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'Sad Milestone', Report Says COVID-19 Fatalities Now Leading Cause Of Death In Dallas County 

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A new report from the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation said mortalities due to the coronavirus pandemic are now the leading cause of death among Dallas County residents, surpassing heart disease, cancer and strokes in the past year.

"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 is an independent, not-for-profit, healthcare intelligence organization affiliated with Parkland Health & Hospital System. It leverages clinical expertise, data science and social determinants of health to address the needs of vulnerable populations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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, according to PCCI. 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.

In a news release, PCCI recently forecast that Dallas County may reach COVID-19 herd immunity by mid-June. However, in order to reach this threshold, the non-profit said 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.

The healthcare intelligence organization launched the MyPCI App, a web-based program to help inform the residents of Dallas County to their individual risks.

It's free to register and use, and 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 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.


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