Denton County reports 3 more COVID-19 deaths

Tuesday, Dec. 8

Denton County Public Health announced Tuesday that three more county residents have died as a result of COVID-19.

The deaths reported Tuesday include a Lewisville man in his 50s, a man over 80 who resided at Longmeadow Healthcare Center in Justin and a woman in her 70s who resided at Cedar Ridge Rehabilitation in Pilot Point.

“As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to escalate across our county, it is incumbent upon each of us to do our part in reducing community spread,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “The increased numbers impact our healthcare system, which in turn could affect the availability of care for all. We ask that you keep the families of these three individuals in your thoughts and prayers.”

DCPH also announced Tuesday 560 new cases of COVID-19 in the county, 394 of which are active, as well as 316 new recoveries. There are now 7,328 active cases in the county.

DCPH Director Dr. Matt Richardson gave an update Tuesday morning during the Denton County Commissioners Court meeting on the worsening COVID-19 situation in the county. Richardson said more than half of ICU beds in Denton County were occupied by COVID-19 patients, as of Monday, and only five staffed ICU beds were unoccupied in the county. He listed some of the things that can be done, from temporary nurses to patient transfers, to alleviate an ICU shortage, but “none of them are ideal” and the best and most important solution is prevention.

“We are trying desperately to encourage the public to do all they can to prevent transmission because if we can lower the case load, that’s going to lower the number of people being hospitalized, lowering the number of people needed that ICU bed,” he said.

Richardson also explained the discrepancy between the county’s official COVID-19 death toll, 161, and the Texas Department of State Health Services’ total of 243 for Denton County. Richardson said that the state includes everyone who has died who has tested positive for COVID-19, whether it was ruled to be the primary or secondary cause of death, but the county does more to confirm that the death was a result of COVID-19.

“When you see our death numbers updated, that means that we have corroborated a positive test, evidence of continuation of progression of disease and that the death did occur,” he said.

Denton County Judge Andy Eads began the meeting expressing sympathy to the family of Precinct 2 Chief Deputy Constable M. Wayne Rhodes, a Flower Mound resident who died last week as a result of COVID-19.

“Anytime we lose one of our own, it’s a severe loss, and it’s a loss we will deeply feel for quite some time,” Eads said. “We thank him for his lasting contribution to the life of Denton County during his tenure … Not only our work family but our law enforcement family across the region extends our best wishes to the family as you go through this grieving process, especially at this time of year.”

DCPH is providing a free drive-thru COVID-19 testing center in Denton on Friday at North Central Texas College’s exchange parking garage at 319 East Sycamore St., beginning at 8 a.m. Eligible community members must reside in Denton County, pre-register by calling 940-349-2585, and have not previously tested positive for COVID-19.

To minimize spread of COVID-19, DCPH urges all community members to:

  • Maintain at least six feet of physical distance in public settings and when around individuals outside of the household
  • Wear masks or face coverings, which should cover both the nose and mouth, in public settings and when around individuals outside of the household
  • Wash and/or sanitize hands frequently
  • Stay home if you are symptomatic, have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19, or have pending COVID-19 lab results

For additional COVID-19 data including active case information by municipality, hospital capacity, and ventilator utilization, visit dentoncounty.gov/COVIDstats. For information regarding DCPH’s upcoming testing centers, visit dentoncounty.gov/COVID19testing. For additional COVID-19 health and safety recommendations, visit dentoncounty.gov/COVID19.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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