North Texas experiencing surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations
Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) raised its COVID-19 threat level to orange, or “extreme caution,” on Monday after hospitalizations and infections continued to rise over the weekend.
DCHHS reported an average of 1,002 cases per day, a 33% increase from the average 2 weeks ago.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 610,208 cases have been reported in Dallas County, infecting at least 1 in 5 residents, 72% of whom have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine and 61% of whom are fully vaccinated.
“Right now we are seeing increases in COVID cases all across the state,” said Dr. Jennifer Shuford, Chief State Epidemiologist. “We’re also seeing increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and we’re starting to see increases in deaths too. So we know that there is a lot of COVID-19 circulating in our communities in Texas right now.”
Last week, the CDC issued its threat level for the county to red, or “high level of community spread,” which remains higher than the county’s current orange risk level.
The CDC determines community spread threat level based on 3 metrics: total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, total new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people, and percentage of inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.
The CDC placed Dallas along with Tarrant and Collin counties at high risk for the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants.
In a recent survey of the status of COVID-19 in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, the University of Texas Medical Center found that the 2 highly transmissible variants represent more than 75% of COVID-19 samples they tested in the region.
Shuford said despite the rise in hospitalizations, state hospital capacity remains sufficient to meet those demands for now. She urged the public to follow public health guidance to protect against and prevent transmission, including staying up to date on vaccinations and boosters.