As Tarrant County schools prepare to open, key coronavirus data continues to decline.
Vinny Taneja, the county’s director of public health, told county commissioners Tuesday that the COVID-19 hospitalization rate, weekly cases and the seven-day positivity rate are on the decline. The county has reported more than 30,000 coronavirus cases and more than 400 COVID-19 deaths.
The percentage of hospital patients with COVID has dropped from 20% a month ago to 13%, Taneja said.
He said the numbers are declining because people wear masks “religiously” and following safety guidelines like keeping social distance and staying home as much as possible.
“We are doing good things in Tarrant County and as a community, we need to keep doing these things,” he said.
But Taneja warned that the county is not yet out of the woods. The number of weekly cases combined with a seven-day positivity rate of 11% places the county in the “red zone” according to White House criteria, he said.
The state positivity rate stands at 20.99%.
“We’re not on an island,” he said after the meeting. “Tarrant County is a big part of Texas.”
Public Health officials have been working closely to make sure schools can be reopened as safely as possible. He hopes schools will follow his department’s safety guidelines.
And while unavoidable cases will appear in schools, Taneja said outbreaks can be avoided if they follow safety guidelines, such as requiring the wearing of masks, following social distancing and performing temperature checks.
“As you can see, when everyone wears a mask, we’ve been able to break the trend and slow it down,” he said.
Taneja wants the public to take action against the West Nile virus.
Taneja said 40% of county-tested mosquito pools are positive for the virus. It is 60% in Northeast Tarrant County. The county’s positivity rate is up 10% from last week.
The first West Nile death in Tarrant County was reported on July 21st. Taneja warned that the West Nile can cause long-lasting neurological effects.
Taneja said residents should spray the gardens for mosquitoes, get rid of standing water and use mosquito repellent.