03/15/2022 COVID-19 Hospitalizations in Dallas County: Past, Present, and Future Forecasting
Red Line is if all behavior returns to unmitigated, prepandemic patterns (no masking/social distancing/business restrictions)
Blue Line is if we maintain our current trajectory
The number of people hospitalized in both Dallas and Tarrant County continues to decline and further decreases are predicted going forward. Supporting this forecast, test positivity rates continue to decline, reaching record lows statewide, and both emergency room visits and new hospital admissions are flattening out at low levels. The local Rt value, which represents how effectively the virus is spreading, has been well below 1, indicating that the epidemic is declining in the region. Hospitalization levels are now below levels observed before the Omicron wave and approaching the lows observed before the Delta wave. If
current trends continue, our medium-term forecast predicts that hospitalizations will return to the lowest levels observed since the start of the pandemic by late March. Masking behavior continues to steeply decline, and mobility trends have generally returned to pre-holiday levels.
Vaccination remains our most powerful tool for preventing severe COVID-19. Although breakthrough infections are more common with Omicron than with previous variants, vaccinated individuals still have a significantly decreased chance of catching COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated individuals, and even more importantly, significantly decreased risk of hospitalization and death. All Texans over the age of 5 are now eligible for vaccination, and everyone over the age of 12 is encouraged to get a booster. As part of our ongoing commitment to an equitable, effective, and efficient vaccination rollout, Texans aged 12 and older can schedule a vaccination appointment using UT Southwestern’s online scheduling
portal: utswmed.org/vaccines .
Both nationally and locally, Omicron is now by far the dominant variant of the virus, representing nearly 100% of positive tests sequenced at UT Southwestern. The Omicron sub-lineage know as BA.2 remains less common in our samples than the “original” BA.1 variant, though the proportion of BA.2 samples has increased in recent weeks.
Based on the latest CDC “COVID-19 Community Levels” guidance, Dallas, Denton, and Collin Counties are currently low risk. Tarrant County is currently medium risk but is expected to be low risk soon. Visit the CDC website for guidance on individual and household-level prevention measures recommended during times of low risk. Use of high-quality masks when appropriate, physical distancing, increased ventilation, staying home when feeling unwell, and other interventions recommended by health experts will help continue to curb transmission and protect the health of all Texans, especially those who are currently
unvaccinated, unable to be vaccinated, or who may be immunocompromised. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms or exposed to someone with COVID-19 is encouraged to get tested and quarantine to break the chain of transmission.