The percentage of COVID-19 patients compared to capacity in Denton County hospitals is currently a “tick higher” than other North Texas counties, but the overall picture is looking better, according to health officials.

“The capacity in our hospitals, particularly in our ICUs, continues to open, and that is encouraging,” Matt Richardson, Denton County public health director, told county commissioners April 6.

In early October 2020, hospitalizations began to climb. By mid-January, the percentage of COVID-19 patients compared to overall Denton County hospital capacity topped 25%. On April 5, that number had dropped to 4.8%.

Trauma Service Area E, which consists of 19 counties in North Texas, had a hospitalization rate of 3.65%.

“This is so much better than we were,” Richardson said. “Hopefully, we’re very much on the downhill portion of the curve.”

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Denton County is also trending downward, from 566 new cases three weeks ago to 395 new cases last week.

Meanwhile, the county continues making gains in the number of people receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Denton County has administered more than 257,000 doses of the vaccine to date. About 32,000 people who joined the waitlist have not yet received an appointment invitation from Denton County. Some of those may have received vaccinations elsewhere.

Richardson urged residents to continue wearing masks and seeking vaccines. The UK variant of COVID-19, which is on the rise in Texas, appears to be more contagious but less deadly than other variants, he said. The vaccine seems to offer good protection from that variant, he said.

Anyone age 16 or older is eligible to be vaccinated in Texas. Denton County vaccines are being administered by appointment at a megasite at Texas Motor Speedway. Click here for the link to sign up for Denton County's waitlist.