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 in the third week of April, the number of new coronavirus cases in Dallas County declined over the last week.

New cases of the virus totaled 268 on April 29. The seven-day average now sits at 226, which is a rate of 8.6 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, according to a county news release. The seven-day average at this time last week was 250, which is a rate of nine new daily cases per 100,000 residents.

“Getting a vaccine is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your community from COVID,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. “Vaccine is available without an appointment at Dallas College Eastfield Campus, Ellis Davis Field House, Fair Park and Potter’s House on any day that we are open.”

There have been 257,117 cases and 3,887 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 28 saw 177 COVID-19 patients in acute care and 415 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 2,745 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals as of April 29, down from 2,931 on April 15. Abbott said March 2 that "people and businesses don't need the state telling them how to operate." However, if COVID-19 hospitalizations 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 28, less than 3% 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, 1,065 cases among students and staff have been reported across 381 K-12 schools in the county, the release stated.

According to the state’s public school dashboard, new student cases were down by more than 18% statewide between the third and fourth weeks of April. During the week ending April 25, 1,752 additional cases were reported, which was a decrease from the 2,145 cases reported at the end of the week prior. Cases among staff also decreased between the third and fourth weeks of April, according to the dashboard.

In Richardson ISD, 1,774 students and 740 employees have been diagnosed since Aug. 19, according to the district’s dashboard, which launched in early September. In Plano ISD, 1,967 students and 827 employees have been diagnosed and have since recovered, according to PISD's dashboard, which began reporting data Aug. 12 and was last updated April 28.

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 one employee still had the virus as of April 29. In PISD, 37 student cases and five employee cases were still active as of April 28.

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.

As of April 29, nearly 17.9 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, more than 32% have received both doses. In Collin County, more than 40% 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. According to the DSHS, the state's Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended the shift because officials expect the vaccine supply to increase.

“The rate of vaccination has slowed in Dallas County and North Texas and is currently falling behind other metro areas,” Jenkins said in his April 29 statement. “In order for us to come out of the COVID pandemic strong and maintain our place at the top for employment opportunities here in Dallas and North Texas, we need everyone to please do your part and get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Dallas County Health and Human Services reported more than 417,000 vaccinations have been administered at the Fair Park mega vaccine clinic since the site began operations Jan. 11.

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 nearly 7,500 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.