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COVID-19 updates: Dallas County leaders hope for approval of federally-run vaccination site

For comparison, Judge Jenkins said this week the total vaccination at the Fair Park site was 43,300 doses. With the potential FEMA site, it would be 72,000 doses.

This story will be updated throughout the day as new information is released.

Dallas County hopes it will get a federal site to help distribute the COVID-19 vaccine if the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency approve.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a news conference Thursday that the federally-run FEMA site could help speed up vaccinations and allocate the North Texas area more doses than what is currently expected from the state. 

For comparison, he said this week the total vaccination at the Fair Park site was 43,300 doses. With the FEMA site, it would be 72,000 doses.

"My hope is that we will work on this and get something done there," Jenkins said. "Until even the White House announces it, it's not a done deal."

On Wednesday, county officials said they had requested federal help distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. 

In a request submitted Tuesday, county leaders asked for a FEMA mass vaccine site to help vaccinate the metro area with a population of almost 8 million people. 

Officials pointed to the high number of uninsured residents, the health disparities by race and ethnicity, and geographic location, as reasons more vaccinations are needed to help vulnerable populations. 

On Wednesday, Dallas County confirmed its deadliest day of the pandemic, confirming 40 additional deaths due to COVID-19.

In their request, county officials said despite mass vaccination hubs in each of the large counties in the region, health experts say it will take until 2022 to vaccinate the state of Texas.

On Thursday, Jenkins also mentioned that the Dallas County Commissioner's Court approved hiring additional vendors to speed up the vaccination process and efficiency.

The vendors will also help give people QR codes that can't be replicated or given to another person to smooth out the vaccination appointment process.

The court also approved a call center that will help people without internet access and help bilingual residents.

Jenkins also reminded residents to beware of scams. No vaccine provider will request payment, he said.

Tarrant County reports 10 additional deaths 

Tarrant County health officials reported 10 new COVID-19 deaths Thursday. The victims ranged from being a Fort Worth man in his 60s to an Arlington woman in her 90s.

Officials said one person had unknown underlying health conditions, and the other victims had underlying health conditions.

State officials say 1 in 6 Texans 65+ have received one dose of the vaccine

The Texas Department of State Health Services says one in 13 Texans have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That number is higher among older Texans, with one in six people 65 years and older receiving at least one dose.

There is a disparity between certain areas in terms of total population vs. doses administered, particularly in Dallas, Tarrant, and Denton counties in North Texas, the state data shows.

Next week, Texas anticipates receiving slightly more vaccine doses up to 385K from 333K this week. 

State officials held a briefing Thursday morning. Chair Imelda Garcia, the associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services, was joined by Science Advisor Saroj Rai.

The update comes as the state reported a record-high number of deaths in a single day on Wednesday at 467 people

Over the past 30 days, a Texan has died from COVID-19 every 5.25 minutes, according to data from Johns Hopkins University as of Wednesday.  

Overall, about 35,000 Texans have died from the disease since the pandemic began, which is about the size of the entire city of Waxahachie.

For a daily roundup of the latest news from around North Texas and beyond, sign up for the WFAA email newsletter.

Record number of deaths Wednesday

Dallas County experienced its deadliest day as well after 40 deaths were reported Wednesday. There were also 1,671 cases of COVID-19 added.

"These deaths are a result of the high number of COVID cases that have been reported over the last several weeks. Increased deaths always follows increased infections," said County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Jenkins asked Texans to make small sacrifices to keep the community and country strong in the fight, so continue to wear a mask, social distance, and avoid crowds and get-togethers.

Tarrant County Public Health reported 12 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths Wednesday. Two child deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours in Tarrant County, both were treated at Cook Children's and died of complications of COVID-19.

A 9-year-old Vernon boy died early Tuesday morning and the death of a boy less than 1-year-old was reported this week.

J.J. Boatman was identified by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner. He had just turned 9 earlier this month, according to information found on a GoFundMe that was set up for his family.

There have been 2,113 deaths in Tarrant County and 2,092 deaths in Dallas County since the pandemic began alone.

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