New COVID-19 cases declining as Denton County administers 200,000th vaccine dose at mega site

line of cars at tent
People wait in their cars for a COVID-19 vaccine dose at the Texas Motor Speedway on Feb. 2, the first day of operations for the mega vaccine drive-thru site. The site administered its 200,000th vaccine dose March 30. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)

People wait in their cars for a COVID-19 vaccine dose at the Texas Motor Speedway on Feb. 2, the first day of operations for the mega vaccine drive-thru site. The site administered its 200,000th vaccine dose March 30. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)

Denton County continues to see a decline in new cases and hospitalizations related to COVID-19, according to a March 30 report to county commissioners.

At the same time, the number of people being vaccinated through the county’s drive-thru site at Texas Motor Speedway is increasing, according to Matt Richardson, director of public health for Denton County. Vaccinations there began Feb. 2.

The county delivered its 200,000th vaccine dose from that mega site March 30. Richardson said he expects the county will have administered a quarter of a million vaccine doses by the end of the week.

On March 23, the county opened signups for its vaccination waitlist to anyone age 16 and older. As of March 30, the waitlist had 459,864 names, according to Richardson. Invitations for a vaccination appointment have been sent out to more than 425,000 people so far, Richardson said.

Since the pandemic began, Denton County has reported 71,752 positive cases of the coronavirus and 466 deaths, March 30 data showed.

The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized as a percentage of total hospital capacity in Denton County is 4.6%, Richardson said. He called that rate “an encouraging trend.”

That compares with the hospitalization rate of 3.93% for Trauma Service Area E, which consists of 19 counties in North Texas. That area's hospitalization rate reached its highest point during the pandemic Jan. 9 with a rate of 27.17%.

Richardson told commissioners that last time the county saw the number of new cases at a level this low was in early September.

“For the third week in a row last week, [new cases] continued to decline,” Richardson said. “Other parts of the nation have begun to see a surge or a spike. Denton County has not.”

He said he believes the increasing number of people getting vaccinated is contributing to the decline. Richardson said he also encouraged people to continue wearing masks and practice physical distancing in hopes that the downward trend in cases continues.

Also on March 30, Denton County commissioners voted to extend the disaster declaration due to the coronavirus through June 30. That allows the county's Emergency Operations Plan and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Plan to remain activated.

Click here to sign up on the vaccination waitlist for Denton County.
By Valerie Wigglesworth
Valerie has been a journalist for more than 30 years. She is currently managing editor for DFW Metro for Community Impact Newspaper.


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