Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Amid COVID-19 surge, Denton County reported 17 new deaths this week

Denton County Public Health announced this week that 17 more county resident s’ deaths were determined to have been a result of COVID-19, bringing the countywide COVID-19 death toll to 659.

The deaths reported this week include a Lewisville woman in her 40s, a man in his 40s who resided in unincorporated southwest Denton County (which includes Lantana), a Flower Mound man in his 60s, an Aubrey man in his 60s, two Denton men in their 60s, a Lake Dallas man in his 60s, a woman in her 60s who who resided in unincorporated southwest Denton County, a man in his 60s who resided in unincorporated northwest Denton County, a man in his 60s who resided in unincorporated northeast Denton County, a man in his 60s who resided in unincorporated southeast Denton County, a Lewisville woman in her 70s, a Denton woman in her 70s, a Lake Dallas woman in her 70s, a man in his 70s who resided in southwest Denton County, a Lewisville man over 80 and a Frisco man over 80.

“Please keep their families and friends in your thoughts and prayers,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads.

DCPH only rules a resident’s death as a COVID-19 death if it is determined that the person died as a direct result of COVID-19. Actual dates of death can be released several days to several months after the date of death, due to various reporting agencies and medical records review.

During Tuesday’s Denton County Commissioners Court meeting, DCPH Director Dr. Matt Richardson said the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have not yet reached the worst of the pandemic, which was in February, but staffing issues mean the hospitals are just as swamped as they were during the pandemic’s peak.

“Staffing shortages are so severe in Denton County … there are fewer beds available for us to occupy in an emergency,” Richardson said. “It’s essentially the same threat to hospital system as the fall and winter (during the peak of the pandemic).”

According to DCPH data on Friday, 90 ICU beds in Denton County were occupied, and only four were available. Nearly 88% of all Denton County inpatient beds were occupied.

Friday’s active case count is 10,009, up from 1,444 on July 6, according to DCPH data. The pandemic high in Denton County was above 15,000 active cases in February. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that 95% of all current cases in North Texas are the Delta variant.

“It is proving to be vastly more infectious than the original COVID-19 virus,” Richardson said.

Denton County officials continue to urge unvaccinated residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Richardson said the vaccines are proving to be over 90% effective, an efficacy rate he called “life-changing.”

People with compromised immune systems who already got two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can now get a third shot to boost their protection from COVID-19. DCPH has revised the Vaccine Interest Portal to allow individuals who meet the eligibility criteria for a third dose to register for upcoming DCPH vaccination clinics.

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.

If you are severely immunocompromised, consider an additional dose of mRNA vaccine after your initial two doses.

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.

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

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