DALLAS — Texas set a new record Wednesday for COVID-19 cases reported in a single day, with 75,817 total new cases. It comes as the state deals with a wave brought on by the fast-spreading omicron variant, according to the state health department.
According to the Texas Department of State and Health Services, the state has reported over 300,000 new COVID cases in just the last week alone.
That number, according to DSHS, is:
- enough to fill Kyle Field or Darrell K Royal three times
- nearly the entire population of Corpus Christi
- 1% of the entire population of Texas
And with a test positivity rate of more than 35%, DSHS said "COVID has never spread this fast in Texas."
There were 136 additional deaths reported and 531 additional patients hospitalized, bringing the total COVID-positive patients to 11,571 in the state, data shows.
Record pediatric hospitalizations
Multiple counties in North Texas are in the state health department's Trauma Service Area (TSA) E. There are 3,710 COVID patients in TSA E, an increase of 286 from the day before.
There are 643 adults in the ICU, with 52 ICU beds available in TSA E.
In Tarrant County, the bed occupancy rate is 92%, with 27% of beds occupied by COVID patients, county data shows. The adult ICU occupancy rate for the county is 97%.
At John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, there are 202 COVID-19 patients, an increase of four patients compared to Tuesday.
Cook Children's said on Wednesday that they have reached a record number of COVID-19 patients.
The region had 147 pediatric COVID-19 patients, which was an increase of 23 from Monday, D-FW Hospital Council CEO and President Stephen Love said.
On Tuesday, Love said that hospitals are experiencing an increase in patients with COVID.
"It is obvious we are surging from Omicron as our numbers are the highest since early September 2021," Love said. "Our number one concern is staffing as our healthcare heroes are fatigued and we need additional staffing for all our patients."
Omicron makes up nearly 100% of positive COVID-19 tests that are sequenced at UT Southwestern in Dallas, according to its latest report. To determine a test's specific variant, the sample must be genetically sequenced.
The last major surge of cases in Texas, when the delta variant was the dominant strain of COVID, was during August, September and October. Cases dipped to around 3,000 to 4,000 a day in November until the omicron variant started spreading in December in Texas.
On Dec. 6, officials announced the first Texan to test positive with the omicron variant was a woman from Harris County. She had not traveled recently when she got it, showing the variant was being spread in the community.
Friendship-West Baptist Church test sites
Friendship-West Baptist Church is hosting free COVID rapid testing clinics every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 3030 W. Wheatland Rd. in Dallas.
Attendees should enter Gate 4. Masks are required. While appointments are not required, testing is first-come, first-served.
Vaccines are also available every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m.
Cedar Hill postpones MLK celebration
The city of Cedar Hill has postponed the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration due to the significant rise in COVID cases. It has been moved to Feb. 27.
"We are disappointed to delay this celebration, but look forward to honoring Dr. King's legacy safely next month," the city tweeted.
Richardson ISD asking for volunteers
As school districts face a shortage of teachers and substitutes amid the omicron surge, Richardson ISD is asking for volunteers, like parents and community members, to help keep schools open.
Volunteers will be required to undergo a background check, and can help a school in the cafeteria, monitoring students, assisting in the front office, arrival or dismissal duties, or substituting in a classroom, depending on qualifications and experience.