A slight uptick of COVID-19 cases is being reported in North Texas, with a spike in hospital stays, said health officials.
The Chief Medical Officer for Parkland Health, Dr. Joseph Chang, told NBC 5 that “Omicron lite” numbers were not as high as the peak North Texas saw in the winter. “Omicron lite” is the most recent variant of the COVID-19 virus.
“[When you] contrast that with the number of hospitalizations, you’ll see our trends in hospitalizations are not nearly so dramatic,” he told NBC 5.
In December and January, when the Omicron variant was at its highest rate, there were 300 positive patients in Parkland, according to Chang.
He said in recent days at Parkland, they have seen between ten and twenty COVID patients daily. Many of these patients can be treated from home.
“We’re spreading it pretty good amongst each other,” Chang said of the recent uptick.
The Director of Tarrant County Public Health, Vinny Taneja, shared on June 28 that Tarrant County communities are seeing a moderate spread in COVID cases.
Taneja is hopeful numbers will improve after the Independence Day holiday. “Hopefully, this kind of gives us a good indicator that we may find a plateau post-Fourth of July. What happens, we don’t know. But I’m hoping we start to go down,” Taneja said.
NBC 5 reported that more than 470 COVID patients are currently in Dallas-Fort Worth-area hospitals. Around one hundred patients have been admitted since June 21.
Public health officials do not believe the uptick will turn into a surge. The President and CEO of the DFW Hospital Council, Stephen Love, told NBC 5 that even if there were no surge, the increase in patients has led to a higher demand for nurses and other healthcare workers.
“We have a lot of people coming to the hospital now for things they postponed and put off during the surges, so you still need staff,” Love said. “It’s also a tired and exhausted workforce that is trying to take time off. And as people test positive, if we have our workers test positive, you know, they’ve got a quarantine for probably about five days.”
He shared that the council is looking to fill current openings and find long-term solutions to implement. Kim Martini, the division president of nurse staffing solutions, said the nursing shortage from the COVID-19 pandemic has improved, but there are still important issues to address.
“There is a nurse burnout that existed before the pandemic,” Martini told NBC 5. “As you can imagine, everything that our clinicians have been through over the past couple of years has exacerbated that substantially. We’re also dealing with an aging population that requires more care; again, something that was occurring pre-pandemic, but it’s still part of that root cause. And then we have an aging healthcare workforce, so clinicians that may be approaching that retirement age.”
Each home in the United States is eligible to receive a kit of free COVID tests through the official government website. Use caution when using such kits, for scientists conducting a study titled “Human toxicity from COVID-19 rapid home test kits” discovered that multiple COVID-19 rapid antigen home test kits contain sodium azide as a component of the reagent solution.
“Sodium azide is well-known for its ability to cause harmful effects in humans, especially after oral exposures,” according to Kelly Johnson-Arbor, the MD from Georgetown University Hospital who headed the study.
The research team found that the reagent in some kits may contain ingredients that are “unlikely to cause human toxicity if small amounts are ingested, but they may cause allergic reactions or local irritation after ocular or dermal exposure.” Hypotension was one of the most frequent reactions recorded in some test subjects of the research study.