The Dallas County Health Department is reporting 1,269 new COVID-19 cases Friday along with two more deaths, bringing the county’s total number of confirmed cases since March to more than 100,000 infections.
Of the 1,269 cases reported Friday, the county said 867 were confirmed cases and 402 were probable cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county since March to 100,628 and the probable number to 8,003.
“Today we’ve reached the grim milestone of 100,000 Dallas County residents who have been sickened with COVID-19,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “Our daily numbers continue to increase with today’s 1,269 being the highest daily total we’ve seen since our peaks in July that could not be attributed to a backlog or data release.”
The judge added that earlier in the week when the county reported 1,500 cases, 80% of the probable cases were attributable to antigen tests performed in the last 15 days. Friday’s numbers, Jenkins said, are from recent cases.
The latest victims of the virus include a woman in her 50s from Dallas and a man in his 60s from a long-term care facility in Dallas. Both victims had been hospitalized in the ICU for the disease and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
County officials said Friday there have been 1,127 confirmed deaths in the county attributed to the virus and another 18 probable deaths. In the summer, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang said COVID-19 is the third leading cause of death in the county behind diseases of the heart and cancers.
“We’ve seen too many people relax their resolve due to COVID fatigue and now is not the time to stop wearing masks or being around more people when we are in a dangerous fall wave,” Jenkins said. “We must get these numbers under control as Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two holidays when people are around more people and the cold winter months bring us indoors where spread is easier.”
Tarrant County reported a record 952 new infections Friday, topping its previous record of 938 set Thursday.
“These are some major numbers that we’re seeing in Tarrant County. I think we saw something similar back in July but they were back in the 800s so definitely new highs for Tarrant County,” said Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.
Taneja attributes the rise to more re-openings, even with safety measures like masks and social distancing in place.
“It’s a person-to-person illness and if you put a lot of people together it spreads despite our best efforts,” Taneja said.
Doctor in both Tarrant and Dallas Counties share a common concern about a bad flue season straining hospital staff that are already fatigued.
“It goes beyond a tiredness, frustration, it’s really this idea and feeling of will this every be done? Will we ever really go back to normal?” said Dr. Joseph Chang, Chief Medical Officer at Parkland Hospital.
Dr. Chang says this time last year, Parkland Hospital had treated more than 100 patients for the flu. This year, he says they’ve treated no more than 10, a hopeful trend heading into the holidays.
“We really need that to be the case because as we’re calling it a full-blown ‘flu-vid’ season is not going to be good for our hospital,” said Dr. Chang.
Eager to take the flu out of the equation, Tarrant County will give out 16,000 free flu vaccines this year to people without insurance, a preemptive strike as doctors work to avoid a worst-case scenario.