North Texas COVID-19 hospitalizations could return to pre-omicron levels, latest forecast says

The Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation released an encouraging COVID-19 forecast for North Texas.

The report released on Tuesday says new local cases are dropping with some help from the ice storm and the widespread school cancellations.

There are currently a little more than 2,400 with COVID-19 hospitalized in the North Texas region. That's a big decrease from last week and from the high reached during the omicron surge on Jan. 20.

Things are looking so good that we could reach pre-omicron levels within two weeks. From there, we could continue the pandemic on a new, lower baseline of cases and hospitalizations. 

Schools were hit hard by omicron.

Donnisha Funches has a 5 and 4-year-old students and a newborn at home.

"It’s been pretty nerve wracking, but it’s something that we really couldn’t go against because your children need the education," she said. "The biggest fear is for it to come home to the infant, and her immune system isn’t as strong as theirs."

North Texas COVID-19 hospitalizations drop by nearly 1,000 in one week

There's more evidence we've turned the corner.

Dr. Steve Miff is CEO of Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation says week-over-week cases are dropping 50%.

"It went up extremely fast. It’s coming down fast as well," he said.

That means more good news is around the corner.

"We can be two weeks away from reaching pre-omicron levels in cases," Dr. Miff said.

Grand Prairie ISD’s Sam Buchmeyer says they had several hundred of teachers out sick during omicron’s peak. They only had a 50% fill rate for substitute teachers.

US COVID-19 death toll hits 900,000, sped by omicron

"Now what we’re seeing here as we enter this week is that the omicron numbers are going down," she said. "That means about half of our available sub positions we could fill. The rest we had to fill in other ways."

Grand Prairie ISD combined classes and placed staff normally not teaching in classrooms.

"Our superintendent even served in a classroom," Buchmeyer said.

Now, 75% of substitute requests are filled. Cases are falling.

"We have three active adult cases and 39 active student cases," Buchmeyer said.

COVID falling in 49 of 50 states as deaths near 900,000

Grand Prairie ISD never had to close, but some districts closed due to outbreaks and staff shortages.

"Literally, what we’ve seen in previous peaks happened over a period of three months we saw with omicron happening over a period of three weeks," Dr. Miff said.

He believes this might carry us to a manageable stage.

"But honestly nobody knows," Dr. Miff said.

Parents sure hope so.

"Boring compared to how life was before, but I guess it’s coming around," Funches said.

Tuesday was the first time since the week of Christmas that the state's COVID positivity rate dropped below 20%.