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COVID headlines: Dallas County reports another one-day record number of new cases

Dallas County reported over 6,500 new cases and 11 more deaths Friday.

FORT WORTH, Texas —

Dallas County reports another record high for one day

For the second day in a row, Dallas County health officials reported a record-high number of new COVID-19 cases for one day.

On Friday, 6,589 new cases were reported, along with 11 more deaths. The county reported 6,310 cases on Thursday.

Of the 11 deaths, the youngest was a woman in her 20s who died at her home and had underlying high risk health conditions.

Richardson ISD rolls out mask policy

Richardson ISD says it will be temporarily requiring masks for three weeks, after seeing a spike in positive COVID-19 cases across the district. 

Masks will be required for grades Pre-K through 12 and for all people inside schools, beginning Monday, Jan. 10.

According to the district, active cases rose from 49 total cases on Dec. 7 to 1,089 on Jan. 6, a more than 2100% increase. 

The district added it will assess pandemic conditions ahead of Jan. 31 to determine if the mask requirement will continue or if the district will return to a "targeted approach" to mask protocols based on class, grade level and school-by-school data.

Click here for full details.

Traveling healthcare workers coming to North Texas to help with surge

John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth will soon receive some additional staff support as they deal with an influx of patients.

On Friday there were 13 additional COVID patients, reaching a total of 183, according to data. JPS Health Network tweeted that within the next week, there will be 49 additional traveling healthcare workers to help care for patients.

Multiple counties in North Texas are in the state health department's Trauma Service Area E. There are 2,746 COVID patients. Of those, 127 are pediatric patients. For adult patients, 498 are in ICU beds, and 2,121 are in general hospital beds.

President and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council W. Stephen Love says that adult COVID patients account for 32.4% of adult ICU patients.

"It is obvious we are surging from Omicron as our numbers are the highest since the end of September 2021," Love said Thursday.

Love says that he’s anticipating approximately 1,000 state-supplied traveling nurses to arrive in North Texas over the next few days to help with staffing at local hospitals.

"We recommend people wear masks, stay out of large crowds and gatherings. If unvaccinated, please get vaccinated as the omicron variant is very contagious and is causing this serious surge in North Texas," Love said.

COVID projections

UT Southwestern released its COVID forecasting on Wednesday, reporting that, locally, the omicron variant is now by far the dominant variant and represents more than 95% of sequenced cases.

"Hospitalizations in Dallas and Tarrant Counties are projected to continue to increase rapidly in near term and will likely exceed previous peaks by the end of January," UT Southwestern said.

Local transmission of COVID may increase further with the recent holiday gatherings, UT Southwestern added.

The positivity rates statewide "are currently at their highest recorded level since the pandemic began and are still increasing," UT Southwestern said. "This means that the true number of cases is far higher than recorded case counts."

Tarrant County reports 6 deaths

Tarrant County health officials say six more residents have died from COVID-19, including a woman in her 30s who had underlying health conditions.

Health officials say there have been 5,063 confirmed deaths since tracking began in March 2020 – yet 371, 941 have reportedly recovered.

Health officials also reported 6,040 newly confirmed cases of COVID across the county Thursday, bringing the case count to 408,870 since tracking began in March 2020.

Denton County reports 155 hospitalizations

Denton County Public Health reported there are currently 155 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county. There were 156 on Thursday.

This is the 10th day in a row hospitalizations have remained above 100. The county currently has a 14-day average of 116 hospitalizations.

There are currently five ICU beds currently available in the county's hospitals.

Health officials also reported 755 new COVID-19 cases Friday. There have now been 119,240 total cases in the county since tracking began in March 2020.

As of Monday, there are currently 208,571 people in Denton County who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, 199,720 who have received their second dose and 1,162 who have received their third dose.

Credit: Jay Wallis

Richardson Walmart closed

Walmart announced that they will temporarily close the Richardson store at 1501 Buckingham Rd. beginning at 2 p.m. Friday to allow third-party cleaning crews to thoroughly clean and sanitize the building. 

The closure will also allow extra time for associates to restock shelves and prepare the store to serve customers, the store said.

The Richardson Walmart will be closed through Jan. 8 and will reopen Sunday, Jan. 9 at 6 a.m.

"Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and the thousands of customers we serve daily, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and health experts," Walmart said in a statement. "We will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission."

Dallas County to open 4 additional COVID testing sites

Dallas County Health and Human Services announced on Friday that early next week, they expect to open four additional drive-thru testing sites. In addition to COVID tests, flu tests will be available at some locations.

“To help keep our community safe during this winter COVID surge, it is vital that people get tested, continue to wear a mask, and get their vaccine and booster,” said Dr. Philip Huang, the director for the DCHHS. 

According to the CDC, anyone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID should test five days after their exposure, or as soon as symptoms occur.

Testing Locations:

Dallas College North Lake Campus 

  • 5001 N. McArthur Blvd., Irving, TX 75038
    • Start date: Monday, Jan. 10, 2022
    • Monday – Thursday 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    • By appointment only. To schedule an appointment, visit: www.mycovidappointment.com
    • Tests Available: PCR COVID and FLU

Trinity View Park 

  • 2221 E. State Hwy. 356, Irving, TX 75060
  • Start Date: Monday, Jan. 10, 2022
  • Monday – Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • By appointment only. To schedule an appointment, visit: www.mycovidappointment.com or call 469-536-0807
  • Test Available: PCR COVID

Thurgood Marshall Recreation Center

  • 5150 Mark Trail Way, Dallas, TX 75232
  • Start date: Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021
  • Monday – Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • By appointment only. To schedule an appointment, visit: www.mycovidappointment.com
  • Tests Available: PCR COVID and FLU

Fair Park – Lot 13

  • 3809 Grand Ave., Dallas, TX 75210
  • Start date: Wednesday, Jan.12, 2022
  • Sunday – Saturday 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Appointments are encouraged. To schedule an appointment, visit: www.mycovidappointment.com
  • Tests Available: PCR COVID and FLU

DCHHS is working to open additional testing sites throughout Dallas County, including one at New Birth Baptist Church.

New Birth Baptist Church 

  • 444 E. Ledbetter Dr., Dallas, TX 75224 
  • Start date: Monday, Jan. 10
  • Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Registration site: http://www.DOCSHealthTesting.com 

More information will be available once other sites are ready to operate.

Go here to find a COVID testing site near you.

Texas Faculty Association urges colleges, universities delay re-openings

The Texas Faculty Association (TFA) is urging all colleges and universities in Texas to delay reopening their campuses as the state deals with a surge in COVID cases.

“Spurred by the highly contagious omicron variant, Texas is experiencing record numbers of COVID infections,” TFA Vice President Cary Wintz said in a statement. “For the safety of university and college employees, their students and their families, we urge all higher education institutions to limit classes to virtual instruction until we are through this immediate crisis.”

He also urged employees and students to get fully vaccinated, including boosters and to wear masks.

“Many higher education employees and students have underlying health conditions that put their health and lives at extra risk,” he said in a statement.

UT Dallas and UT Arlington make changes for classes

Some students at UT Dallas will have classes online starting Jan. 18, when the semester begins. 

The University of Texas at Arlington said Thursday that classes will start as scheduled on Jan. 18, but they will be moved online through Feb. 4.