New disease management tools debut as Tarrant County surpasses 50,000

Published on September 30, 2020

In the seven months since the first cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed, Tarrant County has surpassed 50,000 cases. It took 203 days (March 10 -Sept. 29) to reach 50,057 positive cases and 657 deaths due to COVID-19.

Officials are asking coronavirus patients and their contacts to answer the call. So far, about 51% 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.

Self-reporting tool, at-home testing launch

To combat delays in reporting, Tarrant County Public Health has launched an online self-reporting tool for residents who have been tested and want to report it themselves. This reduces delays in reporting to Public Health and allows the agency to speed up contact tracing efforts.

Tarrant County has also launched a pilot program for at-home testing. Participants receive a mail-in, self-conducted test kit. The completed kit is mailed to a lab for results using a prepaid shipping label. This effort is to provide easier access to testing.

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 residents behind cancer and heart disease and is expected to surpass the annual total for stroke later this year.

“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 businesses 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 65-plus community remains the most at risk with 71% of the deaths and just 10% of the cases. Of those who have been killed by COVID-19, 56% were men; 94% 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 Tarrant County Public Health. “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 into many different types of data currently being collected.”

To learn more, contact Tarrant County Public Health at 817-248-6299, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


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