The Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to drive a spike in cases, and is beginning to once again disrupt daily life.
On Monday, the state passed 10,000 COVID hospitalizations for the first time since late September.
While there’s been increased conversation that hospitalization numbers could be inflated because many people are hospitalized for something else and then test positive, ICU numbers remain equally important.
Anyone in ICU with COVID is more likely there because of COVID. While those numbers are also rising quickly, they're not increasing quite as fast as overall hospitalizations.
Trauma Service Area E
There are 3,359 patients with COVID-19, which is a 341 patient increase in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 from the day before. This accounts for roughly 25% percent of available bed capacity.
As for ICU beds, W. Stephen Love with the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council said the region has 36 adult staffed ICU beds available. Currently, COVID-19 patients account for 40% of adult ICU patients.
Meanwhile, the region has 124 pediatric COVID-19 patients in our hospitals, an increase of three pediatric COVID-19 patient from the day before.
Love said the hospitalization numbers being driven by the Omicron surge are the highest since the middle of September 2021.
He urged people wear masks and stay out of large crowds and gatherings in order to help fatigued healthcare workers and hospitals who are suffering staffing shortages.
Tarrant County records 16 new COVID deaths
Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) reported 16 COVID-19 deaths.
Among those who died were:
- A woman from Haltom City older than 90
- A man from Mansfield older than 90
- A man from Fort Worth in his 70s
- Two women from Fort Worth in their 70s
- A man from Grapevine in his 70s
- A man from Benbrook in his 60s
- A woman from Keller in her 60s
- A man from River Oaks in his 60s
- A man from Haltom City in his 60s
- A woman from Haltom City in her 60s
- A woman from Fort Worth in her 60s
- A woman from Hurst in her 50s
- A man from Arlington in his 50s
- A man from Fort Worth in his 50s
- A woman from Tarrant County in her 20s
Officials said all of those who died except one had underlying health conditions.
Tarrant County now has 5,079 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus and health officials report 372,212 people have recovered.
Denton County announces over 2,000 cases
Denton County Public Health (DCPH) announced 2,070 new cases of COVID-19 in Denton County. This increases the cumulative, countywide total to 121,310 COVID-19 cases.
DCPH also reported 304 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 109,866. Monday's total includes cases confirmed in the last three days.
Dallas County juror summonses postponed
On Monday, the Dallas County Local Administrative District Judge issued a statement saying that juror summonses through Jan. 28 will be postponed, because of the Omicron variant.
"The rapid spread of COVID is causing serious concern regarding the congregation of jurors in the courtroom while the virus continues to spread," the statement read.
A decision on how to proceed after Jan. 28 will be made at a later time.
Dallas Zoo grapples with staff shortages
The Dallas Zoo said it is temporarily closing a few of its smaller indoor spaces beginning Monday, because of staff shortages. Among those affected spaces are the Underzone and Birds Landing. The Serengeti Grill will also be closed for food service, but will still be open for lion viewing, the zoo said.
The zoo asked for patience during this time.
"We’ll continue to do everything we can to deliver the best experience for you when you come visit us, but we hope you’ll be understanding as we work through these challenges with the health and safety of our guests, staff, volunteers, and animals top of mind," the zoo said in a statement.
Meanwhile, masks are still required for all guests older than 2 to enter any indoor space at the zoo.
Dallas County Tax Offices closed to in-person transactions
Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 11, all Dallas County Tax Office locations will close to the public for face-to face transactions until further notice.
Those who need to complete business are being encouraged to take advantage of processing their vehicle registrations and property tax payments online at www.dallascounty.org/tax.
TEA updates COVID quarantine protocols for school staff
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) on Friday released updated COVID-19 quarantine guidance for school staff, as a surge of the omicron variant causes staffing issues for many local schools.
The new rules come after updated guidance from the CDC that shortened the isolation period for those without symptoms.
Garland, Plano ISDs report significant bus delays Monday morning
Two major school districts reported delays on their bus routes Monday morning due to staffing issues.
Garland ISD said multiple buses were delayed due to several absences. One bus route, Bus 804 Brandenburg/Vial, ran about 30-45 minutes behind regular schedule this morning, the transportation department tweeted.
Plano ISD said that it also had several bus routes experience significant delays across the district Monday. The district told WFAA that they've been dealing with a bus driver shortage for a while. Plano ISD is hiring bus drivers to help bridge the gap and provide all the necessary training.