Thursday, October 21, 2021

Denton County’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate coming down

Tuesday, Sept. 28

Local health officials see reason for optimism in the latest local COVID-19 data.

For the past few weeks, Denton County Public Health has been expecting COVID-19 numbers to plateau and hoping for good news about the current state of the pandemic in Denton County. Tuesday, DCPH Director Dr. Matt Richardson said there are more “silver linings” in the data.

“We’re not out of the woods, but we do see improvement,” Richardson said during Tuesday’s Denton County Commissioners Meeting.

In early September, more than 32% of all inpatient hospital beds in Denton County were occupied by COVID-19 patients, and more than 36% of all inpatient hospitalizations were COVID-19 patients. Those numbers are now down to about 22% and 26%, respectively, a good sign, Richardson said.

“We are improving countywide; really, really good news,” Richardson said. “Something that’s to be celebrated and pursued — we’ve got to keep up that great work.”

Hospital capacity is still high in Denton County, with 89% of all inpatient beds occupied and 98% of adult ICU beds occupied (only two ICU beds are available), according to DCPH data.

The surge of active COVID-19 cases that began in early July has slowed considerably in the past few weeks. While the county’s number of active cases — 16,116 — is higher than ever before, it is expected to plateau soon and, hopefully, decline again.

On Monday and Tuesday, DCPH reported four more residents’ deaths were determined to have been a result of COVID-19, bringing the countywide COVID-19 death toll to 690: a Dallas woman in her 30s, a Lewisville man in his 60s, a Carrollton man in his 70s and a woman in her 70s who lived in unincorporated southwest Denton County, which includes Lantana.

“We ask that you keep the family and friends of this individual in your thoughts and prayers,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “As we see high numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations and intensive care utilization across our community, we strongly urge all community members to protect themselves against severe illness and death through COVID-19 vaccination.”

DCPH announced over the weekend that it will soon begin sending self-scheduling links to DCPH-vaccinated individuals eligible for a COVID-19 Pfizer booster dose. The FDA, CDC, and the Texas Department of State Health Services recently approved booster doses for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine recipients.

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 is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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