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COVID-19 cases are down, but Dallas County officials urge staying up-to-date on vaccines

Dr. Philip Huang in background. In foreground a health worker administers a flu vaccine in a young woman's arm.
LM Otero
Dr. Philip Huang, left, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, checks in with health workers during an influenza vaccine event at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) reported decreasing levels of respiratory viruses heading into March.

Rates of COVID-19, flu and RSV have been falling since mid-January. DCHHS Director Philip Huang said a drop in COVID-19 cases can be attributed to the effective treatments, like vaccines.

“Fewer people are getting seriously ill, fewer hospitalizations and death, fewer complications,” he said, “but it is still present.”

The latest data from DCHHS showed that for the first week of March, there have been 240 cases of COVID-19 so far. In early January, that number was around 1,259.

Huang said sometimes it can be challenging to know what illness people might have, as flu, COVID-19 and RSV all share symptoms like fever, cough and fatigue. He said that’s why it’s important to “keep up the core prevention strategies,” like staying up-to-date on vaccines and staying home if sick.

County Judge Clay Jenkins underlined the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations, especially for people who might be more at risk, like people 65 and older.

“Me and Momma stayed up on the shots, other family members not so much,” he said. “They got some COVID, and some flu, we did not. So get the shots.”

DCHHS also recommends people 65 years and older get an additional COVID-19 vaccination if it’s been more than four months since their last dose.

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Elena Rivera is the health reporter at KERA. Before moving to Dallas, Elena covered health in Southern Colorado for KRCC and Colorado Public Radio. Her stories covered pandemic mental health support, rural community health access issues and vaccine equity across the region.