35.5% Positivity Rate In Ellis County
Thanks to Omicron, COVID-19 is raging through the state of Texas like a wildfire scorching everything or everyone in its path. Last week we reported the state’s positivity rate was 23% which was a record, today the state’s positivity rate is 33.9%. In our areas, Dallas County is 33.1%, Tarrant County is 31.8%, and Ellis County is the highest at 35.5%. With the positivity rate this high, doctors say it suggests cases are being significantly undercounted.
According to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, any state at 10% or above is in what they classify as the “red zone.” COVID-19 cases in our state have increased by 374% over the past two weeks, with hospitalizations in Texas increasing by 87% over the same time period. (* data from NY Times).
This month Ellis County has reported the most COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, as of today there are 2,427 active COVID-19 cases. Ellis County report shows hospitalizations increased today with 49 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Eight patients are in the ICU and 41 are on a MedSurg unit.
In Dallas County the rise in hospitalizations led Parkland Hospital to Parkland Hospital opened two COVID wards last week, and a third ward was opened this week. Governor Abbott and state health officials asked the federal government with staffing help last week to offset staffing shortages in area hospitals.
Earlier today Governor Abbott met with state officials to discuss the current COVID-19 situation. Dr. Hellerstedt, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner, said that while vaccines have played a remarkable role in reducing the number of hospitalizations, and while vaccination rates continue to increase, many Texans are still eligible for the COVID-19 booster vaccine. Governor Abbott, Dr. Hellerstedt. and Dr. Shuford noted the importance of sharing accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine with the public—it is safe, easily accessible, and reduces the likelihood of hospitalization and severe disease.
As Texas prepares for a continued increase in cases and hospitalizations Abbott and officials discussed acquiring monoclonal antibodies from either a private supplier—as Texas has done—or the federal government, which now fully controls the distribution of monoclonal antibodies. Dr. Hellerstedt noted that while the Regeneron antibodies are not effective against the Omicron variant, it continues to make a remarkable difference for those diagnosed with other variants of COVID-19.
Looking at other therapeutic options, Dr. Hellerstedt discussed the efficacy of Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral pill, and how its anticipated availability in the coming weeks will continue to help reduce hospitalizations and severe cases. Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd said the state has a solid supply of PPE and continues to order COVID-19 testing supplies to keep up with demand.
COVID-19 tests continue to be in demand and test sites have limited availability. You can check your county or city website for testing information, check availability at Walgreens or CVS, or www.gogettested.com and www.curative.com. Local hospitals remind residents NOT to come to the ER for a COVID-19 test as it increases long wait times and may expose you to COVID-19 or another communicable disease.