UT Southwestern doctors predict 50 percent increase in hospitalizations if COVID-19 spread continues

Doctors at UT Southwestern project a 50 percent jump in hospitalizations in Dallas and Tarrant counties by mid-July if current COVID-19 rates continue.

Doctors say they’ve seen a jump in the data after recent holidays and are concerned July 4th weekend could lead to an exponential increase.

According to data from hospitals across North Texas, the region has seen a 148 percent increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations since June 1 and a 29 percent increase just the last week.

The forecasting team at UT Southwestern says the data also shows the virus is now spreading faster in Collin, Denton, Tarrant and Dallas counties and that corresponds with Memorial Day weekend activity and increased contact among people.

Doctors are stressing continued social distancing, avoiding large crowds, handwashing and wearing masks will help prevent the spread. But because of the virus’s 14-day incubation period, it could take some time before North Texas sees a downward trend.

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North Texas is currently testing at around 20 percent positive – that’s greater than the state positivity rate of about 13 percent.

“A person who gets infected today isn't going to become a hospitalized patient tomorrow. They're going to become a hospitalized patient a week, week and a half, two weeks from now and that delayed effect is hard to really think about and that's probably the most challenging thing about conveying that information. This isn't a race car. We can’t turn quickly if the giant barge that takes, you know, a week, two weeks to turn,” said Dr. Mujeeb Basit, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern.

Doctors say we could see the effects of the holiday weekend on testing and positive case numbers as soon as three days after.

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