Tracking COVID-19: New cases in Dallas County decrease week over week

See how COVID-19 impacted Dallas County over the last week. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
See how COVID-19 impacted Dallas County over the last week. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

See how COVID-19 impacted Dallas County over the last week. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Editor’s note: This is the latest information reported by Dallas County, Richardson ISD and Plano ISD through their public dashboards.

After a rise in case numbers during the first week of April, the number of new coronavirus cases in Dallas County declined over the last week.

New cases of the virus totaled 202 on April 15. The seven-day average now sits at 202, which is a rate of 7.7 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, according to a county news release. The seven-day average at this time last week was 218, which is a rate of 8.3 new daily cases per 100,000 residents.

“We are at a point now where we have more vaccine than we do people who are registered to get the vaccine,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. “You may now come to Fair Park if you are 55 years or older without an appointment and without pre-registering and get a shot at any time that we are open.”

There have been 254,731 cases and 3,768 deaths in Dallas County since officials began data collection in March 2020. About 20% of deaths countywide have been associated with long-term care facilities.

Hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions and emergency room visits are among the key indicators health experts use to determine the severity of the virus's spread, according to the county. The week ending April 14 saw 207 COVID-19 patients in acute care and 463 patients reporting to the ER with COVID-19-like symptoms. This number represents about 15% of the total emergency room visits in the county during that time period, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.

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 greatly declined.

According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, there were 2,931 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals as of April 15, up from 2,856 on April 8. 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 April 14, less than 4% of the hospital beds in Trauma Service Area E were occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients, according to the DSHS dashboard.

Over the past 30 days, 1,118 cases among students and staff have been reported across 353 K-12 schools in the county, the release states.

According to the state’s public school dashboard, new student cases were up by nearly 19% statewide between the first and second weeks of April. During the week ending April 11, 1,966 additional cases were reported, which was a rise from the 1,615 cases reported at the end of the week prior. However, cases among staff decreased between the first and second weeks of April, according to the dashboard.

In Richardson ISD, 1,734 students and 737 employees have been diagnosed since Aug. 19, according to the district’s dashboard, which launched in early September. In Plano ISD, 1,900 students and 819 employees have been diagnosed and have since recovered, according to PISD's dashboard, which began reporting data Aug. 12 and was last updated April 15.

Both dashboards show all confirmed coronavirus cases districtwide, including those reported in students learning from home. They also include a breakdown of cases by building. Of cases confirmed in RISD, 28 students and five employees still had the virus as of April 15. In PISD, 40 student cases and seven employee cases were still active as of April 15.

Dallas County residents can register for the COVID-19 vaccine with Dallas County Health and Human Services here. Collin County Judge Chris Hill announced March 11 that the county has completed its COVID-19 vaccine waitlist and that it would open its vaccine appointment portal on Friday mornings. According to a city of Richardson spokesperson, the city is not involved in vaccine distribution at this time.

As of April 15, nearly 9.7 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 2 million residents age 16 or older in Dallas County. Of those residents, nearly 25% have received both doses. In Collin County, more than 30% of the estimated 801,716 residents age 16 or older have received both doses.

Since March 29, all Texas adults have been eligible to receive a vaccine for COVID-19, the DSHS announced March 23. According to the DSHS, the state's Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended the shift because officials expect vaccine supply to increase.

“Over 120 million Americans have received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine without any serious complications,” Jenkins said in his April 15 statement. “We are giving the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines at our locations at Fair Park, Potter’s House, Parkland and others.”

Dallas County Health and Human Services reported more than 362,000 vaccinations have been administered at the Fair Park mega vaccine clinic since the site began operations Jan. 11. Collin County restarted scheduling appointments at its vaccine hub at Plano ISD’s Clark Stadium on Feb. 22.

Collin County announced in August that it would no longer report city-specific information. The city of Richardson does not regularly report its own case numbers; however, Dallas County’s COVID-19 analytics dashboard shows there have been more than 7,400 confirmed coronavirus cases in that county’s portion of Richardson.
By William C. Wadsack

Editor, Plano

William joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2019. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana.