'Pandemic High': In Dallas County, COVID-19 Surges Among School-Aged Children

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The omicron variant makes up most of the new COVID-19 cases in Texas, according to state health authorities.
In Dallas County, COVID-19 cases are surging among school-aged children, according to a tally by the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation.

On Thursday, the center said that elementary and middle school-aged kids had experienced a 61% week-over-week incidence of COVID-19 cases. At the same time, health authorities have recorded a 75% week-over-week spike among high school-aged children.

Altogether, pediatric cases represent one-third of the total COVID-19 infections, the center said, describing that number as a "pandemic high."

Despite the uptick in cases, hospitalizations and intensive care unit and emergency room cases didn't increase, the center said.

On Wednesday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins confirmed the numbers on Twitter, urging followers to get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster if they haven’t already.

“It is important that we all remain up-to-date,” Jenkins wrote. “Most individuals are now eligible for the updated vaccine which better protects against the current virus variants.”

On Tuesday, Philip Huang, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, told county commissioners that 5,000 doses of the updated COVID-19 booster would arrive in Dallas this week.

The revamped boosters are designed to provide greater protection against the especially contagious omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

As of Wednesday, the Dallas Independent School District had documented at least 1,781 positive coronavirus cases since the start of the school year last month. Garland ISD has recorded more than 2,100 cases among students and campus staff this school year, but only 61 are considered active.

According to data published by The New York Times, Texas has had more than 7.79 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic first hit in early 2020. Of those cases, more than 90,000 resulted in deaths.

Late last month, provisional data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated a dip in U.S. life expectancy for a second year in a row.

In 2019, life expectancy was 79 years, but it dropped to 77 the next year. In 2021, that number fell again to 76.1.

The CDC described COVID-19 as the “the leading cause contributing negatively to the change in life expectancy for the total population.

In Texas, around 62% of the population is fully vaccinated, compared with 68% of people across the U.S.