North Texas has exceeded a critical threshold for the number of hospital patients struggling with COVID-19, which could result in bar closures and lower occupancy in stores and restaurants if such cases do not decrease within a week.
In 19 county hospital regions, more than 2,300 patients tested positive for coronavirus, with state data suggesting that 15.05% of all beds were occupied by a person with COVID-19.
Hospitals approached the 15% red line for several days before Thanksgiving, as established by Governor Greg Abbott in October, while the state continued to report a record number of new coronavirus cases. On Friday, Texas reported 2,473 new cases and 51 new deaths – a drastic drop from the latest results, probably due to the closure of laboratories.
Currently, most businesses in the area can operate at 75% capacity. However, under Abbott’s October 7 enforcement order, businesses will be forced to limit capacity to 50% if they are in a region where more than 15% of hospital patients show a positive result for the coronavirus for seven consecutive days. The exchange rate must fall below the red line for a week before business capacity can grow again.
“As the number of positive cases increases, our health heroes need your patriotism and sacrifice,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement Friday. “Please postpone the gatherings and avoid the masses to protect public health and the economy.”
The 19 county regions include Dallas and Tarrant counties as well as smaller counties including Rockwall, Cooke and Hunt.
A total of 8,518 people were staying at a Texas hospital on Friday with COVID-19, the state reported. That’s about 2,400 shy of the state’s peak in July.
Nine of the state’s 22 regions reported exceeding the 15% threshold by at least one day this week. And another was floating just below it on Friday. The region that included El Paso was by far the worst, with about 35% of its hospital patients fighting COVID-19.
Abbott tweeted a more rosy outlook on Friday, noting that the rate of infected patients in El Paso County has been declining for two weeks in a row and the state’s positivity rate is declining.
Earlier this month, Abbott refused to push the economy back across the country. Another shutdown would have a catastrophic impact, he said. At the time of his comments – barely eight days ago – six regions of the state were above the line.
Some smaller hospitals have particularly difficult things to do with the virus. Rockwall County Hospital officials – about 30 miles east of Dallas – said they exceeded capacity during the week.
As of Wednesday, 75% of hospital beds were full of COVID-19 patients, rockwall hospital officials said. The occupancy rate was 120%.
“That means 72 patients currently need one of our 60 beds,” Cindy Perrin, president of Rockwall Health Hospital in Texas, wrote in a pre-Thanksgiving holiday letter to the community, first announced by NBC5. “Listen to our nurses and others who echo these feelings in the United States … I ask you to wear a mask, limit gatherings, wash your hands, and behave responsibly.”
Rockwall County was slightly ahead of the rest of the North Texas region in terms of hospital capacity. A map based on state data released by the counties of Dallas and Tarrant earlier this month showed that Rockwall’s limited hospital capacity shows much greater tension than the larger counties. Rockwall is home to about 105,000 people, a fraction of the 7 million people who live in North Texas.
Most counties do not report new test or hospital data due to Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, Dallas County only knew about 26 adult ICU beds. The county will use this number as a basis for the Trauma Regional Advisory Board in North Central Texas, an agency that helps hospitals coordinate and track state data.
Here are the numbers right now.
Dallas County will continue to report the new data on Saturday. On Wednesday, the county reported 1,368 new cases of coronavirus and six more COVID-19 deaths.
The county registered 122,184 confirmed cases and 11,627 probable cases. In addition, 1202 confirmed COVID-19s and 29 probable deaths were recorded.
Dallas County officials do not report recovery, noting that the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not use this indicator.
In the 24-hour period ending Tuesday, 764 COVID-19 patients were in acute care at county hospitals. During the same period, there were 508 emergency department visits due to symptoms of the disease.
Saturday’s figures include data processed on Wednesday night, while Sunday’s reports include COVID-19 data from Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Tarrant County health officials will begin publishing the new data on Sunday.
On Wednesday, the county reported 1,302 cases of coronavirus and three new deaths.
The county registered 95,989 cases, including 85,010 confirmed cases and 10,979 probable cases. The amount of recoveries is 67,595. The number of deaths is 838.
By Wednesday, 812 people had been hospitalized with the virus.
The state added 271 cases of coronavirus to the entire Friday in Collin County, bringing the total to 25,153. Three additional COVID-19 deaths were also reported, bringing the county’s death toll to 251.
According to state data, there are 3,057 cases of active virus in the county.
The county’s coronavirus dashboard only provides full hospital treatment, which is higher than 260.
In Friday’s report, Denton County reported 305 cases of coronavirus.
The county registered 22,789 COVID-19 cases, including 5,345 active and 17,296 recoveries. The number of fatalities is 148.
According to county data, 137 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized on Friday. Nineteen percent of all hospital beds were COVID-19 positive.
The Texas State Department of Health has received the reports for the North Texas counties. Some of them may not report new data every day.
- Rockwall County: 2948 cases, 36 deaths.
- Kaufman County: 4870 cases, 80 deaths.
- Ellis County: 6,828 cases, 111 deaths.
- Johnson County: 5327 cases, 103 deaths.