Spread of COVID-19 still high but could start to ebb by end of January, Tarrant County public health director reports

The Austin-Travis County area remains in Stage 5 as hospitalizations continue to increase. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
The Austin-Travis County area remains in Stage 5 as hospitalizations continue to increase. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The Austin-Travis County area remains in Stage 5 as hospitalizations continue to increase. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Tarrant County Public Health Director Dr. Veerinder Taneja told commissioners Jan. 18 that COVID-19 still has a high level of community spread but is projected to peak before the end of the month.

“We’re at about 40% positivity rate but starting to see a plateau,” said Taneja, who spoke at the Jan. 18 Commissioners Court meeting. “Hospitalizations are still up significantly but were higher and [have] eased back. Still, we’re at about 25% of Tarrant County hospital capacity consumed with COVID[-19].”

Fifty-nine children are hospitalized in the county with COVID-19, while ICU capacity is at 50%—about 2,300 hospitalized—he reported.

Cases per 100,000 residents in Tarrant County stand at about 1,400, or 1.4%, of the county population contracting the virus over the past week. According to the county's COVID-19 website, a rate of 100 new cases or more per 100,000 residents over seven days is considered high community transmission. The r-naught, which measures how many people a single infected individual will pass the virus on to, is at 1.26, according to Taneja.

“The last two or three weeks was a rapid acceleration. Hopefully it doesn’t go any higher. My best estimate is by the end of January, we’ll start to feel we’re past the peak,” Taneja said.


Shortages of antivirals and antibody solutions have occurred while supplies of therapeutics from Merck and Pfizer, which have been allocated in small amounts, were quickly exhausted, Taneja said.

However, testing remains widely available, he said. For the location of available COVID-19 testing sites, visit the county's web page.