Dr. Stephen Love, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, said that if the model’s predictions for August play out, hospitals will have enough beds and PPE but could face staffing issues, as they did in January. UTSW’s updated model predicts that Dallas County alone will have 400-500 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 cases by Aug. 9. Love noted that traveling nurses provided by the state to bolster existing hospital staffing in January are no longer in place.
The model, which used data as of Monday, predicts that Dallas County will see roughly 600 new coronavirus infections a day by Aug. 9. UTSW’s previous model, which used data as of July 13, projected that the county would see roughly 200 new infections a day by Aug. 2. “We really find ourselves at an important crossroads and decision point, where we have this narrow window to step into action to help turn the tide of these rising cases,” said Dr. James Cutrell, an infectious-disease expert at UTSW.
Hospitalizations in North Texas have risen 89% over the last two weeks and 156% over the last month, according to the latest model. Data from the state indicates that 925 people in the 19-county region that includes Dallas-Fort Worth are hospitalized with the virus as of Monday. That’s especially true if vaccination rates remain slow and the public doesn’t step up use of masks and social distancing, experts say.
According to the state, 1,307,362 people in Dallas County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 1,119,856 — 51.3% of the county’s population 12 and older — are fully vaccinated. But the pace of vaccinations has slowed, especially among people under the age of 65, who now make up the largest share of hospital admissions in most North Texas counties, Cutrell said. The delta variant is 40% to 50% more transmissible than the original, non-mutated strain of coronavirus, Cutrell said. It can also cause more severe illness in the unvaccinated.
Cutrell said the spike in cases and hospitalizations has been caused primarily by slowing vaccination rates and the growing prominence of the highly contagious delta variant. Two main reasons for spikes
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