Monday, January 17, 2022

Denton County reports 4 COVID-19 deaths this week

Friday, Dec. 17

Denton County Public Health reported four more COVID-19 deaths this week, bringing the countywide COVID-19 death toll to 757.

One death, of a Frisco man in his 70s, was reported Tuesday. The other three — a Carrollton woman in her 50s, a woman in her 70s who lived in unincorporated southeast Denton County and a man over 80 who lived in The Colony — were reported Friday.

“As we announce the deaths of three community members due to COVID-19, please keep their families in your thoughts and prayers,” stated Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “We hope community members will get vaccinated and boosted, as vaccination remains the best way to reduce the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and death. And, during the holidays, we hope you will take the recommended precautions to keep you and your family safe.”

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 fact, due to various reporting agencies and medical records review.

Active cases have continued to hold pretty steady. The number of active cases fell from over 16,000 on Oct. 1 down below 5,500 in late November, though that number has hovered around 5,000-5,200 the past few weeks. Denton County hospitals do not have a lot of capacity left; about 89% of all inpatient beds are occupied, and 97% (75 of 77) ICU beds are occupied, as of Friday.

During Tuesday’s Denton County Commissioners Court meeting, Denton County Public Health Director Dr. Matt Richardson discussed the new Omicron variant, which preliminary data suggests may overtake Delta as the dominant variant of COVID-19. Delta has made up about 99% of all COVID-19 cases in Denton County for months. Preliminary reports suggest that Omicron is easier to spread, though patients’ symptoms are not usually different or more serious.

Richardson said that early studies show that three doses of the current vaccines are effective against Omicron, which was confirmed Monday by a laboratory to have infected a Denton County resident from Fort Worth who had traveled domestically recently. It underscores the importance of vaccination and boosters, Richardson said.

“The Omicron variant test result here in Denton County underscores what we already know: COVID-19 remains an ongoing pandemic and Denton County has continuing risk,” Richardson said. “Vaccines, boosters and preventive practices remain our best way to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

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

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