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Dallas County reports 599 confirmed coronavirus cases, 3 deaths; Tarrant logs 720 cases, 4 deaths

With most key metrics worsening, Dallas County is about to pass 90,000 cases and Tarrant County is pushing 60,000.

Dallas County announced 599 more confirmed coronavirus cases Saturday, including 593 that the county considers new and six that are from previous months. Three new COVID-19 deaths were also reported.

Labs either report coronavirus cases directly to the county health department or to the state health department, which then relays the information to individual counties. Of cases reported Saturday, Dallas County health officials said 460 came from the state’s reporting system, including three from June, three from July and 454 from October. The remaining 139 cases were reported directly to the county health department.

The latest victims were a Garland man in his 30s who had underlying health conditions, a Dallas woman in her 40s who had been critically ill at a hospital and had underlying health conditions, and a Dallas man in his 70s who had been critically ill at a hospital and did not have underlying health conditions.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins cautioned residents to continue following public health precautions, including wearing a mask in public and practicing social distancing, pointing to a steady rise in daily new confirmed and probable cases in the county over the last month.

“We know what to do and we know what works,” Jenkins said in a written statement. “We’ve been through it before. We just need to do it, and we need to start doing it immediately.”

The newly reported cases bring the county’s total confirmed cases to 89,433. The county’s confirmed death toll stands at 1,082.

Additionally, Dallas County reported 48 probable cases Saturday, bringing the total number of probable cases to 4,542. The county has also reported 13 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.

While 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 24-hour period that ended Friday, 370 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county. During the same period, 437 ER visits were for symptoms of the disease.

Those numbers have declined since highs in July, but they have been rising in recent weeks, prompting public health officials to return the county’s perceived coronavirus risk level to red, the most severe category, in which residents are urged to avoid nonessential activities as much as possible.

The county reported that in the latest reporting period, Oct. 4-10, 390 probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-age children, an increase from the previous week.

More than two-thirds of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization so far have been in people under 65, and diabetes has been an underlying condition in about one third of all hospitalized patients, according to the county.

The county’s provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases for the Oct. 4-10 reporting period was 453, an increase from the previous week. The figure is calculated by the date of the COVID-19 test collection, according to the county.

Dallas County doesn’t provide a positivity rate for all COVID-19 tests conducted in the area; county health officials have said they don’t have an accurate count of how many tests are conducted each day. But during the latest reporting period, 12.6% of people who showed up at hospitals with COVID-19 symptoms tested positive for the virus. That’s an increase from the previous reporting period, when 10.1% of such patients tested positive.

Of the county’s total confirmed COVID-19 deaths, about 24% are associated with long-term care facilities.

Statewide data

Across the state, 4,581 more cases were reported Saturday, of which 4,277 were considered new. The remaining 304 were older cases recently reported by labs.

The state also reported 81 COVID-19 deaths Saturday.

Texas has now reported 820,563 confirmed cases and 16,984 fatalities.

There are 4,275 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, including 1,223 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The seven-day average positivity rate statewide, based on the date of test specimen collection, was 8.64% as of Friday. State health officials said using data based on when people were tested provides 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 8.08% as of Friday.

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 now 7.05%, according to its dashboard.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services said that positivity rate data based on lab results and new cases will likely be phased out but is still being provided for transparency and continuity purposes.

Tarrant County

Tarrant County reported 720 coronavirus cases and four new deaths Saturday.

The latest deaths include three Fort Worth men in their 50s, 60s and 80s and a Southlake woman in her 90s.

The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 58,773, including 53,629 confirmed cases, 5,144 probable cases and 48,675 recoveries. The death toll stands at 703.

According to the county dashboard, 463 people are hospitalized with the virus.

Collin County

Collin County added 111 coronavirus cases Saturday, bringing its total to 16,862. The county also reported two new deaths, raising the toll to 170.

The county has 981 active cases of the virus — including 92 people who are hospitalized, according to the county dashboard — and has recorded 15,881 recoveries.

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 on Saturday reported 123 coronavirus cases, of which 96 are active. No new deaths were reported.

The newly reported cases bring the county’s total to 15,132, including 2,392 that are active and 12,623 that are recoveries. The death toll stands at 117.

The newly reported cases raised the county’s total molecular cases to 13,547, while antigen cases stand at 1,585.

There are 63 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, according to the county’s data.

Other counties

The Texas Department of State Health Services has taken over reporting for these other North Texas counties. In some counties, new data may not be reported every day.

The latest numbers are:

  • Rockwall County: 1,792 cases, 30 deaths.
  • Kaufman County: 3,379 cases, 52 deaths.
  • Ellis County: 4,729 cases, 74 deaths.
  • Johnson County: 3,426 cases, 62 deaths.

Catherine Marfin, Breaking News Reporter. Catherine covers breaking news at The Dallas Morning News. She is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied journalism and public relations. While at UT, Catherine served as managing editor of The Daily Texan, UT's student paper, and interned at the Texas Tribune and Houston Chronicle.

catherine.marfin@dallasnews.com @catherinemarfin
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