In the seven months since the first cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed, Tarrant County has surpassed 50,000 cases. It took 203 (3/10-9/29) days to reach 50,057 positive cases and 657 deaths due to COVID-19. Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) is asking COVID-19 patients and their contacts to answer the call. To date, about 51 percent of those called have responded to contact tracing, leaving significant room for improvement. This is a nationwide problem and Tarrant County is no exception.
“We must continue to protect our family and friends from COVID-19 until a vaccine is released and widely available,” said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley. “If you or a family member is sick with COVID-19, please respond to Public Health calls and text messages. They are working to reduce the number of potentially sick people walking the virus around our county.”
It took 67 days to double the COVID-19 case count in Tarrant County. On July 23, the case count was 24,562 with 403 deaths.
“Our residents bent the curve in the early days of COVID-19. That permanently changed the course of the pandemic in our community and we need to continue that effort forward in order to help our struggling business fully open sooner. Please wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain a safe social distance so that we can all enjoy normal when it returns,” Whitley said.
The age 65 plus community remains the most at risk with 71 percent of the deaths and just 10 percent of the cases. Of those who have been killed by COVID-19, 56 percent were men, 94 percent had underlying conditions.
“Our role is to use our expertise to advance community health and its knowledge of pervasive diseases,” said Vinny Taneja, director of TCPH. “Our experts in public health along with our medical doctors and nurses on staff who share their knowledge daily with patients, on our web site, on Zoom calls and in the media.
“We have created two great dashboards, the School Dashboard for parents and educators to make responsible decisions for their children and schools, as well as a broader COVID-19 Dashboard that provides insights in to many different types of data currently being collected.”
To combat delays in reporting, TCPH has now launched an online self-reporting tool available for residents who have been tested and want to report it themselves. This cuts down on delays in reporting to Public Health and allows TCPH to speed up contact tracing efforts. TCPH has also launched a pilot program for “at home” testing. Participants will get a mail in self-conducted test kit. The completed kit will need to be mailed to a lab for results using the prepaid shipping label. This is to provide wider spread and easier access to testing.
“The growth of COVID-19 has changed the mortality of Tarrant County. In seven months, 657 residents have died compared to 167 deaths on Tarrant County highways in 2019. COVID-19 is now projected to be the third leading killer of our residents behind cancer and heart disease and is expected to surpass the annual total for stroke later this year.”
COVID-19 causes respiratory illness with cough, fever and shortness of breath and may lead to bronchitis and severe pneumonia. For more information go to coronavirus.tarrantcounty.com or call the Tarrant County Public Health information line, 817-248-6299, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.