Deadliest week of pandemic in Dallas County with 2,111 new coronavirus cases, 8 more deaths

Dallas, Texas – Dallas County on Saturday reported 2,111 more coronavirus cases, all of them considered new. Eight new COVID-19 deaths were also reported.

The latest victims include a Farmers Branch man and a Garland man in their 50s; two Dallas men, a Dallas woman, an Irving man and a Mesquite man in their 60s; and a DeSoto woman in her 80s. All had been critically ill in the hospital, and all but the Farmers Branch man had underlying health conditions.

This has been the deadliest week of the COVID-19 pandemic in the county, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.

“While the news of the vaccine is exciting, remember you have two ‘vaccines’ or great tools at your disposal now,” Jenkins said in a written statement. “One is the ‘vaccine’ you can wear: your mask. … The other is the tool of the smart choices you make when you follow the doctors’ advice and make those small sacrifices of patriotism to protect not just yourself and your loved ones, but those who you don’t even know in our community who inevitably will pay a high price as each new infection works its way to more people until it reaches a person who is ill-equipped to handle this deadly disease.”

Of the new cases reported Saturday, 1,669 are confirmed and 442 are probable. The newly reported cases bring the county’s total confirmed cases to 141,972 and probable cases to 15,364. The county has recorded 1,323 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 52 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 Friday, 786 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county. During the same period, 525 ER visits were for symptoms of the disease.

The county reported that over the last 30 days, 4,520 cases have been reported among school-aged children and staff from 735 schools in Dallas County.

There are currently 97 long-term care facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks, the county said. In the last 30 days, the county said there have also been 26 outbreaks of the virus in congregate-living facilities including homeless shelters, group homes and halfway houses.

The county’s provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases for the Nov. 29-Dec. 5 reporting period was 1,560, or 56.6 daily new cases per 100,000 residents. Health officials said that’s the highest case rate the county has seen since the pandemic began.

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, 21.6% of people who showed up at hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms tested positive for the virus. That’s nearly the same as the previous reporting period, when 21.7% such patients tested positive.

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