DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - In all of the fallout from the deadly winter storms, some encouraging news may have been overlooked: Covid-19 numbers in North Texas are now on the decline.
"Hospital workers are encouraged," says Stephen Love, President & CEO, DFW Hospital Council. "They're seeing more people get vaccinated. Their message still is please, wear a mask and please physical distance, but they are getting a breather. You know, they've been at this now, a year. They deserve a break."
Health experts say a number of factors are contributing: wearing masks, washing hands, and perhaps even the bitter cold.
"People did have to stay at home," says Love. "And we certainly hurt for people that went through a really tough time with utilities and pipes bursting etc. But nonetheless, that could be a silver lining that people were sheltered in place and it helped stop that community spread."
Love admits that the winter weather impact is anecdotal at this point.
"We're running about 1,300 Covid-19 patients in our hospitals and trauma service area E. The second week of January we were running over 4,000," shares Love. "The other good news: about 24% to 25% of the patients in ICU beds have Covid, but back in January that was closer to 51% or 52%. Clearly moving in the right direction."
New modeling from UT Southwestern echoes that optimism and is also forecasting an overall downward trend. Still, they too, stress that continued compliance is key.
"I know people get tired of hearing it," says Love. "We've got to keep wearing masks, we've got to keep washing hands. We've got to continue to tamp it down, and then vaccinate as many people as possible."
Health experts say it is crucial to get whatever vaccine is available, as soon as possible.
Constance Hampton of Colleyville needed no encouragement.
When asked how she felt about getting her vaccine at Globe Life Field recently, she responded, "Between 1 and 10? 10!" she exclaimed. "I'm comfortable now that I got the shot."
Vaccines, experts say, are our most reliable bridge, back to normal.
"Well, there is light at the end of the tunnel," says Love, "and every day we're getting closer to that light."
"I just turned 65," says Anthony Breedlove of Fort Worth while getting his vaccine. "I want to have the opportunity to live a long and happier life. Whatever it takes."
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