Tracking COVID-19: North Texas drops below 7% of patients in hospital beds for first time since July

Here is the latest data regarding COVID-19 in Dallas County. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Here is the latest data regarding COVID-19 in Dallas County. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Here is the latest data regarding COVID-19 in Dallas County. (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.

On Oct. 27, 6.9% of North Texas hospital beds were filled with COVID-19 patients.

That marks the first time since July 24 that less than 7% of the hospital beds in Trauma Service Area E were occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services dashboard. The trauma service area consists of 19 counties in North Texas, including Collin and Dallas counties.

The Oct. 27 total is a more than 61% decrease from the 17.85% of hospital beds occupied by confirmed COVID-19 patients on Sept. 26.

According to data from DSHS, there were 3,822 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals as of Oct. 27, which is a more than 38% decrease from the 6,197 patients on Oct. 12.

Figures released by Dallas County Health and Human Services show the seven-day average of new coronavirus cases declined by more than 26% over the last week.

The seven-day average now sits at 360, which is a rate of 13.7 new daily cases per 100,000 residents, according to a county news release. The seven-day average at this time last week was 487, which is a rate of 18.5 new daily cases per 100,000 residents.

There have been 342,021 cases and 4,969 deaths in Dallas County since officials began data collection in March 2020. About 17% of deaths countywide have been associated with long-term care facilities.

“As we approach winter and the holiday season, it is important that we take safety precautions to keep ourselves, our friends and our family members safe from COVID-19,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement Oct. 27. “Please remember to continue to use a mask when you’re in indoor settings outside your own home.”

According to the state’s public school dashboard, new student cases decreased by more than 33% statewide between the second and third weeks of October. During the week ending Oct. 17, 5,133 additional cases were reported, which was a decrease from the 7,728 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, 1,313 students and 253 employees have been diagnosed since Aug. 2, according to the district’s dashboard, which was updated Oct. 27. Of cases confirmed in RISD, 48 students and seven employees still had the virus as of Oct. 27. Those totals amount to 0.13% of district students and 0.1% of staff members, according to the dashboard.

In Plano ISD, 81 students and 11 employees were listed with current cases, according to the district’s dashboard, which was last updated Oct. 27. Those totals amount to 0.16% of district students and 0.21% of staff members, according to the dashboard.

More than 63% of Dallas County residents age 12 and older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Oct. 27, according to DSHS. In Collin County, that number sits at nearly 72%.

The DSHS COVID-19 vaccination dashboard shows a combined estimate of more than 2 million people in the two counties reported as being fully vaccinated. The 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.

The majority of the estimated population in all three of the main ZIP codes in Richardson have been fully vaccinated, according to totals from DSHS.

The 75082 ZIP code has the highest percentage of fully vaccinated residents with nearly 77%, based on the population estimate from the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau Annual Community Survey results. The 75080 ZIP code has the lowest percentage of fully vaccinated residents with a little less than 53% of the estimated population.

More than 33 million doses have been administered across Texas, and nearly 15.4 million people have been fully vaccinated since manufacturers began shipping vials to the state in December, according to the DSHS dashboard.

COVID-19 testing continues to be available throughout North Texas. In Richardson, there are numerous test sites that offer both drive-thru and walk-in appointments through local pharmacies and clinics. An interactive map of the available testing sites in Plano and the surrounding area can be found at this link.

COVID-19 tests are available at no cost nationwide at health centers and select pharmacies due to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including for those who do not have insurance.

Appointments are required for most COVID-19 testing sites.

Information about the COVID-19 vaccine and where to get vaccinated is available at Dallas County residents can register for the COVID-19 vaccine with Dallas County Health and Human Services here. Collin County Health Care Services announced July 27 the creation of mobile vaccination teams. Residents can request appointments for the free shots. According to a city of Richardson spokesperson, the city is not involved in vaccine distribution.

Collin County announced in August 2020 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 9,600 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.