Dallas – With the anniversary of Dallas County’s first COVID-19 death having recently passed, mortalities due to the pandemic has become the leading cause of death among county residents, surpassing heart disease, cancer and strokes in the past year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first death in Dallas County was recorded on March 19, 2020. By March 21, 2021, deaths in Dallas County from COVID-19 stood at 3,763. This surpassed estimated deaths due to heart disease (3,668), cancer (3,356) and strokes (1,015) during that same period.

COVID-19 deaths in Dallas County saw their steepest increases starting in December. On Dec. 21, 2020, deaths due to COVID-19 stood at 1,841, but in the following three months deaths more than doubled, adding 1,922 more casualties.

“This is a sad milestone for Dallas County,” said Vikas Chowdhry, MBA, Chief Analytics and Information Officer at PCCI. “We can see that COVID-19 claimed the most lives following social gatherings and holiday travel beginning with Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year’s. Starting in December we saw a startling spike of deaths due to COVID-19 that represented more than all of the deaths in the previous months we had experienced during the pandemic. This offers a valuable lesson going forward, that we must remain vigilant to protect ourselves, our families and friends.”

PCCI recently forecast that Dallas County may reach COVID-19 herd immunity by mid-June. However, in order to reach this threshold residents of Dallas County need to continue their efforts to protect themselves from infection. “We are remaining optimistic that we can reach herd immunity by the early summer, but the key is ongoing vigilance, including continued adhering to local health official guidance, social distancing, face covering, and registering for vaccinations as soon as possible,” said Chowdhry.

An animated graphic showing the evolution of the COVID-19 mortality rate in Dallas County can be viewed at https://covid-analytics-pccinnovation.hub.arcgis.com/, PCCI’s COVID-19 Hub for the region. This shows total COVID-19 deaths by day, based on data provided by the New York Times COVID-19 data tracking project. The mortality data includes both confirmed cases, based on laboratory testing and probable cases, based on specific criteria for symptom and exposure. This is per guidance form the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.*

To help protect Dallas County residents, PCCI recently launched the MyPCI App, a web-based program to help inform the residents of Dallas County to their individual risks. The MyPCI App, free to register and use, is a secure, cloud-based tool that doesn’t require personal health information and doesn’t track an individual’s mobile phone data. Instead, it is a sophisticated machine learning algorithm, geomapping and hot-spotting technology that uses daily updated data from the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) on confirmed positive COVID-19 cases and the population density in a given neighborhood. Based on density and distances to those nearby who are infected, the MyPCI App generates a dynamic personal risk score.

To use the MyPCI App, go to, https://pccinnovation.org/mypci/, click on the link and register (Using code: GP-7xI6QT). Registration includes a request for individual location information that will be used only for generating a risk assessment, never shared. Once registered, simply login daily and a COVID-19 personal risk level score will be provided along with information to help individuals make informed decisions about how to manage their risk.

About Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation

Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) is an independent, not-for-profit, healthcare intelligence organization affiliated with Parkland Health & Hospital System. PCCI leverages clinical expertise, data science and social determinants of health to address the needs of vulnerable populations. We believe that data, done right, has the power to galvanize communities, inform leaders, and empower people.

 

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*The tallies reported here include probable and confirmed cases and deaths. Confirmed cases and deaths, which are widely considered to be an undercount of the true toll, are counts of individuals whose coronavirus infections were confirmed by a molecular laboratory test. Probable cases and deaths count individuals who meet criteria for other types of testing, symptoms and exposure, as developed by national and local governments.