The number of new coronavirus cases in Plano has continued to slow over the past two months with a slight uptick in average new daily cases the week of March 8.
The seven-day average of daily confirmed cases was roughly 24 cases on March 16. The city reached the lowest point since Oct. 22 with an average of roughly 20 new daily cases March 7. The downward trend started after a peak Jan. 11 with 170 average new daily cases.
In the week from March 10-16, there were 166 new cases of COVID-19 in the city from both Denton and Collin counties. Two weeks prior, there were 213.
Denton County confirmed the first person infected with COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the fast-spreading variant previously discovered in the United Kingdom, in early February. Officials in neighboring Dallas County also confirmed new cases of the B.1.1.7 and B.1.526 variants of COVID-19 over the last two weeks.
“The more contagious variants [of COVID-19] have arrived here in Dallas County,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. “The person diagnosed with the B.1.526 variant did not have a history of travel outside of Dallas County. It is likely that many others with milder symptoms, who were not tested, are transmitting these more contagious variants.”
There have been 16,415 cases in the city of Plano since officials began data collection in March 2020. In Collin County, there have been 71,269 cases and 770 fatalities and 52,045 cases and 697 deaths in Denton County as of March 16.
Gov. Greg Abbott lifted state mask requirements March 10 and said all businesses are allowed to operate at full capacity. Since early January, when COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations peaked across the state, numbers have been steadily declining.
According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, there were 3,980 COVID-19 patients in Texas as of March 14, down from more than 5,000 on March 4. Abbott said March 2 that "people and businesses don't need the state telling them how to operate." However, if COVID-19 hospitalizations do rise above a certain level—15% of all hospitalizations within a certain region—county judges will be able to take action. Abbott said county judges will be able to reduce business capacity to no lower than 50%.
As of March 10, less than 6% of the hospital beds in Trauma Service Area E, which consists of 19 counties in North Texas including Collin and Denton counties, were occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients, according to the DSHS dashboard.
In Plano ISD, 1,782 students and 792 employees have been diagnosed and have since recovered, according to PISD's dashboard, which began reporting data Aug. 12 and was last updated March 17.
As of March 11, more than 5.5 million people had received at least the first dose of the vaccine in Texas, according to data on the DSHS dashboard. There are just over 800,000 residents age 16 or older in Collin County. Of those residents, more than 117,000 people have received both doses. In Denton County, nearly 94,000 of the estimated 697,00 residents age 16 or older have received both doses as of March 17.
The DSHS announced March 3 that Texas educators and child care workers are now eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines. The DSHS released guidance this week that all Texans over age 50, all health care workers, school teachers, child care workers and those with underlying medical conditions became eligible to be vaccinated beginning March 15.
Collin County Healthcare Services restarted scheduling appointments at its vaccine hub at Plano ISD’s Clark Stadium on Feb. 22, and Denton County Public Health has been operating out of the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
Collin County announced in August that it would no longer report city-specific information. The city of Plano updates its dashboard daily based on state reporting.