One in four North Texas hospital patients has COVID-19, officials say

One in four hospital patients on Monday in the Dallas Fort Worth region has COVID-19, health officials say.

The latest UT Southwestern modeling projects that number will double in Dallas and Tarrant counties within the next 3 weeks.

"At the rate we’re going, if we continue on the track we’re on, January is going to be a very tough month," said Stephen Love, President, DFW Hospital Council. "This is almost a vertical jump, based on how contagious omicron is."

COVID patients make up 40 percent of adult ICU hospitalizations in Trauma Service Area E, which includes most of North Texas. That’s lower than it was during a Delta surge four months ago on Sept. 10, when COVID patients made up 50 percent of ICU hospitalizations.

"I know people think, well it’s not as bad as Delta, but we get many more people infected," Love said.

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The statewide positivity rate is now at 36.4 percent -- more than 4 times what it was just 30 days ago. And higher than during peaks in July 2020 and January 2021, which both topped out at about 20 percent.

At Cook Children’s Medical Center, the positivity rate is nearly 40 percent and the daily case count has doubled since Sept. 2021. Health officials say the true number of overall cases is likely much higher than what's been documented.

"It’s not the same old same old story. It’s a new chapter, every day. And we’ve got to pay attention to the new chapters and deal with it as best we can," Love said.

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Testing sites continue to see a steady stream of people.

Paul Christopher was surprised to see a relatively short wait at a site in Watauga.

"The entire family is not feeling well," Christopher said. "The kids go to school and so they are around other people. And I think uh if it is positive, that would be where it would have come from."

New testing sites, like one in White Settlement, continue to pop up in Tarrant County to meet the continued high demand.

Love urged North Texans to take precautions like wearing a mask or avoiding large crowds.

"The things we did before we had vaccines. If we could do that, we would at least help stop or slow the spread," he said.

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