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West Nile cases on the rise; Tarrant County residents urged to take precautions

West Nile Virus (WNV) has reemerged as a current health threat in North Texas. Tarrant County Public Health is advising residents to take extra care as WNV cases increase across the county. Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said precautions against WNV are particularly important during the current pandemic.

“It’s prudent to stay focused on protecting against COVID-19, and although mosquitoes do not carry the COVID-19 virus, we don’t want to minimize the dangers of West Nile right now,” Taneja said. The symptoms are similar and since it can be hard to tell the difference, he encouraged residents to see a doctor if they experience fever, cough or sore throat.  “We want to remind everyone to protect themselves against mosquitoes by wearing long sleeves and pants and using repellents when outside.”

Tarrant County Vector Control Supervisor Nina Dacko said most of the positive mosquito results have been in northeast Tarrant County. “In 2018 and 2019, the number of positive mosquito pool samples were very low, which is cause for concern this summer,” Dacko said. “Environmental factors are ripe for the virus to make a big comeback and recent rains also allow more mosquitoes to thrive in hot weather like Texas is experiencing right now.”


Here is a list of mosquito repellents endorsed by the FDA and CDC. Tarrant County Public Health also has more information about West Nile Virus and other preventive measures residents can take at Be Mosquito Free.

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 7/14/20

COVID-19 Positive cases: 19,014*

COVID-19 related deaths: 272

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 9031

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

* These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.

Preceptors Needed for TCOM Students

Students from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) need assistance finding available rotations for their fourth year of medical school. These students are responsible for scheduling their own rotations, but COVID-19 has made it difficult for them to do so. Due to the virus, many hospitals and clinics that typically participate are unable to provide preceptors. To combat this, TCOM’s class officers have produced a TCOM Preceptor Sign-Up Form, making it easy for physicians in our community to participate as preceptors.

If you have any questions, you can contact Conner Reynolds, M.S., OMS-IV, at ConnerReynolds@my.unthsc.edu.

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 7/10/20

COVID-19 Positive cases: 17,334*

COVID-19 related deaths: 262

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 7730

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Friday, July 10, 2020. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

* These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.

What to Do If a Staff Member or Patient Tests Positive

By Joey Berlin

Originally published on the Texas Medical Association website.

As cases of COVID-19 continue to climb, the greater the chance it will find its way to your office. If it hasn’t happened already, no doubt you’ve been bracing for that possibility for months.

The Texas Medical Association is here to make sure you’re prepared.

The TMA COVID-19 Task Force has created a guide for what to do when someone in your office – whether a staff member or a patient – tests positive for the disease. The guide includes links to important information on disinfection, work-restriction, and legal and ethical resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Texas law, and more.

TMA’s guide explains three steps to take following a positive test:

  1. Follow routine cleaning and disinfection procedures – The guide contains links for recommended environmental control and personal protective equipment (PPE) practices from CDC and EPA.
  2. Notify your staff of the potential exposure, and implement appropriate work restrictions – The document includes an adaptation of CDC’s Healthcare Personnel Assessment Guide, which breaks down how to handle at-risk staff members, plus tips on determining when people with confirmed COVID-19 may have become infectious.
  3. Notify any patients who might have been exposed and recommend appropriate public health guidance – Included is an adaptation of CDC’s Public Health Guidance for Community-Related Exposure chart, as well as links to ethical and legal guidance on patient privacy laws and regulations.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Call for Contact Tracing Volunteers in Tarrant County

By Allison Howard, TCMS Staff

Join with Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) in the fight against COVID-19 by volunteering as a contact tracer. As coronavirus numbers continue to rise in Texas, it is critical that we learn more about the virus and use preventative measures to avoid its continued spread. One of the best ways to do so is through contact tracing; by using this tried and true method to further understand how the virus is passing from individual to individual, we are learning information that empowers and protects out community.

“There are only a few tools available to suppress the spread of coronavirus,” says Fort Worth physician Robert Rogers, MD. “Contact tracing is one of the most important tools, particularly as we strive to get our new case numbers under control.”

TCPH is managing local contact tracing, but due to surging numbers in recent weeks, the information that needs to be gathered far outpaces what TCPH can manage with its current staff. The group is working on hiring additional staff members to meet the need but foresees a gap in manpower throughout the rest of July and August. Volunteers are stepping in to make the difference.

Retired physician Kendra Belfi, MD, wanted to help throughout the crisis, but she was limited because of her health. “I had given up my license a few years after I retired and am also in a high-risk group for COVID-19 because of my age and lung condition,” says Dr. Belfi. Volunteering as a contract tracer is a safe and effective way for her to help the community at this critical time. “I figure that whatever I do takes a little of the burden off the health department employees.”

It is important to know that you do not need to be a physician to volunteer. “I am only a first-year medical student, so in March, when the pandemic began, I felt helpless,” says Nathalie Scherer, a student from the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine. “I was listening to physician stories from around the country, and it felt frustrating that I was unable to do more to help out. Volunteering as a contact tracer has let me be involved in a meaningful way, given the skills I currently have. It’s gratifying to be able to help, even if it is something as simple as talking to people over the phone.”

Additional volunteers are needed, so if you are interested, contact Kathryn Narumiya at knarumiya@tcms.org for more information.

“I am not a specialist in emergency medicine, a hospitalist, or an intensivist, yet I wanted to use my medical training to help in the response to the pandemic,” says Dr. Rogers, who has been assisting with contact tracing since TCPH reached out for support from the community. “Volunteering as a contact tracer has provided that opportunity.”

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 7/9/20

COVID-19 Positive cases: 16,700*

COVID-19 related deaths: 259

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 7490

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Thursday, July 9, 2020. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

* These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.

Tyler Radiology Associates and East Texas Radiology Consultants Merge with Radiology Associates of North Texas

Radiology Associates of North Texas, P.A. (RADNTX) is participating in a merger that will further expand the organization. Tyler Radiology Associates and East Texas Radiology Consultants are joining with the group; through this merger RADNTX is welcoming 28 new radiologists, expanding the practice to over 200 physicians. The organization continues to be the largest private radiology practice in Texas and one of the largest in the nation, with plans for continued expansion.

Both practices decided to merge after connecting with RADNTX’s Independent Radiology Network (IRN). The IRN is designed to provide expanded resources and improved quality for private practice radiology practices throughout Texas and the surrounding states. Partnering with other high-performing regional radiologists is a foundational endeavor of RADNTX’s physician leadership.

“Tyler Radiology Associates (TRA) is proud to enter into a partnership with Radiology Associates of North Texas.,” says Dr. Robert Weissmann with Tyler Radiology Associates. “TRA believes in independent, physician-led radiology practices. After evaluating several options, we are excited to have found a partner that shares our values and vision for healthcare in East Texas.”

RADNTX’s goal through the IRN is to provide Texas-based radiology practices that desire to remain independent and wholly physician-owned but require expanded service levels access to RADNTX’s world-class infrastructure. Through the IRN, RADNTX is able to provide practices with information technology services that include an integrated worklist driven platform, as well as billing and revenue cycle management, clinical coordination, increased sub-specialization, overnight final reads, quality and compliance programs, analytics and reporting, business services, and much more.

“What initially brought us to Radiology Associates was its reputation for honesty, integrity, and quality in the radiology market. Radiology Associates’ goal is to provide maximum support for the continued private practice of radiology in the state of Texas,” says Dr. Randy Erwin with East Texas Radiology Consultants. “For private practice to survive and prosper, a large organization dedicated to their members, fellow physicians, and patients is paramount.”

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 7/8/20


COVID-19 Positive cases: 16,180*

COVID-19 related deaths: 254

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 7018

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

* These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 7/2/20

COVID-19 Positive cases: 13,423*

COVID-19 related deaths: 233

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 5517

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Thursday, July 2, 2020. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

* These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.