COVID-19 Archives – PCCI

7 July 2021

PCCI CEO Statement – Dallas County Reaches Herd Immunity, More Work To Be Done




Statement from PCCI CEO Steve Miff:

“On July 4, Dallas County reached the 80 percent herd immunity threshold. This threshold is made up

by 46.6 percent of the total population being vaccinated and 48.7 percent of the population with natural immunity having recovered from being infected by COVID-19.

While this represents good progress, it is important that we understand the work is not over. We must continue to push for vaccinations so COVID and its variants can’t again take hold and diminish the progress we’ve made. Reaching the 80 percent herd immunity rate is not like flipping a switch, but a continuum in our journey.  It is an important accomplishment which is a credit to the residents and public health leaders who have committed themselves to crush COVID. While the whole community in average reached the 80 percent mark, there are only 49 ZIP codes above the 80 percent threshold with 45 ZIP codes still below the 80 percent mark. There are still significant pockets in the community that remain vulnerable.

How we got here

The calculations used to measure heard immunity track individual level data for both vaccinations administered and COVID test results since the beginning of the pandemic.  For those infected, yet not tested there are a 4x Adjusted Incidence Rate Ratio [AIRR] for the adult population and 5x for the pediatric group based on national and local seroprevalence data. The model also calculates an overlap 28 percent of vaccinated population of Dallas estimated to have had prior COVID-19 infection and recovered.

Delta Variant

Further, the current Delta variant is predicted to make up about 25 percent of COVID-19 cases locally, doubling approximately every two weeks. In one month, that could put the Delta variant in the range that has caused a new wave in infections in the UK, though their estimated immunity was below the herd immunity threshold for Delta.

The significantly higher viral loads and more infectious nature of the Delta variant could put the herd immunity target as high as 88 percent to suppress infection spikes when the Delta variant becomes the dominant variant in a few weeks’ time.

Vaccinations Lag

As a county, we’re still behind on vaccinations: Only 38 percent of the total population with completed vaccination series and 47 percent of the total population with at least one dose (61 percent of adults and 80 percent of those over the age of 65 years).  While previous infections and partial vaccinations do provide a level of protection, all evidence suggests that full vaccinations are the most effective way to stay safe against the delta variant.

Why is getting vaccinated still very important:

  • Infections remain very low for those vaccinated – local data from Parkland and the Dallas County Health & Human Services Department suggests an infection rate of only 0.04 percent for those vaccinated. Getting vaccinated doesn’t only protect you, but those around you, including the children who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.
  • Long COVID (prolonged COVID related symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, muscle pain, shortness of breath, and loss of taste and smell) is prevalent in 10-30 percent of those infected and mortality for those unvaccinated is still a concern. Not getting vaccinated is rolling the dice on dying or dealing with long-term medical issues. 

The message is simple: don’t wait to get vaccinated. For those still hesitant, the safety and efficacy studies to date are overwhelmingly positive.  There are also two key upcoming milestones that should give further confidence to those who remain hesitant: Full FDA approvals for the mRNA vaccines expected in the upcoming weeks and approval for the under 12-year-old groups in the fall.”

-Steve Miff, PhD, President & CEO of Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) 

To monitor herd immunity and vaccination progress in Dallas County go to PCCI’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Herd Immunity Dashboard hosted on the Dallas County Health and Human Services’ website: https://www.dallascounty.org/covid-19/.

Background on PCCI’s herd immunity measurements

PCCI’s forecast for herd immunity is based on an innovative yet vetted statistical and immunological model and analysis of spread and management of diseases within communities. Further, PCCI’s 80 percent range for reaching herd immunity is in line with national estimates, such as that of Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who recently gave a range of 70 to 90 percent and the World Health Organization which gave a 60 to 70 percent range of infections and vaccines to reach herd immunity*.

PCCI’s forecast and estimates have been developed in coordination with community health leaders in Dallas County, including the DCHHS and Parkland Health & Hospital System.  Recently, PCCI has been collaborating with the leadership and expert teams at the Institute for Health Improvement on modeling.

*New York Times, Dec. 24, 2020: “How Much Herd Immunity Is Enough?”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/24/health/herd-immunity-covid-coronavirus.html

 

6 July 2021

News Release: PCCI, Dallas County Release COVID-19 Vaccination and Herd Immunity Dashboard




Dallas, Texas – Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI), which improves healthcare for vulnerable populations using advanced data science and clinical experts, has developed a COVID-19 Vaccination and Herd Immunity Dashboard to give residents of Dallas County up-to-date data about herd immunity levels, infections and vaccinations rates and corresponding demographic information.

The Dallas County Health and Human Services Department (DCHHS) will host the COVID-19 Vaccination and Herd Immunity Dashboard, which will supplement its rich set of COVID-19 resources. The COVID-19 Vaccination and Herd Immunity Dashboard can be accessed here: https://www.dallascounty.org/covid-19/

The COVID-19 Vaccination and Herd Immunity Dashboard provides exclusive data for Dallas County, including herd immunity by percentage of the county’s population at the ZIP code level. This is helpful for monitoring the county’s efforts to drive vaccination efforts to reach the herd immunity threshold of 80 percent of the whole county’s population who either have recovered from COVID-19 or who have received vaccinations. The dashboard’s data also includes vaccinations by manufacturer, estimated active COVID cases and important information resources about the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 Vaccination and Herd Immunity Dashboard provides the relevant available information to help estimate how far along Dallas County is toward reaching the herd immunity goal as well as the rates of vaccinations across the whole community,” DCHHS Director Dr. Philip Huang said. “It is important that we understand that once the indicators suggest that we are at the estimated herd immunity threshold, the work is not over. We need to continue the push for vaccinations, which is the crucial element to reaching herd immunity. The data in this dashboard will allow us to monitor our fight against COVID in every corner of the county in order for us to take the necessary steps to maintain our positive momentum.”

For each ZIP code in Dallas County, the COVID-19 Vaccination and Herd Immunity Dashboard also includes insightful, localized vaccination demographic information, such as ethnicity, age, sex and race. This data is used to continue to ensure equity in all our efforts and to continue to reach the population in the most convenient and effective way.

“This is critical information that we need to guide and coordinate our efforts. Dallas County is unique in the country for having these analytics available at such localized levels for all of our residents,” said Dr. Steve Miff, PCCI’s President and CEO. “The way we crush COVID is by coming together as a community and the information from the dashboard empowers everyone with knowledge on what is happening where they live― what the herd immunity level is and what the vaccination level is so they may act accordingly to maintain their safety and that of their families.”

In February, PCCI forecast that Dallas County would reach the 80 percent herd immunity threshold in June. However, that forecast has been pushed back to July due to slowing vaccination rates.

“Our progress toward herd immunity in Dallas County is making a difference as we have seen with slowing rates of community transmission, and it is so important that we aggressively continue our community efforts to vaccinate,” said Dr. Huang. “With the knowledge we gain from the COVID-19 Vaccination and Herd Immunity Dashboard, we can empower all our citizens with the information to stay safe. Vaccines are the best line of defense against COVID-19 and its variants, so it is critical that as many county residents as possible receive a vaccine.”

PCCI’s forecast for herd immunity is based on an innovative yet vetted statistical and immunological model and analysis of spread and management of diseases within communities. Further, PCCI’s 80 percent range for reaching herd immunity is in line with national estimates, such as that of Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who recently gave a range of 70 to 90 percent and the World Health Organization which gave a 60 to 70 percent range of infections and vaccines to reach herd immunity*.

PCCI’s forecast and estimates have been developed in coordination with community health leaders in Dallas County, including the DCHHS and Parkland Health & Hospital System. Recently, PCCI has been collaborating with the leadership and expert teams at the Institute for Health Improvement on modeling.

The COVID-19 Vaccination and Herd Immunity Dashboard supports the Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox web browsers.

About Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation
Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) is an independent, not-for-profit, healthcare innovation 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.
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*New York Times, Dec. 24, 2020: “How Much Herd Immunity Is Enough?”

23 February 2021

PCCI Forecasts that Dallas County to reach COVID-19 Herd Immunity by mid-June




Dallas, Texas – Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI), which improves healthcare for vulnerable populations using advanced data science and clinical experts, estimates Dallas County will reach a critical tipping point of COVID-19 “herd immunity” in late-June due to total case recoveries and vaccinations.

PCCI forecasts that Dallas County is on track to have 80 percent of the county residents at levels of COVID-19 “herd immunity” by early summer. This forecast is based on models estimating individuals who either have recovered from COVID-19 or who have received vaccinations.

“Our forecast is determined by the data, models and trends we have been monitoring and analyzing since the beginning of the pandemic and informed by the latest national and international research. We are optimistic that by early summer, much of Dallas County will reach herd immunity,” said Steve Miff, PhD, President and CEO of PCCI. “We will get to herd immunity either through continued infection, which is a slow route that will continue to harm the community and economy, or vaccinations. This underscores the importance of Dallas County residents registering for and receiving the COVID-19 vaccinations as quickly as possible and continuing to stay vigilant and safe from being infected. We’re also racing to stay ahead of the development and spread of existing or future new COVID-19 strains. We are in this together and will only get there though our collective and combined efforts.”

PCCI’s analysis, as of Feb. 22, indicates that the county has already reached 44 percent of the 1.9 million adult residents of Dallas County as either recovered from COVID-19 or in the process of receiving their full COVID-19 vaccine. That includes 922,460 COVID-19 confirmed and presumed infected and recovered, and 270,642 residents who have received their first (154,766) and second (115,875) vaccine shot.

“Reaching the tipping point for herd immunity is achievable with continued community effort,” said Thomas Roderick, PhD, Senior Director of Data and Applied Sciences at PCCI. “But parts of the county may not share the early benefits in our estimated forecast if they don’t keep pace with vaccines. Vaccines are also the best line of defense against COVID-19 variants, so it is critical that vaccines are made available to as many people as possible and county residents make it a priority to get vaccinated.”

PCCI’s forecast for herd immunity is based on widely accepted statistical analysis of spread and management of diseases within com

munities. Further, PCCI’s 80 percent range for reaching herd immunity is in line with national estimates, such as that of Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who recently gave a range of 70 to 90 percent and the World Health Organization that gave a 60 to 70 percent range of infections and vaccines to reach herd immunity*.

PCCI’s forecast and estimates have been developed in coordination with and reviewed by community health leaders in Dallas County including experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas County Health and Human Services and Parkland Health & Hospital System.

“Our predictions for Dallas County to reach its herd immunity tipping point include algorithms to predict total infections and forecasts of vaccination rates. We encourage the community to participate in virological studies such as the one conducted by our colleagues at UT Southwestern (https://utswmed.org/covidstudy/) so we can better understand the community infections and impact. We also need to register and vaccinate the most vulnerable as well as the rest of the population as soon as they are eligible,” said George ‘Holt’ Oliver, MD, PhD, Vice President of Clinical Informatics at PCCI.

PCCI will update its forecast monthly to understand how well the county is progressing toward its 80 percent vaccinated and infected and recovered rate. The updates will incorporate the latest data, intelligence and information from new studies, research and developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and impact of emerging strains.

PCCI has made available an important tool to help Dallas County residents stay vigilant and understand their personal risk, the MyPCI App, a free wed-base app that will help individuals make informed choices by providing an on-demand, location-based personal risk assessment of possible COVID-19 exposure. MyPCI is a sophisticated machine learning algorithm, geomapping and hot-spotting technology that uses daily updated data from 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.

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*New York Times, Dec. 24, 2020: “How Much Herd Immunity Is Enough?”
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/24/health/herd-immunity-covid-coronavirus.html

31 December 2020

In the news: COVID-19 Patients Make Up One Quarter of All Hospitalizations




In this story from DCEO, state data says there are only 18 ICU beds available in Dallas County and just six in Tarrant County. This story highlights PCCI’s COVID-19 Vulnerability Index and how it has shown exponential growth in risk using its Vulnerability Index tool. For the full story, click on the image below:

30 December 2020

PCCI Impact: Taking the Fight To COVID-19 in 2020




COVID-19’s outbreak in the Dallas-area was a challenge PCCI faced head-on, making an impact on the community with its approach to providing innovative tools to help the public and healthcare leaders better understand the pandemic and mitigate its harm. Below is a short excerpt of PCCI’s COVID-19 efforts, for a much more detailed report, contact us for a copy of PCCI’s Annual Impact Report, where PCCI’s actions are shared in much greater detail.

To get the full Annual Impact Report, please click HERE, select “other” and in the message box, add “Annual Impact Report” to receive your electronic copy.

29 December 2020

In the news: CBS Dallas Shares PCCI’s COVID-19 Concerns Over Holiday Celebrations




PCCI’s research on COVID-19 was cited by CBS Dallas in a new story covering the hazards of celebrating during the holidays. Steve Miff, CEO of PCCI, was interviewed for this story at also included insights from PCCI’s COVID-19 Vulnerability Index. Go to the :50 second mark for PCCI’s inclusion. Click the image below to view the video and story:

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