments through a new federal program — it will allocate an initial 1 million doses to pharmacies across the nation.
“And while we haven’t gotten the official word yet on how many doses will be coming to the four pharmacy chains in Texas, what’s good is that it will not deduct from our vaccine allocations that we’ve been getting,” she said.
State officials are currently recommending that providers focus on immunizing people 75 and older.
Amarillo To Open Businesses With Increased Capacity
Businesses in Amarillo can now increase their capacity for the first time in months after the COVID-19 hospitalization rate remained below 15% for seven consecutive days. But Mayor Ginger Nelson still urges caution.
"We need everyone to continue doing what they're doing that's affecting our numbers in such a positive way,” Nelson said.
Lubbock was also able to lift state-mandated capacity restrictions for the first time in over 100 days due to declining coronavirus hospitalizations.
Texas Democrats Call For Cancellation Of In-Person STAAR Test, Extension Of State Funding For Schools
Texas Democrats are calling on Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency to cancel the in-person STAAR Test. As Katya Bandouil reports, they also want Texas to extend a state program that ensures schools won’t lose funding based on attendance rates.
For much of the pandemic, Texas schools knew they’d continue getting state funding, even if attendance rates lowered. Now, the funding guarantee has expired though, and schools are anxious.
State Representative John Bucy of Austin said the Governor should extend it until the end of this school year.
“Our students, teachers, families, and school staff, deserve to know the state has their backs and will continue our commitment to provide all the resources they need to succeed in these uncertain times,” he said.
Bucy spoke during an education-focused press call Wednesday with members of the Texas House Democratic Caucus.
The group also urged Texas to cancel STAAR testing this spring — that’s after the TEA announced it would be held in-person.
Representative Bucy said House Democrats are committed to fully funding public schools when it comes time to create the state budget. On Monday, Gov. Abbott, a Republican, echoed that commitment during his State of the State address.
Wednesday, Feb. 3
Denton County Reports First Case Of U.K. Coronavirus Variant
The county announced on Wednesday its first known case of the U.K. COVID-19 variant.
The individual lives in unincorporated northeast Denton County and has no recent travel history. Denton County Public Health said epidemiologists are conducting a thorough investigation and are in contact with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
The U.K. variant is believed to be more easily transmissible, but does not appear to cause more severe symptoms than other COVID-19 variants. Research shows the vaccine is effective against the U.K. variant.
DCPH Director Matt Richardson urged the public to take precautions against the virus.
“The UK B.1.1.7 variant test result here in Denton County underscores what we already know: COVID-19 remains an ongoing pandemic and Denton County has continuing risk,” he said. “Masks and physical distancing are required as we quickly deploy vaccine every week.”
Dallas County Reports Deadliest Day With 50 New Deaths
The county reported 50 deaths today, a record number of deaths in a single day. The ages of those who died from the virus ranged from their 40s to 100s. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said “these will be our darkest months for deaths thus far.” He said he expects the pandemic will improve heading into March:
“As we have said, these will be our darkest months for deaths thus far. But, if we make good choices, if we register to be vaccinated in as many places as we’re willing to drive to if we qualify under 1B, and if we wear our mask, maintain our distance, avoid crowds including Super Bowl parties, and forgo get-togethers, we will have a better March and get better every month thereafter in our battle against COVID and these new strains.”
Another 1,356 new cases were also reported in the area, bringing the total to 231,411. Of the cases reported today, 1,016 are confirmed.
621 New Cases In Denton County
There are 621 additional cases in the county, raising the total to 55,363. Another 509 newly-recovered cases were reported, increasing the countywide recovery total to 39,816.
Tarrant County Reports 1,625 New Cases
Another 1,625 new cases brings the total to 223,736. There have been 2,291 deaths and 177,237 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.
670 Additional Cases In Collin County
There are 670 more cases, increasing the total to 64,154. In total, 599 deaths have been reported in the area.
Mega Vaccine Site At Texas Motor Speedway Opens Smoothly
Thousands of people showed up Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth to get COVID-19 vaccines and officials say the process went smoothly.
“We had made unbelievable progress,” Denton County Commissioner Ron Marchant said Tuesday morning as he addressed his colleagues. “I think that the state of Texas has recognized the efficiency of our employees in different departments as well as the coordination with other municipalities within our county.”
Officials say the Speedway site is the largest vaccination clinic in the state and one of the largest in the country.
More vaccines will be administered later this week. Appointments are required and people who sign up through the county will get appointment information.
Denton County expects to distribute about 31,000 doses this week.
Tarrant County Launches Online COVID-19 Dashboard
Tarrant County has launched a new online dashboard to track COVID-19 vaccinations.
The county's public health director Vinny Taneja said it will help officials monitor the equity of vaccine distribution. But he noted the data isn't complete.
The dashboard shows about 160,000 doses administered so far in the county.
"But I can guarantee you that there are more people in Tarrant County vaccinated than this," he said. "It's just that we don't have the data to show that. My best guess would be we're approaching 200,000 at this point."
The dashboard breaks down the demographics of Tarrant County residents who have received the vaccine.
Taneja says it shows a significant gap in vaccinations by race and ethnicity. Only about 5% of doses administered so far have gone to Black residents. About 6% have gone to Hispanic or Latino residents.
That's compared to about 47% of doses administered to white residents.
Oil Companies Exxon Mobil and BP Report Historical Losses In 2020
Crushed energy demand and falling oil prices hit oil giants Exxon Mobil and BP hard last year.
Irving-based Exxon Mobil yesterday reported the biggest loss in its history — nearly $22.5 billion for all of 2020. Most of that was writing down the value of the company's assets.
UK-based BP lost more than $18 billion last year.
Exxon Mobil and BP are cutting costs. They hope the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will mean a return to more normal life for businesses and consumers, which would in turn boost energy demand.
Tuesday, Feb. 2
Dallas County Reports 39 Deaths And 1,438 Cases
The 39 deaths give the county a cumulative total of 2,270. Tuesday's deaths included people who ranged in age from their 40s to their 90s. Ten of those cases involved people living in long-term care facilities.
Dallas County has administered a total of 31,393 doses so far at its Fair Park mega-clinic, and expects to have about 6,000 doses remaining for this week.
Tarrant County Reports 37 Deaths
The deaths include a woman from Benbrook who exceeded 90, a man and a woman from Fort Worth who exceeded 90, a woman from Westworth Village who exceeded 90, a man from Hurst who exceeded 90, a woman from Bedford who exceeded 90, three women and a man from Fort Worth in their 80s, a man from Keller in his 80s, a woman from Mansfield in her 80s, a woman from Southlake in her 80s, a woman from North Richland Hills in her 80s, a man from Hurst in his 80s, a man and a woman from Arlington in their 80s, a man from Euless in his 70s, a man from Benbrook in his 70s, five men from Fort Worth in their 70s, a man from Bedford in his 70s, a woman from Arlington in her 70s, a woman from Fort Worth in his 60s, a woman from Forest Hill in her 60s, a man from Arlington in his 60s, a man from Crowley in his 60s, two men from Arlington in their 50s, a woman and two men from Fort Worth in their 50s, and two women from Fort Worth in their 40s. Thirteen people had no underlying health conditions.
Tarrant County now has 2,277 confirmed deaths and 173,826 people have recovered.
Denton County Reports 589 New Cases
The 589 cases give the county a total of 54,742 cases. Denton County also reported 616 newly recovered cases, for a total of 39,307 in the county.
CVS Health To Offer Vaccines At 70 Pharmacies In Texas
Select CVS pharmacies in Texas will begin offering vaccines starting on Feb. 11, as part of a larger rollout across 11 states across the country.
In Texas, the vaccines will be offered based on the state's eligibility criteria. Participating pharmacies are located in communities throughout the state, including Abilene, Amarillo, Beaumont, Brownsville, El Paso, Houston, Laredo, Lubbock, Midland, Plano, San Antonio, and Waco. As more supply becomes available the company will expand to more locations and offer additional appointments.
Patients must register in advance at CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and people without online access can contact CVS customer service: (800) 746-7287. Walk-in vaccinations without an appointment will not be provided.
Mega Vaccine Site At Texas Motor Speedway Opens
A new COVID-19 mega vaccination site opened Tuesday at Texas Motor Speedway in Denton County.
The site will distribute 32,000 doses of the COVID vaccine over three days, using 16 drive-through lanes.
Appointments are required and being issued to qualifying people who've registered for the vaccine with Denton County.
Read more about the vaccine site from The Dallas Morning News.
UT Southwestern Launches Online Portal, Expands Vaccination Sites
The university is launching an online portal where residents can sign up for vaccinations and expanding its vaccination sites.
Vaccinations are by appointment only. Those who are not yet registered as a UT Southwestern (UTSW) patient can complete a short online questionnaire, so that UTSW can contact them about vaccinations.
Individuals will then be sent a MyChart activation code from email@example.com within three to four business days. Registered users can then search for available vaccination appointments.
UTSW will keep the registration portal open until 10,000 people sign up. Registration will open and close weekly to reflect the vaccine supply received from state and federal authorities.
Eligible individuals can be vaccinated by appointment at the following locations:
• UT Southwestern West Campus Building 3 (ninth floor), 2001 Inwood Road, Dallas, TX, 75390
• Market Hall, 2200 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX, 75207
•RedBird Mall, 3662 W. Camp Wisdom Road, Dallas, TX, 75237
As Gov. Abbott Touts Texas Economy, State Representative Calls On Lawmakers To Help Economic Recovery
Governor Greg Abbott is touting signs the Texas economy is on the mend after the pandemic plunged the state into a recession that left millions of people jobless.
During his State of the State address last night, the Republican said Texas continues to attract top companies and leads the country in job creation.
“In December alone, Texas added 64,000 new jobs,” Abbott said.
But State Representative Chris Turner, who chairs the Texas House Democratic Caucus, says lawmakers still need to help the economy recover.
"We've got to get people back to work, our unemployment is too high,” Turner said.
He spoke with KVUE in Austin after Abbott's speech. The unemployment rate in Texas was 7.2% last month, double what it was in December of 2019.
Laredo’s Health Authority Criticizes State’s Vaccine Distribution Process
A South Texas official is criticizing the state's vaccine distribution process, saying it disadvantages areas with fewer health care workers.
Victor Treviño is Laredo's Health Authority.
"And as a doctor who treats several COVID patients who passed away because they did not have access to a vaccine, it is impossible not to say anything while the state during our community's deadliest month did not give us an equitable amount of vaccine because of their formula punished medically underserved communities,” he said.
Laredo has the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate in Texas at over 40%.
Last month, Texas surged medical personnel, equipment, and testing supplies to Laredo to help overwhelmed hospitals.
Monday, Feb. 1
Dallas County Reports A Record 40 Deaths
The county reported 40 deaths in a single day for the second time this month. There were also 1,427 new positive cases reported, including 106 probable cases.
The deaths included two people in their 30s and a person in their 40s, all of whom had underlying health conditions. The others who died ranged in age from their 50s to their 90s, and 10 of those cases involved people who lived in long-term care facilities.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he expects deaths to be high for the next two weeks because of the high number of cases from December and January, but other COVID indicators are starting to improve.
"We are seeing some improved numbers. Our hospitalizations are at 914 for today, and they dipped below 1,000 on Friday for the first time in several weeks," Jenkins said. "Similarly, our number of new infections was lower last week than in the previous week."
Tarrant County Reports 28 Deaths And 1,887 New Cases
The deaths include five women and a man from Fort Worth who exceeded 90, two women from North Richland Hills in their 80s, two women from Fort Worth in their 80s, a man from Grapevine in his 80s, a woman from Hurst in her 80s, a man from Aledo in his 80s, two men from Arlington in their 70s, a man from Fort Worth in his 70s, a man from North Richland Hills in his 70s, a man from Forest Hill in his 70s, a woman from Euless in her 70s, two men from Fort Worth in their 60s, a man from Crowley in his 60s, a man from Benbrook in his 60s, a woman from Forest Hill in her 50s, two men from Fort Worth in their 50s, a woman from Fort Worth in her 30s, and a man from Forest Hill in his 30s. All but two had underlying health conditions.
Tarrant County now has 2,240 confirmed deaths and 171,001 people have recovered.
Denton County Reports Seven Deaths And 600 Cases
The deaths involved people who ranged in age from their 60s to their 80s, and all but one were residents of long-term care facilities. Denton County now has a total of 325 deaths. The county also reported 600 new cases, 535 of which are active cases.
Fort Worth Public Library Card Holders Can Get Free Job Coaching
The library launched this service to help people struggling with unemployment during the pandemic. People who have a Fort Worth library card can access the service, and no library visit is required to use the program.
To use the service, visit the Fort Worth Public Library's JobNow page.
People can log in with their library card number and find links to local job boards and résumé templates. And there are live coaches available to brush up those resumes or give interview training and job search help.
They can even walk people through filling out the forms necessary to get unemployment benefits.
Coaching is available in both English and Spanish.
And for those who prefer email, you're guaranteed to hear back from a coach within 24 hours.
Dallas ISD Is Trying To Reach Out To Students Who Haven't Shown Up For Class
School attendance has dropped during the coronavirus pandemic across the country, and in Dallas. So, Dallas ISD is launching a new effort on Monday to re-engage students who haven’t shown up for class.
District teams will reach out to students and parents by phone, text and email and drop by the homes of families they can’t reach remotely, for contact-free visits.
They’ll ask about obstacles to school attendance — like whether students need hotspots, or help logging in — and provide a list of resources, including information about how to get meals and connect with mental health providers.
Last week, Dallas ISD trustees approved a plan to extend the school year at some elementary and middle schools, in an effort to tackle learning loss during the pandemic. Certain schools with enough interest from families and staff may choose to add five extra weeks of classes for some or all students.
UT Health Epidemiologist Says New Variants Mean We Need To Vaccinate Quickly
The emergence of three more contagious variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 has created a race to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible.
Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, an epidemiologist at UT School of Public Health in Dallas, said the longer the virus circulates without herd immunity the more likely a variant will come along that changes the game.
“We can get a mutation today or in a couple of months, and it will be able to completely escape the vaccine,” she said. “And so all of these people would have to get a new vaccine and that is worst case scenario.”
All three of the more contagious variants have now been found in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only one of them, the UK variant, has been confirmed in Texas.
Fort Worth-Based American Airlines Warns Of Another Round Of Furloughs
Just weeks after recalling workers from furloughs, American Airlines is warning employee unions another round of furlough notices may go out soon.
The Dallas Morning News reports the company has told unions more furloughs are possible if talks for more government aid to help with payroll fall through. The latest round expires March 31.
Fort Worth-based American received about $3 billion in stimulus grants and loans to help with payroll between December and March.
But airline traffic's still down, and American was burning through about $30 million of cash a day during the fourth quarter of last year.
American Airlines last week posted a record annual loss of $8.9 billion.
Texas Public School Students Will Have To Take STAAR Test In-Person
Texas public school students will have to show up in-person to take the STAAR test this spring, according to guidance from the Texas Education Agency.
The Texas Tribune reports the standardized tests for grades 3-12 will go on at monitored testing sites this spring and summer.
The TEA says districts can set those sites up outside of their schools in spaces where they can ensure equitable access and maintain test security.
As of December, school districts won't receive state ratings this year based on how their students perform on the standardized tests.
Sunday, Jan. 31
Dallas County Reports 1,617 Cases, 12 Deaths
Dallas County reports 1,617 new cases on Sunday, along with 12 deaths.
The deaths include:
- A Dallas man in his 30s
- A Dallas man in his 40s
- A Duncanville woman in her 40s
- An Irving woman in her 50s
- A Grand Prairie man in his 50s
- A Dallas woman in her 50s
- A Mesquite man in her 50s
- A Grand Prairie man in his 50s
- A Lancaster man in his 60s
- A Dallas man in his 60s
- A Dallas man in his 70s
- A DeSoto woman in her 70s
Of the new cases, 1,317 are confirmed while 300 are probable cases.
Tarrant County Reports 1,888 Cases, 36 Deaths
Tarrant County Public Health is reporting 1,888 new cases and 36 deaths.
Of the new cases, 998 are confirmed while 890 are probable cases.
Collin County Adds 335 Cases, 4 Deaths
Collin County is reporting on Sunday 335 new cases and 4 deaths. Of the 335 cases, 326 are confirmed. Nine are probable cases.
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