DENTON, Texas — The omicron variant is still driving a surge in Denton County.
Denton County Public Health Director Matt Richardson said the fight isn’t over.
“Our hospitals are being punished by these cases,” Richardson said. “We’re probably a week to 10 days from a decline, and we’re all looking forward to that.”
On Friday, Denton County Public Health reported 47,489 active COVID cases, a pandemic all-time high for the county. Adult ICU units in the county were 95% full and there were only five adult ICU beds available Friday.
Richardson said there’s a silver lining: omicron hasn’t been as deadly in his county and the hospitalization rate per case is down.
“We’re at about triple the cases of omicron when compared to delta. That’s a lot of COVID infection,” Richardson said.
The surge is hitting staff at hospitals and schools.
This week, Lewisville ISD in Denton County closed all schools from Wednesday to Friday due to staffing shortages.
In a letter to parents, interim Superintendent Gary Patterson said “Our staffing shortages have reached significant levels due to the latest COVID surge. We do not have enough staff members to cover the expected staff absences, despite our best efforts to find substitutes and coverage for classes. The numbers simply are not in our favor.”
Laura Couture, a Lewisville resident with two children at Lewisville ISD, told WFAA that her children recently contracted COVID-19. After quarantining for 10 days, they returned to school, but five days later the district-wide closure was announced.
“It just keeps spreading and we’re not slowing down,” Couture said. “I’m more concerned for the teachers than anything. This is their job, and if a teacher is going to school, they’re exhausted. They can’t catch a break.”
The district’s plan is to welcome students and staff back to schools on Monday, but that could change. Parents will find out by 2 p.m. on Sunday.
“I’m honestly hoping that maybe they’ll extend this a little bit,” Couture said.
Through all the pivoting over the last two years, Couture said the only way through is by rallying together.
Those who are treating COVID patients in the hospital hope the surge will be over soon.
“We’re really anxious and anticipating this decline of this wave, but we’re just begging people to stay home if you’re sick. Don’t go to school, don’t go to work, don’t meet with friends for dinner,” Richardson said.