Health officials say COVID-19 surge in North Texas will likely continue into January

Despite the public health warnings, the COVID-19 outlook for North Texas is not encouraging.

Dallas County has seen a surge in COVID-19 fatalities this week, the hospital situation is bleak, and case numbers for this region continue to trend upward.

With millions traveling for the Christmas holiday, North Texas health officials fear the already surging coronavirus situation will get worse.

This time of the year is traditionally filled with large family gatherings, cherishing memories, and exchanging gifts.

For some people, that won’t be what Christmas looks like this year.

"For some, its profoundly different. For some, they lost a loved one this week or stand to lose their loved one in the coming days to weeks. It’s hard to wrap your head around this," said Dr. Mark Casanova, with Baylor Scott & White.

North Texas is currently dealing with the worst of the pandemic so far.

Since Sunday, Dallas County has reported more than 100 COVID-19 deaths. Dozens of deaths have been reported in Tarrant County as well.

And new cases continue to reach pandemic-high levels across North Texas.

"We are still on the uptrend from Thanksgiving, and to watch news reports and see crowded airports, its disheartening," Dr. Casanova added.

Health officials are urging people to only spend the holiday with their household.

Wednesday alone, nearly 1.2 million people passed through U.S. airports, marking the busiest travel day since the start of the pandemic.

AAA predicts 81 million people will travel by car this season.

It leads to a fear of what things will look like come January.

"We are really fearful the first two weeks of January are going to be extremely surge because it is going to be the effect of the holiday," said Stephen Love, with the DFW Hospital Council.

While the Metroplex is larger than some state populations, there are more COVID-19 patients in North Texas than all COVID-19 patients in Arkansas and Louisiana combined.

According to the State Department of Health and Human Services, 3,276 coronavirus patients are currently in North Texas hospitals and 88 ICU beds are left.

Love shared the story of one nurse who worked a double shift this week and what happened to her patients.

"Veteran nurse, had been nursing for a number of years, she had five patients die during that time. She was holding the hands of three of them as they took their last breath. This is the message people need to hear. We are not trying to scare you, we are trying to let you know this is a very dangerous situation," he explained.