North Texas has crossed a critical threshold in the number of hospital patients battling COVID-19, which could cause bars to close and lower store and restaurant occupancy if such cases do not decrease within a week.
With more than 2,300 patients tested positive for coronavirus in the area of 19 district hospitals, 15.05% of all beds were occupied by a person with COVID-19, according to state data.
Hospitals were approaching the 15% red line – set by Gov. Greg Abbott in October ̵
Currently, most companies in the area can operate at 75% capacity. But under Abbott’s executive order of October 7, businesses will be forced to limit capacity to 50% if they are located in a region where more than 15% of hospital patients have tested positive for coronavirus for seven consecutive days. The interest rate must fall below the red line for a week before business capacity rises again.
“As the number of positive cases increases, our health heroes need your patriotism and sacrifice,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement Friday. “Please postpone meetings and avoid crowds to protect public health and the economy.”
The region of 19 counties includes Dallas and Taranto counties, as well as smaller counties, including Rockwall, Cook and Hunt.
A total of 8,518 people were hospitalized in Texas on Friday with COVID-19, the state said. That’s about 2,400 shy of the state’s top set in July.
Nine of the state’s 22 regions reported at least one day above the 15% threshold this week. And another hovered just below him Friday. The region that includes El Paso is the worst, with about 35% of all hospital patients battling COVID-19.
Abbott posted a more rosy forecast on Twitter on Friday, stressing that the percentage of infected patients in El Paso counties has fallen for two weeks in a row, and the state’s positivity is declining.
Earlier this month, Abbott rejected the idea of re-shrinking the economy across the country. Another stop would have a detrimental effect, he said. At the time of his comments – just eight days ago – six of the state’s regions were above the line.
Some smaller hospitals have a particularly difficult time managing the virus. Officials at a hospital in Rockwall County, about 30 miles east of Dallas, said it had been exceeded this week.
As of Wednesday, 75% of hospital beds were full of patients with COVID-19, Rockwall Hospital officials said. The employment rate is 120%.
“That means we currently have 72 patients in need of one of our 60 beds,” wrote Cindy Perrin, president of Texas Rockwall Health Hospital, in a holiday letter ahead of Thanksgiving to the community, first reported by NBC5. “Listen to our nurses and others repeating these sentiments across the United States … Please wear a mask, limit gatherings, wash your hands, and act responsibly.”
Rockwall County is slightly ahead of the rest of the North Texas region in hospital capacity. A map based on state data released by Dallas and Taranto counties earlier this month showed that Rockwall’s limited hospital capacity is much more intense than larger counties. Rockwall is home to about 105,000 people, part of the 7 million people who live in North Texas.
Most counties do not report new tests or hospital records due to Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, Dallas County reported only 26 adult beds for the intensive care unit. The county bases this number on data reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Advisory Board, an agency that helps hospitals coordinate different jurisdictions and track state data.
That’s where the numbers are right now.
Dallas County will resume reporting new data on Saturday. On Wednesday, the county reported 1,368 new cases of coronavirus and six more deaths from COVID-19.
There are 122,184 confirmed cases and 11,627 probable cases registered in the county. He also registered 1,202 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 and 29 probable deaths.
Dallas County officials did not report recovery, noting that the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not use this metric.
For the 24-hour period that ended Tuesday, 764 patients with COVID-19 were in emergency care at county hospitals. During the same period, 508 emergency department visits were for symptoms of the disease.
Saturday numbers will include data processed on Wednesday night, while Sunday report will include COVID-19 data from Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Taranto County health officials will begin publishing new data on Sunday.
On Wednesday, the county reported 1,302 coronavirus cases and three new deaths.
There are 95,989 cases registered in the county, including 85,010 that have been confirmed and 10,979 that are likely. A total of 67,595 recovered. The number of victims is 838.
As of Wednesday, 812 people had been hospitalized with the virus.
The state added 271 coronavirus cases to Friday’s total in Colin County, leading to 25,153. Three more COVID-19 deaths have been reported, leading to 251 county deaths.
According to state data, there are 3,057 active cases of the virus in the county.
The county’s coronavirus dashboard only provides general hospitalizations, which are 260.
In a report Friday, Denton County announced 305 cases of coronavirus.
The county has registered 22,789 cases of COVID-19, including 5,345 active and 17,296 recovered. The number of victims is 148.
According to county data, 137 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized on Friday. Nineteen percent of all hospital beds had a COVID-19 positive patient.
The Texas Department of Public Health has taken responsibility for these other counties in North Texas. In some of them, new data may not be reported every day.
The latest numbers are:
- Rockwall County: 2,948 cases, 36 deaths.
- Kaufman County: 4,870 cases, 80 deaths.
- Ellis County: 6,828 cases, 111 deaths.
- Johnson County: 5,327 cases, 103 deaths.