Pediatric Admissions Double January Peak, UTSW Says Hospitalizations Expected to Climb – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
The latest review of the UT Southwestern Medical Center COVID-19 forecast says the number of people hospitalized for the virus is expected to continue to increase in the coming weeks.
In a forecast model updated Sept. 1, UTSW in Dallas County, where self-reported public masking levels have risen to nearly 80%, said new daily hospitalizations are relatively flat.
However, that’s not the case elsewhere in the Metroplex, where UTSW said admission volumes continue to increase and “put a strain on the collective capacity of regional health systems.”
In Dallas County, Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and County Judge Clay Jenkins have taken steps to mandate masks in schools and across the county as a recommended mitigation strategy. While some other school districts have implemented mask mandates, district judges in Denton, Collin and Tarrant counties have not challenged Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order to block mask mandates.
UTSW said weekly admissions volumes among younger age groups have passed their January peak and pediatric admissions are nearly doubling and growing in January.
According to the study, Dallas County is expected to reach 1,100 hospital admissions by Sept. 19, a slight decrease from the previous report, and about 1,200 new infections per day. In Tarrant County, under the same circumstances, the study predicts 1,300 concurrent hospitalizations by Sept. 19 with more than 1,000 new infections per day.
UTSW’s model highlights that curbing the spread of the virus relies on increasing the number of vaccinations and adjusting current patterns of behavior to mirror those of October-November 2020, when there were mask mandates, limited social distancing and some restrictions for companies.
If those mitigation efforts are restored, the model predicts that the peak of this fourth wave would begin to decline much faster.
UTSW said it is still possible to avoid the worst-case scenarios if vaccination volumes return to previous levels. They added that people under the age of 65 make up the largest segment of hospital admissions and that because they are not vaccinated, they remain particularly susceptible to infections.
“Everyone is strongly encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As part of our ongoing commitment to a just, effective and efficient vaccine rollout, UT Southwestern has launched an online scheduling portal where all Texans — ages 12 and older — have a vaccination appointment: utswmed.org/vaccines,” UTSW said.
The hospital recommends visiting the CDC website for advice on what types of activities are safe once fully vaccinated, and what levels of prevention are recommended.
UTSW previously said it’s important to remember that people arriving at the hospital today were likely infected about two weeks ago — meaning any behavioral change will take some time to show up in the data.