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COVID updates: Weatherford ISD closes schools for the rest of the week

Students and staff are scheduled to return to campuses on Monday, Jan. 24.

TEXAS, USA — Weatherford Independent School District is closing all schools and buildings for the rest of the school week (Jan. 19-21) because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, according to a press release sent out by district officials.

Students and staff are scheduled to return to campuses on Monday, Jan. 24.

"Our goal is to give our staff and students extra time to get healthy before returning to the school environment," Superintendent Dr. Beau Rees said in the press release. "Weatherford ISD will use this time to deep clean our campuses and facilities."

District officials said the schools no longer have enough staff or substitutes to keep schools open right now. Students will not need to make up these days since the Weatherford ISD school calendar includes additional instructional minutes.

At this time, all high school and middle school UIL and extracurricular activities are scheduled to continue. These events can't be rescheduled and the district said it has adequate staff to continue those activities. 

During this closure, any activities scheduled for elementary schools are canceled.

Weatherford ISD Child Nutrition Services will distribute meals for district students while Weatherford ISD Kanga Care Clinics will provide testing for students and staff who are symptomatic for COVID-19. The Academics Department will also provide optional learning resources for students.

RELATED: Yes, you can now order free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government

Tarrant County County health officials report 1,363 hospitalizations

Tarrant County Public Health reported Tuesday there are currently 1,363 people hospitalized with COVID-19. There were 1,384 hospitalizations the previous day.

COVID-19 patients currently make up 30% of the total hospital bed capacity.

Health officials also announced eight new COVID-19 deaths, which ranged in age from a Fort Worth man in his 40s to an Arlington woman in her 90s. There have now been 5,122 total deaths in the county since tracking began in March 2020.

There were also 7,126 new COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday. There have been 454,638 total cases since tracking began in March 2020.

As of last Wednesday, there have been 3,172,067 total doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in Tarrant County, according to health officials.

Credit: Jay Wallis

Denton County health officials report 217 hospitalizations

Denton County Public Health reported there are currently 217 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county. There were 192 on Monday.

This is the 15th day in a row hospitalizations have remained above 100. The county currently has a 14-day average of 178 hospitalizations.

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

Health officials also reported 3,692 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. There have now been 134,877 total cases in the county since tracking began in March 2020.

There are currently 208,767 people in Denton County who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine; 199,944 who have received their second dose and 1,139 who have received their third dose.

Credit: Jay Wallis

RELATED: No, CDC guidance on canceling ‘high-risk’ sports and activities is not new

1,406 new cases in Collin County, state health officials say

There were 1,406 new COVID-19 cases in Collin County Tuesday, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. There were 2,006 cases reported Monday.

County health officials do not report daily case count statistics.

The county's current 14-day case count average is 1,421, state data shows.

Collin County health officials said the county currently has 567 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday.

COVID-19 patients make up 21% of Collin County's total hospital bed capacity, according to county data.

Credit: Jay Wallis

State officials report 12,344 hospitalizations

On Tuesday, state health officials reported there are currently 12,344 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas. This is up from 12,286 the previous day.

Hospitalizations in the state have remained above 10,000 hospitalizations for nine consecutive days.

The record-high number of hospitalizations happened on Jan. 11, when there were 14,218 patients in Texas hospitals.

The state currently has a 14-day average of 10,801 hospitalizations.

Credit: Jay Wallis

RELATED: Covid Employee Rights

State officials report 44,610 new cases

State health officials reported 44,610 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.

This reported statistic has remained above 40,000 for the ninth consecutive days.

The state's current 14-day average is 46,705 cases. The record-high happened on Saturday when the average reached 46,751.

Credit: Jay Wallis

Texas health officials report more than 1,000 new cases in long-term care facilities

There were 1,199 new COVID-19 cases added in nursing facilities and assisted living facilities Tuesday, state health officials said.

The record-high single-day report for these Texas facilities happened on Dec. 29, 2020 when officials added 2,859 new cases. They added 1,974 the day before as well.

This is now the sixth time in the last seven days the state has reported more than 1,000 new cases.

The highest monthly average happened in December 2020 when Texas long-term care facilities were averaging 614 cases a day. The current average in January 2022 is 681, which would be considered a new record.

Credit: Jay Wallis

FEMA To Open Drive-Thru COVID-19 Test Site

FEMA and several local bodies have partnered to open a temporary drive-thru COVID-19 test site near Choctaw Stadium in Arlington.

The testing site is opening on Wednesday, Jan. 19 for a three-week period in response to the rise of COVID-19 cases and the surge of the Omicron variant, which is driving an increase in the demand for testing. 

Testing at the site, which will operate seven days a week, is free and open to all ages. No insurance information will be collected. 

Each person must pre-register online to select an appointment time slot. Multiple people in the same vehicle can receive a test during the same time slot. A QR code will be provided for each person receiving a test and must be shown at the test site as appointment confirmation. On-site registration is possible, but pre-registration is highly recommended to reduce waiting times. 

Parents or legal guardians will need to swab small children. Anyone under 18 years of age will need a parent or guardian to register them online and their consent to receive testing.

Results will be available between 24 to 36 hours. 

To register, visit: ineedacovid19test.com and then select Texas and then Choctaw Stadium.

Where: 

Texas Rangers’ Sienna Lot M
1205 Pennant Dr.
Arlington, Texas 76011

*Can only be accessed by entering southbound on AT&T Way.

When: 

Jan. 19-Feb. 8
9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Hong Kong authorities to kill 2,000 animals due to recent positive COVID-19 tests

Hong Kong authorities said Tuesday they will put down about 2,000 small animals, including hamsters after several of the rodents tested positive for the virus at a pet store where an infected employee was working.

Even though authorities acknowledged that there is “no evidence” that pets can transmit the coronavirus to humans, as a precautionary measure, customers who had purchased hamsters from the affected store after Jan. 7 will be traced and be subject to mandatory quarantine.

Authorities also said all pet stores selling hamsters in Hong Kong must stop operations.

RELATED: 2,000 small animals to be put down in Hong Kong after hamsters test positive for COVID-19