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Increase in COVID rate related to school openings

DALLAS—An increase in COVID positivity tests in Dallas County has Parkland Health officials encouraging those eligible to receive the vaccine now that students and teachers have returned to the classroom.

The latest spike in COVID cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), directly correlates to the time children returned to the classroom. From mid-April to Aug. 31 Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) reported a nearly 30 percent spike in positive PCR COVID-19 tests. The positivity rate has gone up from less than 20 percent to over 30 percent again in one week. 

In addition, the Texas Department of State Health Services reports that fewer than 3 percent of children in Dallas County under 5 (approximately 2 out of every 100 children) have received a first dose of the COVID vaccine.

“Young children who are at home and not in school full time yet will be better protected if their parents or guardians are vaccinated,” Joseph Chang, MD, chief medical officer at Parkland, said. “That’s another reason to get those around your children vaccinated. It’s an important and effective move to protect our young ones.”

New COVID-19 boosters designed to fight the virus’ omicron variant, authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, are expected to begin shipping soon.

Parkland Health offers COVID-19 testing and vaccines to the public at Parkland’s Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) health centers located throughout Dallas County by appointment only. Individuals are reminded to bring their vaccine card and a form of identification. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Additionally, most pharmacies and pediatricians’ offices offer testing and at-home test kits can also be used to test children for COVID. 

To schedule an appointment:

Individuals can call the Parkland COVID-19 helpline at 214-590-7000 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Saturday to schedule an appointment. Representatives are available in English and Spanish.

Please do not come to Parkland’s Emergency Room or Urgent Care Emergency Center for a testing or vaccine appointment.

COVID-19 testing and vaccinations are available at no cost to the patient, but Parkland may charge your insurance company or third-party payor (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, etc.).

“We know the vaccine is effective,” Chang said. “We always worry about back-to-school and sickness, because our kids are going from playing in groups of three to four over the summer to full-sized classrooms, lunchrooms and bus rides. Students are back together again and that means they are swapping germs and being in close quarters. The more people that can get vaccinated, the less likely we will continue seeing a rise in cases.”

For more information about COVID-19 testing, visit https://www.parklandhealth.org/covid-19-testing. For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, visit https://www.parklandhealth.org/covid-19-vaccines.

SOURCE Parkland Health