North Texas hospitals are feeling the strain as COVID-19 patients are taking up a growing percentage of available bed space, according to the latest state data.
Nearly every day since Nov. 27, patients hospitalized with COVID-19 have accounted for more than 15% of total hospital capacity in Trauma Service Area E, which consists of 19 counties in North Texas.
As of Jan. 11, 95.7% of Denton County ICU beds were full with COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, leaving only 4 empty beds. Data for Collin County ICU beds is not available.
As of Jan. 4, Collin County had 575 COVID-19 patients occupying county hospital beds, the highest number since June 1, when Collin County Public Health changed its dashboard. As of Jan. 10, that number had dropped to 562 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Between Thanksgiving and Jan. 10, COVID-19 hospitalizations have more than doubled in Collin County, data showed.
In Denton County, COVID-19 patient hospitalizations have increased by more than 50% since Thanksgiving.
As of Jan. 11, COVID-19 patients account for more than a quarter of total hospital capacity in Trauma Service Area E. In Collin and Denton counties, those numbers are 25.38% and 25.61%, respectively, according to Jan. 11 state data.
Per an October executive order issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, municipal governments are required to tighten restrictions for most businesses if COVID-19 patients occupy 15% or more of the available hospital beds for seven consecutive days in their specific Trauma Service Area.
On Dec. 3, when Trauma Service Area E passed the 15% threshold for seven consecutive days, restaurants and most businesses were required to reduce capacity from 75% to 50%, and bars were required to close. Businesses will be allowed to increase capacity once COVID-19 hospitalizations for the area are below 15% for seven days in a row.
The number of COVID-19 fatalities in North Texas also continues to grow. Since Christmas Eve, 24 residents of Collin County have died of COVID-19, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Denton County saw 46 resident deaths in the same time period, according to Denton County’s COVID-19 dashboard. The Texas Department of State Health Services shows 20 coronavirus deaths in Denton County in the same time period due to a lag in data reporting between the county and the state.
At least two Frisco residents who live in Denton County ZIP codes have died due to the coronavirus, Denton County press releases show.
Collin County had 6,429 active cases of COVID-19 as of Jan. 11, according to state estimates. The number of active cases in the county has more than quadrupled since Nov. 5, when the county was estimated to have 1,471 active cases.
In Denton County, the number of active cases was estimated to be 5,442 on Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving.
The number of active cases in the county has nearly tripled since then, with an estimated 13,604 active cases of COVID-19 as of Jan. 11, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. That is an increase of nearly 150% for Denton County.
Among Frisco ISD families, active-case counts have also increased. Frisco ISD’s COVID-19 dashboard shows that 869 FISD students and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 between Dec. 19—the first day of the district’s winter break—and Jan. 8.
The seven-day average of daily confirmed cases was 602 in Collin County between Jan. 4-10. The previous seven days saw an average daily confirmed case count of 596, according to the data. The latest numbers show Collin County has had 50,312 total confirmed cases since March 2020.
In Denton County, there were an average of 356 cases confirmed each day between Jan. 4-10. During the previous seven-day period, there were 335. There have been 35,111 total confirmed cases in Denton County since March 2020, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. In Texas, 12,954 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported Jan. 10, bringing the total since March 2020 to 1,716,824, according to the state's dashboard.
New year, new record: Growing numbers of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in Collin, Denton counties
The numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing in Collin and Denton counties. (Community Impact staff)