Chief medical officer at Parkland Hospital optimistic after closing their COVID-19 units

COVID-19 hospitalizations have been below 5% across North Texas recently.

Parkland Hospital said just 20 patients in the hospital are coronavirus patients.

The continuing downtrend comes one year since lockdowns were imposed in Dallas County.

North Texas hospitals are starting to close COVID-19 wards and local governments are scaling back advisories.

Many feel renewed in the belief that we’re breaking away from the worst of COVID-19.

Case counts and hospitalizations are dropping, and thousands of North Texans are being vaccinated. Early on, some felt differently about the virus.

"This is a conspiracy. This is not real. This is not really going on, but yes, it was real," Lashonda Murphy said.

"Life was on hold for a pretty good time," Demond Strickland said.

This week, Dallas County lowered its own COVID-19 risk-level guidance, while understanding the state is allowing all businesses to full operate.

"Well, it’s more freedom. You know, it’s the ability to go in safely according to doctors now, get a haircut, get personal grooming, nails, whatever done," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.

Parkland Hospital announced Tuesday it closed all six of its COVID-19 exclusive wards, because the need is no longer there.

RELATED: Parkland Hospital closes COVID-19 units as patient numbers drop

It was treating more than 200 patients a day during the peak of the pandemic. On Tuesday, they had just above 20.

Parkland Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Chang recalls his lowest moment during the pandemic. It was a conversation with a nurse in his office.

"And just looked at me and said, ‘Are we going to save any of them today?’ Just think about that for a minute. I mean our ICU staff felt like they were not going to save anyone that day," he recalled.

Right now, COVID-19 hospitalizations account for about only 4% of all regional hospitalizations, and it’s been that way for more than a week.

"You know, now we have hope," Dr. Chang added.

Dr. Chang said he hopes we can reach a level of herd immunity this summer.