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Dallas County adds 9 COVID-19 deaths; officials push estimated herd immunity date to at least late June



DALLAS, TX – As Dallas County announced 350 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths Wednesday, health officials pushed the herd immunity timeline back to late June due to slowing COVID-19 vaccination rates.

The Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, which has tracked COVID-19 data for Dallas County since the start of the pandemic, initially estimated the county would reach herd immunity by mid-June. That estimate was based on 80% of residents being vaccinated or having some immunity against the virus.

But slowing vaccination rates have pushed that estimate to late June or even July, Steve Miff, the center’s president and CEO, said in a news release. According to the state, 978,521 people in Dallas County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 654,710 — 32.3% of the county’s population 16 and older — are fully vaccinated.

Miff said vaccine hesitancy, particularly among the working population, is a major reason for the change in projection.

“The longer it takes us to contain and crush COVID, the more chances the virus has to create new mutations that could be more transmissible, more deadly and more elusive to previously developed antibodies,” Miff said.

In March, the county was administering more than 60,000 shots each week. That number is down to an average of 45,000 shots in recent weeks, Miff said.

“We encourag everyone to receive their COVID vaccination sooner than later,” Miff said. “The quicker we can reach herd immunity the sooner we can return to safely interacting with our friends and families. … But most importantly, reaching herd immunity via vaccines will help spare families the hardships of loved ones becoming ill or even losing their lives.”

To date, herd immunity in Dallas County is at about 64%, Miff said. More than 35% of the Dallas County population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, including more than 73% of people over 65, he said.

The county’s latest COVID-19 victims were all in their 50s or older. Five were men and four were women, and all had underlying high-risk health conditions.

Three of the victims were Dallas residents, three were from Mesquite, and one each lived in Irving, Lancaster and Garland.

County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a written statement that coronavirus cases are increasing among younger populations and only a quarter of those in the 18-to-29 age range in Dallas County have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Jenkins advised people to listen to their doctors and public health experts, many of whom “unanimously urge everyone who is old enough to get the vaccine” as soon as possible.

“Getting vaccinated, particularly in young healthy people, makes the chance of contracting COVID much less and having a serious case highly unlikely,” Jenkins said. “Even a mild case of COVID has a more serious risk to your health than any of the urban myths you can find on the internet about vaccines.

“This is how together we’ll keep one another safe and perform an act of community service and patriotism that will help North Texas and America defeat COVID,” he added.

The county’s mass vaccination site at Fair Park will be open Thursday from noon to 9 p.m. with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Jenkins said the county changed hours to accommodate people who couldn’t make it in during normal operation times.

Of the new cases, 230 were confirmed and 120 were probable. The numbers bring the county’s overall case total to 298,162, including 256,923 confirmed and 41,239 probable. The death toll is 3,881.

The average number of new daily cases in the county for the past two weeks is 233. For the previous 14-day period, the average was 260.

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 24-hour period that ended Tuesday, 179 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county. During the same period, 440 ER visits were for symptoms of the disease.


Across the state, 4,269 more cases were reported Wednesday, including 3,462 new cases and 807 older ones recently reported by labs.

The state also reported 69 COVID-19 deaths, raising its toll to 49,091.

Of the new cases, 2,871 were confirmed and 591 were probable. Of the older cases, 174 were confirmed and 633 were probable.

The state’s case total is now 2,876,140, including 2,464,876 confirmed and 411,264 probable.

There are 2,796 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, including 490 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. On Tuesday, 3.1% of patients in the hospital region covering the Dallas-Fort Worth area were COVID-19 patients — below the 15% threshold the state has used to define high hospitalizations.

The seven-day average positivity rate statewide for molecular tests, based on the date of specimen collection, was 5.1% as of Tuesday. For antigen tests, the positivity rate for the same period was 4.9%. A molecular test is considered more accurate and is sometimes also called a PCR test; an antigen test is also called a rapid test. Gov. Greg Abbott has said a positivity rate above 10% is cause for concern.

According to the state, 10,816,686 people in Texas have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 7,474,996 — 33.3% of the state’s population 16 and older — are fully vaccinated.