Dallas, Tarrant counties report record high COVID-19 hospitalizations

Though you’ll often find folks who live in Tarrant and Dallas counties pointing to what makes them unique, on Wednesday, they shared an unfortunate commonality: record high COVID-19 hospitalizations.

There are 996 COVID patients hospitalized in Tarrant County and Dallas County has 838.

Dallas County also reported a record number of new cases, with more than 2,400 confirmed and probable.

Dr. Rajesh Nandy teaches biostatistics and public health at the UNT Health Science Center.

“The peak is pretty high, so that means we don’t really have any room for another surge or anything, so in that sense, it’s very precarious,” he said.

There were big concerns about the virus ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Nandy said the data shows people moved around less, and the public’s decision to follow health guidelines paid off.

While there have been steady increases, there has not been a sharp jump.

“Based on the evidence we have, I don’t think Thanksgiving made things any worse,” he said.

FILE - Medical staff members treat a patient suffering from coronavirus in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on November 10, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

Some researchers still expect the situation to get worse.

A UT Southwestern model out this week projects hospitalizations in Tarrant County could hit more than 1,400 by Christmas, while Dallas would stay flatter.

Dr. Nandy believes both Dallas and Tarrant counties will at least flatten out, and perhaps we’ll avoid overrunning major hospitals systems.

“I hope that people will exhibit very similar behavior during Christmas time, and as I said, my best hope is that things at least remain stable until we have wide availability of vaccines,” he said.

One point of concern is the resources available for those who are critically ill.

There are still fewer than 100 available ICU beds in North Texas, according to state data.

In Tarrant County, a record high 46% of ventilators are currently being used to keep people alive.