Current Denton County COVID-19 surge is worse than the summer

For the first time in weeks, Denton County's public health director gave an update on COVID-19 there.

The news wasn't good. The current surge is worse than the summer.

ICU beds are running low, and hospitals are getting reinforcements from the state to increase staffing.

Denton County Public Health says COVID-19 cases are growing in almost every age group, especially those under 19. The county only expects those numbers to continue to rise.

As the North Texas region surpasses 15% in COVID-19 hospitalizations for the fifth day in a row, Denton County is trending even worse.

Denton County is far exceeding the surge the region saw in the summer, with increases in most age groups, including children.

“Our seven-day rolling average is 17.4%. So again, we’re higher than the region average. We’re impacted negatively,” explained Denton County Public Health Director Dr. Matt Richardson. “We’ll be growing this week and we expect those to exceed 11/1 to 11/7. So we’re going to be breaking records in pediatric cases, that’s our projection.”

Four hospitals in Denton County recently requested state assistance, asking for more than 130 personnel. It reported 140 hospitalized virus patients Tuesday. It’s the fifth time in a week that the daily number has been 140 or higher.

According to Denton County Public Health, COVID-19 patients are taking up more than half of the county’s ICU beds, with just 14 ICU beds still available. 

“That is something that has not happened before,” Dr. Richardson said. “We are in new territory in COVID-19 transmission and impact on our infrastructure.”

Denton County, along with other counties in the region, are now two days away from reaching the governor’s seven-day 15% threshold which would roll back some reopenings.

“We exceeded the governor’s threshold as a county on November the 21st,” Dr. Richardson said. “We went over 15%. We were at 15.4. We have remained over that until yesterday and we’re at 16.3.”

“After the seventh day and we continue down that track we’re going right now, we would see this executive order enforced at that point by the governor’s office,” explained Deputy County Administrator Jody Gonzalez.

The latest numbers show 71.5% of the total beds in Denton County are occupied. But there are still over 200 beds and over 200 ventilators available.