Thursday, September 16, 2021

Delta variant likely driving hospitalization increase

Propelled by the more-contagious Delta variant, COVID-19 patients are being admitted to Denton County hospitals at a rate not seen since last winter’s surge.

There are currently 126 people in Denton County hospitals with COVID-19, the most since February, and the rolling 7-day average of COVID hospitalizations stands at 15.7 percent.

Cases have been shooting up over the past six weeks. Denton County Public Health on Tuesday reported 480 new cases of COVID-19, of which 452 are active cases. Last week alone, there were 1,100 new cases reported.

There are currently over 4,600 active COVID-19 cases in Denton County, the highest number since April. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that 93 percent of all cases in North Texas are the Delta variant.

The biggest group of those infected are under 40 years old, according to Juan Rodriguez, chief epidemiologist of Denton County Public Health.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced new moves Monday to fight the coronavirus pandemic as it rages again, including asking hospitals to again put off certain elective procedures to free up space for COVID-19 patients.

Abbott also announced Monday he was asking state agencies to open additional COVID-19 antibody infusion centers that aim to treat COVID-19 patients with therapeutic drugs and keep them from requiring hospitalization. And he said the Department of State Health Services “will be utilizing staffing agencies to provide medical personnel from out-of-state to Texas health care facilities to assist in COVID-19 operations.”

Rodriguez said that vaccines are easy to come by with no waiting list remaining.

“There is a nice little uptick in vaccinations, so we are seeing more first doses than we have in a while,” said Rodriguez.

The 12-15 year-old age group make up a third of the newly-vaccinated, he added.

“Even though we do see surging cases and hospitalizations, one thing that we’re happy to say is that we haven’t really seen that translate to many deaths,” said Rodriguez, citing only two reported deaths in July.

Rodriguez added that all 633 deaths reported in the county so far were people who weren’t vaccinated.

“Texans can help bolster our efforts by getting vaccinated against COVID-19,” Gov. Abbott said in a news release. “The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and it is our best defense against this virus.”

CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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