A day after reporting its highest single day total of new cases of coronavirus since early February, Dallas County reported 750 new cases on July 29.
The county last reported more than 1,000 new cases in a day on Feb. 11, when there were 1,020 new cases. The seven-day average now sits at 307, which is a rate of 11.6 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, according to a county news release. The seven-day average at this time last week was 184, which is a rate of seven new daily cases per 100,000 residents.
“'[The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center] updated their COVID forecast yesterday and they are now predicting over 1,000 new COVID cases a day and 800-1,000 hospitalizations by Aug. 16 in Dallas County alone,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement July 29. “Patients in the 18-49 age group are the fastest growing group for hospitalizations. UTSW expects hospitalizations to substantially increase, placing tremendous stress on our already overworked health care teams.”
There have been 270,821 cases and 4,198 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.
More than 52% of Dallas County residents age 12 and older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of July 29, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. In Collin County, that number sits at more than 62%.
The DSHS COVID-19 vaccination dashboard shows a combined estimate of more than 1.6 million people in the two counties are reported as being fully vaccinated. DSHS estimates show there are more than 2.8 million residents age 16 and older in Collin and Dallas counties, although vaccine appointments are not limited to county residents.
More than 26 million doses have been administered across Texas, and nearly 13 million people have been fully vaccinated since manufacturers began shipping vials to the state in December, according to the DSHS dashboard.
Gov. Greg Abbott lifted state mask requirements March 10 and said all businesses are allowed to operate at full capacity.
On July 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended all individuals—including fully vaccinated individuals—wear masks in K-12 schools. The CDC’s updated guidance also recommends fully vaccinated people in areas with "high" or "substantial" levels of transmission wear masks in indoor, public settings. Jenkins said July 28 that North Texas is an area of “high” spread.
“If the current pace of vaccinations continues, we may even exceed the levels of hospitalizations we saw in the winter surge,” Jenkins said in his statement. “If we want to avoid that, the answer is getting more people vaccinated as soon as we can.”
The Methodist Health System, which includes Methodist Richardson Medical Center, announced July 29 that it is mandating that all of its workforce be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 1. As with the system’s mandated flu vaccine, exemptions will be made on medical or religious grounds, according to a news release.
According to data from DSHS, there were 5,292 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals as of July 27, which is a nearly 186% increase from the 1,851 patients on July 8.
As of July 27, 8.03% of the hospital beds in Trauma Service Area E, which consists of 19 counties in North Texas including Collin and Dallas counties, were occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients, according to the DSHS dashboard. That marks the first time since March 2 that the trauma service area has been over 8%. It is also a more than 255% increase from the 2.26% of hospital beds occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients on June 27.
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 March 29, all Texas adults are 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.
Dallas County Health and Human Services reported more than 497,000 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 7,400 confirmed coronavirus cases in that county’s portion of Richardson.