Sunday, September 19, 2021

Denton County reports COVID-19 death, big surge in cases

Denton County Public Health announced this week that one more county resident has died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the countywide COVID-19 death toll to 634.

The death reported Wednesday was a woman in her 70s who lived in unincorporated southeast Denton County.

“As we announce the death of one additional Denton County community member due to COVID-19, we ask you to keep this individual’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads.

DCPH Director Dr. Matt Richardson has said multiple times that DCPH only rules a resident’s death as a COVID-19 death if it is determined that the person died as a result of COVID-19, not when someone has COVID-19 but dies primarily of another cause.

During this week’s Denton County Commissioners Court meeting, Richardson returned to wearing a mask while presenting his weekly update on the state of the virus in the county. New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been rising since late June, and that is expected to continue.

“We’ve had six weeks in a row of increases, but we’re not done,” Richardson said, encouraging residents to get vaccinated.

Friday’s active case count is 6,237, up from 1,444 on July 6 and 3,977 one week ago, according to DCPH data. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that 93% 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, who spoke during Tuesday’s Denton County Commissioners Court meeting. 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,” Rodriguez said, citing only two reported deaths in July.

Rodriguez added that all 633 deaths reported in the county as of Tuesday were people who weren’t vaccinated.

To minimize spread of COVID-19, DCPH urges all unvaccinated 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 are awaiting COVID-19 test results
  • If you are 12 years old or over, get your COVID-19 vaccine

If you are fully vaccinated, CDC recommends mask use in public indoor spaces.

Click here for more information about COVID-19 vaccines in Denton County. 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.

Parts of this news story originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at  www.texastribune.org/2021/07/27/texas-masks-cdc-covid-19/

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

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