COVID-19 hospitalizations drop below 16% for North Texas region for 1st time since December

On Saturday, COVID-19 patient levels for the North Texas region dropped below 16% for the first time in nearly two months.

As patient levels decline, health officials are hoping there won’t be any impact from Super Bowl gatherings.

The North Texas region hasn’t been under 16% of COVID-19 patient levels since early December.

Health officials said this is due to less community spread, but also, more deaths.

And though COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped below 16%, they still haven't dropped below the 15% threshold in Governor Greg Abbott's executive order to allow for certain reopening restrictions to be lifted.

Saturday, Dallas County had 818 coronavirus patients. A few weeks ago, that number was well above 1,000.

The steady decline, according to Dallas County Health Director Dr. Phil Huang, is because we have finally gotten past the surge caused by Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Huang does caution that the recent progress could be stalled due to the Super Bowl.

While Super Bowl Sunday isn’t as big as Christmas, large gatherings in homes or in public spaces do increase spread.

Dr. Huang said people need to not get comfortable.

"Hopefully, we will continue to see positive improvement in the hospital numbers. We are still all working to get more people vaccinated, the more and more vaccinated that helps," Dr. Huang said. "Hopefully, people will continue to be vigilant and wear masks. We can’t let up."

Dr. Huang said while the county has only reported four cases so far, there are new variants in Dallas County that are more contagious.

So, he said masking, even double masking, is important in the coming weeks.