After a few weeks of declining case numbers, the number of new coronavirus cases in Dallas County rose over the last week.
New cases of the virus totaled 239 on May 12. The seven-day average now sits at 214, which is a rate of 8.2 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, according to a county news release. The seven-day average at this time last week was 207, which is a rate of 7.9 new daily cases per 100,000 residents.
“If we keep vaccinating at the same rate that we’re vaccinating now, Dr. [Anthony] Fauci expects that we will see a tremendous drop off in cases by July,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. “We are walking blocks and messaging to people as best we can to get vaccinated but the person that is the most persuasive on vaccination is going to be a person that someone knows and trusts. For your circle, that’s you.”
There have been 259,030 cases and 3,952 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 May 11 saw 165 COVID-19 patients in acute care and 425 patients reporting to the ER with COVID-19-like symptoms. This number represents about 14% 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 2,492 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals as of May 12, down from 2,745 on April 29. 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 May 12, just over 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, 1,106 cases among students and staff have been reported across 417 K-12 schools in the county, the release stated.
According to the state’s public school dashboard, new student cases decreased by nearly 14% statewide between the fourth week of April and the first week of May. During the week ending May 2, 1,816 additional cases were reported, which was a drop from the 2,108 cases reported at the end of the week prior. Cases among staff also decreased during the same timespan, according to the dashboard.
In Richardson ISD, 1,807 students and 744 employees have been diagnosed since Aug. 19, according to the district’s dashboard, which launched in early September. In Plano ISD, 2,016 students and 836 employees have been diagnosed and have since recovered, according to PISD's dashboard, which began reporting data Aug. 12 and was last updated May 13.
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, 23 students and two employees still had the virus as of May 13. In PISD, 14 student cases and two employee cases were still active as of May 13.
Dallas County residents can register for the COVID-19 vaccine with Dallas County Health and Human Services here. Collin County Health Care Services allows people to register for an appointment here. According to a city of Richardson spokesperson, the city is not involved in vaccine distribution.
As of May 12, nearly 9 million people have been fully vaccinated 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 39% have received both doses. In Collin County, more than 49% 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. On May 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to those ages 12-15. COVID-19 vaccinations had previously been available only to those age 16 and older.
“Vaccine is now available to anyone who wants it, and Pfizer will soon be available to people 12 years of age and older,” Jenkins said May 12. “It’s very important that we all do our part. With every vaccine, we help not only ourselves but our community and our country defeat COVID.”
Dallas County Health and Human Services reported more than 461,000 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 7,600 confirmed coronavirus cases in that county’s portion of Richardson.