Health officials believe Dallas County has reached peak of omicron surge

A healthcare analytics organization believes Dallas County has hit its peak number of omicron cases.

The Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation warns, though, that there will be difficult weeks ahead.

One expert said Dallas County is at the top of the mountain, but at this height, there’s a long way down.

There is a glimpse of positive news in the battle against the COVID-19 variant that’s disrupted schools, taxed hospital systems, and taken the lives of more Texans.

Officials at the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation say Dallas County has reached the top of the mountain in this surge.

"We're at a high, high peak in cases right now, and the hospitalizations and mortality will unfortunately follow," Parkland Center For Clinical Innovation CEO Steve Miff said.

Miff said that despite evidence we are turning the corner, it’s not time for people to relax.

"Psychologically, you know, it makes sense, right? Like we reached the worst it could get," he explained. "Well, hopefully it's the worst we can get. But we're also the period of time where we literally were the most vulnerable because we have the most cases, active cases in the community."

While the peak in cases comes before the peak in hospitalizations, there are signs hospitalizations could be plateauing. State data shows the North Texas area added a net of more than 330 hospitalizations over the last seven days. The seven days prior to that was more than 800, and prior to that, more than 900.

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Modelers at UT-Southwestern this week bumped down their forecasted peak, citing "hospitalizations increasing at a slower rate, plateaus in test positivity rates, lower levels of mobility, and increases in masking over the past week."

Miff notes it will still be a rough go ahead for healthcare workers.

"It likely is going to take at least six to seven weeks until we get to more manageable, manageable levels," he added.

Miff said even though overall cases are at a peak, pediatric cases are still a concern.

This week, schools like those in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD temporarily closed due to cases impacted students and staff.

Joining several other districts that have done so over the past few weeks..

"So we're still seeing rapid increases in schools and probably now, no surprise there, because that is also the group that's least vaccinated," Miff said.

State health officials launched a new web page that tracks COVID-19 outcomes by vaccination status.

In the 28 days leading up to Christmas, those who were not vaccinated were 16 times more likely to die of a COVID associated illness than someone vaccinated.