Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins Requests Added Statewide Restrictions, Unemployment Slightly Dips In Texas And Another Vaccine Shows Promise.
Last week we reported another single-day high, which has since been surmounted, unfortunately.
With hope just over the horizon as we learn of yet another vaccine’s promising trials, it’s important not to let the pandemic fatigue get the best of you. As one Arlington family who made headlines this weekend learned, the repercussions of a small gathering simply aren’t worth it. All of that and more comprise pandemic-related news in North Texas this week.
- On Monday, Dallas County reported an additional 521 confirmed cases and 7 new deaths. Of the cases, 20 are probable, leading to a total of 541 cases. This brings the cumulative total case count to 119,483 and the total death toll to 1,191.
NEW: Dallas County Reports 541 New Positive 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases and 7 Deaths
Including 20 Probable Cases pic.twitter.com/c6VfcOQOZd
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) November 23, 2020
- On Monday, 4,568 of 5,859 hospital beds were occupied, bringing total occupancy to 78 percent. Of 917 total ICU beds in Dallas hospitals, 711 were filled, while 383 of Dallas’ 995 ventilators were in use.
Here are the bed and ventilator capacity statistics as reported by 25 hospitals in the @CityOfDallas:
Total beds: 5859
Beds occupied: 4568 (78%)
Total ICU beds: 917
ICU beds occupied: 711 (78%)
Total ventilators: 995
Ventilators in use: 383 (38%)
— Mayor Eric Johnson (@Johnson4Dallas) November 23, 2020
- With cases spiking, city officials called for tighter restrictions to the deaf ear of Governor Abbott. Other DFW leaders have also reached out to Abbott for broader flexibility when enforcing restrictions to little avail. The Dallas Morning News reported that in total, the DFW counties that make up the North Central Texas Council of Governments reported 269,947 cases and 3,485 deaths. Abbott has been quiet on the issue of the new wave of COVID-19 cases for more than a month.
- An Arlington family has 15 members test positive for COVID after a gathering that only included 12. The Aragonez family let their guard down for a birthday party after months of social distancing, according to the DMN. On November 1, 12 family members gathered in doors without masks leading all of them to contracting the virus and spreading it to an additional three relatives who were not present. The event also left 57-year-old Enriquetta Aragonez hospitalized for a week with oxygen before returning home, and she has not yet regained her sense of taste or smell. The family has since released a public service announcement with a message that urges others to learn from their mistakes and follow CDC guidelines.
- A new vaccine developed by Oxford University and produced by AstraZeneca has reported late-stage results up to 90% effective. AstraZeneca follows Pfizer and Moderna, which previously announced similar results with their vaccine trials. Unlike those two, though, the AstraZeneca vaccine does not require storage in sub-zero temperatures and is cheaper at $2.50 a dose compared to Pfizer’s $20 a dose and Moderna’s $15-$25 range. Once approved, AstraZeneca will apply for an emergency-use listing with the WHO for use in underdeveloped countries. These results came from U.K. and Brazilian trials involving 23,000 participants.
- The Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel has released a priority list for those who will be among the first to receive the limited supply of coronavirus vaccines. Dallas healthcare workers can breathe easy with this decision, as hospital staff, direct care providers and first responders top the list. Tier two is made up of outpatient workers who treat COVID-19-related symptoms, school nurses, embalmers and those administering vaccines. There are currently three vaccines estimated to be ready for ration as early as next month.
- Richardson ISD will begin its voluntary in-school coronavirus screening program on December 1. The District received its rapid antigen tests as part of a statewide initiative to help catalogue and reduce viral contamination. Abbott Laboratories will be administering BinaxNOW tests from the federal government that will be available to those experiencing symptoms in class. If students experience coronavirus symptoms while at home they should not return to school to receive a test and should instead seek a medical provider or call the school nurse. Minors must have parental consent.
- DFW unemployment fell from 7.4% to 6.9% for the month of October. Though this might seem like generally good news, the percentage is still double the number of people unemployed at this time last year. The DMN reports that part of the fall is due to people leaving the workforce altogether. In October, 105,000 workers left the workforce across the state, following 120,000 who left in September.