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Texas tops 15,000 COVID-19 deaths; Dallas County reports 346 more cases, two new deaths

Texas’ coronavirus death toll topped 15,000 on Wednesday — one day after U.S. fatalities surpassed 200,000 and Dallas County’s count reached 1,000.

Across the state, 135 deaths from the virus were reported, pushing the state’s death toll to 15,129.

With 2,977 more coronavirus cases reported Wednesday, the state’s confirmed case count stands at 719,599.

There are 3,195 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, including 784 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In Dallas County, health officials announced two more deaths, bringing the county’s toll to 1,002.

The victims were men in their 50s and 70s who lived in Dallas. Both had underlying health problems.

The county also reported 346 more confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday, including 20 from previous months.

Labs report coronavirus cases directly to the county health department or to the state health department, which then relays the information to counties. Dallas County said 221 of the newly reported cases came from the state’s reporting system, including nine from July, 11 from August and 201 from September. The remaining 125 cases were reported directly to the county health department.

The new counts bring the county’s total confirmed cases to 78,723.

Separately, the county has reported 3,877 probable cases and 11 probable COVID-19 deaths. Probable cases and deaths include people who had a positive antigen test (sometimes called rapid tests); had antibodies for the virus; or had COVID-19 symptoms and contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

Although other North Texas counties provide estimates for how many people have recovered from the virus, Dallas County officials do not report recoveries, saying it’s not a measurement used by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials use hospitalizations, intensive-care admissions and emergency room visits as key metrics to track the real-time impact of COVID-19 in the county. In the last 24 hours, 306 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county, and 361 ER visits were for symptoms of the disease.

After hospitalizations trended downward for a short period, County Judge Clay Jenkins said Wednesday that the numbers “have been largely flat over the last few days.”

The county also released updated details Wednesday showing the virus’s impact on different ZIP codes.

The two hardest-hit ZIP codes remain 75211, which encompasses most of north Oak Cliff and Cockrell Hill; and 75217, which includes Pleasant Grove. Case totals in those areas are between 2,787 and 3,482.

As of Tuesday, Latinos made up 46% of the county’s total confirmed, hospitalized COVID-19 patients. African-Americans made up 24% of cases, and whites made up 26%. For comparison, Latinos make up about 41% of Dallas County residents, according to 2019 census figures, while 24% of residents are Black and nearly 29% are white and not of Latino heritage.

The seven-day average positivity rate statewide, based on the date of test specimen collection, was 6.41% as of Tuesday. State health officials said using data based on when people were tested will provide the most accurate positivity rate.

The state also provides a positivity rate based on when lab results were reported to the state; that rate stood at 7.75% as of Tuesday.

Officials previously calculated Texas’ coronavirus positivity rate by dividing the most recent seven days of new positive test results by the most recent seven days of total new test results. By that measure, the positivity rate is 7.7% percent, according to its dashboard.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services has said the positivity rate data based on lab results and new cases probably will be phased out, but they’re being provided for transparency and continuity purposes.

Tarrant County

Tarrant County reported 384 coronavirus cases and five deaths Wednesday.

The victims include a Bedford woman in her 90s and four Fort Worth residents — three men in their 50s, 60s and 80s and a woman in her 50s. All had underlying health problems.

The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 47,917, including 3,327 probable cases and 41,788 recoveries. The death toll stands at 641.

According to the county dashboard, 254 people are hospitalized with the virus.

Collin County

Collin County added 150 coronavirus cases Wednesday, bringing its total to 13,210.

The county also reported four new deaths, raising the toll to 141.

The county has 969 active cases, and 12,241 people have recovered from the virus. Ninety-eight people are hospitalized with the virus, according to the county dashboard.

Collin County, which receives its data from the Department of State Health Services since turning over case management in June, has a note on its dashboard warning residents that it has low confidence in the numbers the state is providing.

Denton County

Denton County reported 68 coronavirus cases — of which 50 are active — on Wednesday.

No new deaths were reported, so the countywide toll remained 109.

The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 11,770, including 1,507 active cases and 10,154 recoveries.

Other counties

The Texas Department of State Health Services has taken over reporting for other North Texas counties. Some of those counties may not report updates each day.

The latest numbers are:

  • Rockwall County: 1,576 cases, 25 deaths.
  • Kaufman County: 3,088 cases, 47 deaths.
  • Ellis County: 4,298 cases, 67 deaths.
  • Johnson County: 2,905 cases, 49 deaths.

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