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COVID-19 updates: Lewisville ISD to close this week due to staffing shortages brought by rising cases

Lewisville ISD officials say hundreds of staff members are absent daily due to COVID and other reasons.

DALLAS —

Lewisville ISD to close this week

Lewisville ISD officials have decided to close the district starting on Wednesday, Jan. 26. Classes are expected to resume Monday, Jan. 31.

In a letter to parents, interim superintendent Gary Patterson cited staffing shortages due to rising COVID-19 cases as the reason to shut down the district.

According to Patterson, absences for on-campus staff is reaching 700 to 800 daily due to COVID-19 and other medical reasons. District-wide staffing absences peaked at 1,048 last Friday, Patterson said.

"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," the superintendent said.

95% of Parkland deaths were unvaccinated, Dallas hospital says

A little more than a year after rolling out vaccines to the public, Parkland Hospital officials in Dallas are still urging people to get vaccinated.

According to Parkland data, 95% of the 685 people who have died of COVID-19 at the hospital have been unvaccinated.

"The message hasn’t changed," Dr. Joseph Chang, chief medical officer at Parkland, said in a news release. "Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to protect yourself from this deadly virus. Once you’re in that hospital bed being placed on a ventilator, it’s too late."

In Dallas County, 66.43% of the population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to county data.

In the news release Monday, Parkland featured Maria Campos-Ramirez, a 43-year-old Dallas woman who lost her older brother to COVID-19 in September. Campos-Ramirez also had two uncles and a cousin died of COVID-19, including one who was just 16.

Campos-Ramirez got vaccinated and also opted to have her 5-year-old son get vaccinated, when his age group became eligible.

"We never know if we’ll be able to hug a loved one tomorrow," Campos-Ramirez said. "The only thing we can do right now is get vaccinated."

While Omicron cases of COVID-19 have surged in recent weeks, COVID-19 deaths in Dallas have declined in January, from a seven-day rolling average of 3.57 on Jan. 7 to 1.29 last week.

Dallas County reported 4,874 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the most recent data available. 

Statewide, Texas reported 49,197 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and 77 deaths. There were 13,099 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Texas, as of Saturday, and 4,184 in the North Texas region, according to the latest state data.

Region E hospitalizations just under 4,000

According to the latest data, 3,985 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19, which is a 137 patient decrease from Friday. 

Currently, COVID-19 accounts for 28% percent of all available bed capacity. Among adult ICU beds, only 44 are available, and nearly half of those are occupied by COVID patients. 

There are 151 pediatric COVID-19 patients in the region's hospitals which is a decrease of four pediatric COVID-19 patients from Friday.

HEB ISD cases at record high, but no closures yet

Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD officials say the district's COVID-19 cases are at a record high, but no closures are planned yet.

Superintendent Steve Chapman said the district is "monitoring HEB ISD's data daily and preparing plans in case that situation changes."

"We recognize the heroic effort of our teachers and staff members, and we know that when someone on our team must be absent, coworkers are stepping up in remarkable ways to fill the gap," Chapman said in a letter to parents and families.

Chapman said the district is planning to "deploy central office staff" to help fill in the gaps in classrooms where teachers might be absent. 

HEB reported 224 positive cases among staff last week. Case totals among students were not available.

4,400 new COVID-19 cases in Denton County

Denton County Public Health says 4,400 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Denton County, increasing the cumulative, countywide total to 151,672 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

It's the county's highest number of new COVID cases in a single day, with the second-highest day (4,259) logged just last week on Jan. 19.

1,900+ new cases, 14 deaths reported in Dallas County

Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 1,941 additional positive COVID cases were recorded on Friday, bringing the county's cumulative total to 426,892. Fourteen more people died from the virus, the county said, bringing the total deaths connected to COVID to 5,721.

As of Jan. 15, health officials reported that nearly 42% of COVID tests were positive for the virus. 

As of Jan. 8, about 78% of Dallas County residents age 12 years and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the county said.

Tarrant County sets a record

On Monday, Tarrant County set a record of new COVID cases reported in a day with 10,466. The previous record, set the week of Jan. 19, was 9,957 cases.

Another nine people died, brining the county total to 5,165 deaths. A total of 1,324 remain hospitalized in the county, a decrease from 62.

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