COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths rapidly rising in North Texas

Although the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine is giving health care workers hope, the pandemic is certainly not over. Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all continuing to rise.

There were nearly 4,400 new cases and 28 deaths reported Monday across Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties. That includes another 22 deaths in Tarrant County – the fourth day in a row the county has seen more than 20 deaths per day.

RELATED: Tarrant County surpasses 1,000 COVID-19 deaths as hospitalizations reach record high

The seven-day rolling average of deaths in the North Texas region is going straight up. It hit another record high of 38 deaths in a day.

Statewide, there were nearly 8,800 new cases and 26 deaths reported. That’s lower than the local number of deaths because the state is about a day behind local data.

The seven-day rolling average of statewide coronavirus cases has been above the 11,000 mark for the past 11 days. The state is averaging about 187 deaths per day.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in local hospitals also jumped on Monday. There were 2,674 patients, an increase of 47 in the North Texas hospital region.

RELATED: Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases

Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth is currently caring for 17 children because of the coronavirus.

The children’s hospital set a record last week with 492 children testing positive for COVID-19 at all of its locations. That’s the largest number of positive tests it’s seen since the pandemic began.

The percentage of staffed hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in North Texas jumped above 17% for the first time. That’s due in part to an increase in patients and also because the number of available beds in the 19-county region fell by nearly 500 from the day before.

North Texas has been above the 15% threshold for eight straight days. It must stay below 15% for seven straight days to ease business restrictions.

RELATED: Coronavirus: The next wave

Statewide, Texas hospitals have more confirmed COVID-19 patients than they have since the end of July. There were more than 9,300 patients Monday, an increase of 74 from the day before.

Across the country, COVID-19 has now surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death. More than 300,000 people in the United States have died this year from the coronavirus.

RELATED: US surpasses 300,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins

Experts believe the actual number of deaths may be higher because of reporting issues in the early days of the pandemic. They don’t expect vaccines and other measure to bring down the number of deaths and cases in the U.S. until the spring.

Worldwide, the virus has now killed more than 1.6 million people.