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Dallas County reports 8 COVID-19 deaths, 303 coronavirus cases; Tarrant adds 14 deaths, 198 cases



DALLAS, TX – Dallas County reported eight more COVID-19 deaths and 303 new coronavirus cases Saturday.

The latest victims were all in their 40s or older. Six were men and two were women, and all had underlying high-risk health conditions. Four were from Dallas, and one each lived in Garland, Irving, Lancaster and Mesquite.

County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a written statement that COVID-19 continues to be a serious health risk in the community and a drag on the economy. He encouraged people to sign up to get a vaccine shot at one of the many locations offering them.

“In order to defeat COVID, as many people need to get the shot as soon as possible,” Jenkins said. “We are in a race against the virus to reach herd immunity and deny the virus enough additional hosts for it to mutate into variants that are vaccine-resistant.”

Of the new cases, 267 were confirmed and 36 were probable. The numbers bring the county’s overall case total to 297,315 — 256,342 confirmed and 40,973 probable. The death toll is 3,853.

The average number of new daily cases in the county for the last two weeks is 242. For the previous 14-day period, the average was 273.

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 Friday, 188 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county. During the same period, 403 ER visits were for symptoms of the disease.

According to the state, 958,649 people in Dallas County have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 607,346 — 29.9% of the county’s population 16 and older — are fully vaccinated.

Across the state, 2,449 more cases were reported Saturday — 2,282 new cases and 167 older ones recently reported by labs.

The state also reported 49 COVID-19 deaths, raising its toll to 48,946.

Of the new reported cases, 1,768 were confirmed and 514 were probable. Of the older cases, 144 were confirmed and 23 were probable.

The state’s case total is now 2,862,938 — 2,455,715 confirmed and 407,223 probable.

There were 2,793 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, including 493 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. On Friday, 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 test specimen collection, was 5.8% as of Friday. For antigen tests, the positivity rate for the same period was 4.8%. 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, 10,568,455 people in Texas have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 7,118,118 — 31.7% of the state’s population 16 and older — are fully vaccinated.

The state also lifted its pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Saturday after an 11-day scientific review of its safety and effectiveness and notified providers to resume giving those shots. The U.S. had paused use of that vaccine to investigate six cases of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots. Officials ultimately determined the vaccine’s benefits outweighed its risks.

A Texas woman was hospitalized this week in connection with possible blood clots.

Dr. John Hellerstedt, the department of state health services commissioner, said in a news release that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is “an important tool in our fight against COVID-19.”

“We know some Texans prefer the simplicity of a single-dose vaccine, and the ease of storing and handling this vaccine gives providers more flexibility,” Hellerstedt said. “Resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will prevent hospitalizations and save lives in Texas.”