COVID-19, no longer a public health emergency
On Friday, May 5th of this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern. And as of today, May 11, the U.S. Declaration of Public Health Emergency regarding COVID-19 is being lifted.
No one is more relieved than we are at Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) that COVID-19 is no longer a major concern. It isn't gone completely, and there is still a need for people to stay vigilant for it and get vaccinated and boosted. But let’s hope it will be a long time before we encounter another world-wide public health emergency.
Read more of this May 11 entry
The first full week of April is National Public Health Week
This occasion gives us the opportunity to highlight various achievements of public health nationwide, as well as locally.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a watershed event for our time. Responding to the pandemic has demanded some changes for public health. Not only did it spur some renovation with vaccine development, it also required that we find unconventional ways to provide vaccines to people isolated by the pandemic. Our staff rose to the challenge. It spawned the VaxMobile, our joint venture with Trinity Metro to get needed COVID-19 vaccines out to the community. We also developed the means to safely provide services like WIC to needy clients, and put into place new virtual programs that are providing vital health education.
Things are looking up for Tarrant County
It’s hard to believe, but we are already more than halfway through February 2023. We are seeing a downward trend in both COVID-19 and Flu cases. After the COVID-19 Community Level needle briefly (a few weeks) rose to HIGH this winter, we are now back at LOW. When looking back, this is even more astounding and a huge triumph for all of us when you look at the difference a year makes. In January 2022, we were seeing 2,027 COVID cases per 100,000 residents while this January that number dropped to only 93 cases per 100,000 residents. Certainly, the efforts of our public health staff and our community cannot go unnoticed. I am confident that these results reflect the work everyone has put into getting vaccinations out to as many folks in our community as possible and educating people on the prevention of COVID-19.
COVID-19, Monkeypox and HEAT
We are seeing COVID-19 cases increasing locally. Tarrant County has moved from low spread to high. We've also notice Omicron variants BA4 and BA5 in our area and are keeping an eye on them. It is possible to get COVID-19 more than once. For those who had their COVID-19 shots earlier, those vaccines were not a match for these current variants, so you may want to get another booster.
There are still COVID-19 hot spots in the country, so we're asking people who may be travelling...
Springtime in North Texas
I'm happy to report that COVID-19 related deaths in Tarrant County are on the decline. On Tuesday, April 12, there were no COVID-19 deaths in Tarrant County. We haven't had a day like that since December 6 of last year. COVID-19 disease activity is at a low in Tarrant County. It is time to get out and enjoy our nice spring weather. We certainly hope this trend continues.
Sadly, we can't say the pandemic has ended...
The COVID saga continues!
Over the Thanksgiving weekend you may have heard that a new variant of COVID was identified in South Africa. Several nations, including the U.S., moved quickly to curb travel to several countries where this variant was already identified. However, and as expected, by the time we found out, the virus had already travelled. The CDC just confirmed today it’s first “known” case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The resurgence of COVID-19
When I last posted, I had hoped that COVID-19 cases would continue to drop.
Sadly, we're seeing a resurgence of COVID-19, specifically the Delta variant, which is a mutated form of COVID-19. It is more aggressive and contagious.
All of our indicators are going up. The "curve" is rising again. Our local hospitals have ICUs filled with patients --many of whom were not vaccinated for COVID-19.
Read more of this August 6, 2021 entry
The fight against COVID-19 is being won
I am happy to say we have finally reached a point where COVID-19 vaccines have become plentiful enough for just about everyone 12 years and older to get vaccinated. Mobile options are now available. Our vaccination efforts, along with the other COVID-19 mitigation measures, have finally slowed the spread. Those mitigation measures may have even kept the annual flu season at bay.
People can now easily select an appointment for COVID-19 vaccination...
Some good news and some caution!
The good news is that West Nile Virus-positive mosquito pools have recently dropped significantly. We were previously concerned with the rising numbers of positives we were finding, which was why we were considering aerial spraying.
But that's not the case right now --unless positive pools start coming back strong.
COVID-19 answers to some questions
Folks, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve quickly and we know the uncertainty of this situation is worrisome. So I want to offer a bit of reassurance.
First, not every disease going around right now is COVID-19!
Resolve to work on good health habits
I always like to take this time of year to not only wish people a Happy New Year, but to encourage everyone to include improving one's health as a resolution, if you do resolutions.
But even if you don't, it's always wise to work on good health habits.
It's getting serious
The holidays are here and we at Tarrant County Public Health are gearing up for what could possibly be a serious flu season (flu graph). You may have heard or seen news reports about the increase in flu cases...
Flu season is here
Even though it's seasonal, influenza (the flu) is one of the toughest diseases to predict. A nice summer and a warm fall tend to lull people into believing the flu is no big deal. But it is! Flu kills several thousand people across US every year and it is preventable.
Vaping Blows...big time!
Back in March, Tarrant County Public Health launched a "Vaping Blows" campaign to educate parents and youth regarding the dangers of vaping. Since then the news related to vaping has literally blown up --and not in a good way!
Tarrant County Prepares
During this month, we typically remind ourselves and others to prepare for hurricanes and other natural disasters, and to have our home preparedness plans ready. However, a select few of us in public health are always preparing for the next big disease outbreak...
Heat, shots and mosquitoes
As the old song goes, the heat is on -- and we're in the middle of it. If you're still not clear on how the heat can hurt you, please review our "When it's hot as heck" webpage.
Measles and Mosquitoes
No doubt you've heard news of measles cases springing up locally and nationally. Did you know that year-round transmission of measles was declared eliminated in the United States back in 2000? And yet, these cases have appeared. Regardless of where they came from, we now know a major factor they have in common is that they happened AMONG THE UNVACCINATED.
AND DID YOU KNOW: vaccines by themselves do not kill diseases.
April happenings and free testing!
April is here and I'm sure we're all looking forward to enjoying some CONSISTENT spring weather!
April also has a quite a few health observances. Our award-winning Teen Videofest project is celebrating its 20th anniversary and will showcase this year's video winners on April 12.
Resolve to stay healthy
It's never too late to start, learn, reestablish and maintain good health habits. If you've made the resolution to improve your health this year, you're off to a good start. And Tarrant County Public Health can help you along the way!
Want to eat healthier? We can help!
Trying to quit smoking? We can help there too.
Don't want to catch the flu? We're right there with you.
They're not just blowing smoke.
The U.S. Surgeon General just released an advisory regarding E-cigarette use among youth. In it he said, "The recent surge in e-cigarette use among youth, which has been fueled by new types of e-cigarettes that have recently entered the market, is a cause for great concern. We must take action now to protect the health of our nation's young people. KNOW THE RISKS. TAKE ACTION. PROTECT OUR KIDS."
Flu and the weather sometimes go together
This week happens to be National Influenza Vaccination Week. Although the influenza virus doesn't take a holiday and is a year-round concern, the winter months and cold weather tend to keep us inside more, which makes it easier to catch a cold -- or the flu.
So how can you tell the difference?
Babies, turkeys and the flu
One measure of health for any society is how many of its children survive their first year of life.
Children born before 37 weeks of pregnancy (premature birth), and complications resulting from such early births are the number one cause of "infant mortality" in the United States and the second cause in Tarrant County.
In Texas, Tarrant County has been leading in the numbers of infant deaths --until recently. We've been doing something about that, and thankfully we're seeing positive progress.
Heat wanes as the flu looms
We're grateful the summer heat has waned but this means that flu season, typically running from October through March, is now upon us. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention's early estimates indicate that more than 900,000 people were hospitalized and more than 80,000 people died from flu during the 2017-2018 flu season.
Back-to-school immunizations now being offered
Beat the back-to-school frenzy and get your kids vaccinated in the coming weeks. Tarrant County Public Health, along with our partners at the Immunization Collaboration of Tarrant County, are offering low cost back-to-school immunizations starting this week through the end of August. Printable schedules of these events are available in both English and Spanish.
It's not even summer yet!
After living in north Texas for a few years now, I've noticed the heat often gets here before summer becomes official.
So for other recent arrivals, and as a reminder to those who've lived here awhile, keep alert and aware of the effects heat can have on anyone --especially children or pets-- left inside a hot car. Take precautions, set reminders, do what you must to ensure their safety. They're worth your efforts.
It's National Public Health Week!
Changing our health for the better means ensuring conditions where everyone has the opportunity to be healthy. We all have a role to play and it begins with using our TCPH expertise to educate our own staff and our community.
Flu season and emergency alarms
The start of this new year finds Tarrant County in the midst of a rampant flu season. Public Health refers to such conditions as widespread influenza --and it may not have even peaked yet.
Flu is out there.
Many of you may not know Tarrant County Public Health maintains year-round influenza surveillance. But with flu season upon us, these next few months are the ones to watch...
September is National Preparedness Month.
When you live in a state like Texas -- which experiences flash flooding, tornadoes and the occasional hurricane -- it behooves all of us to have some measures in place to protect ourselves, our families and our businesses.
Summer heat, back-to-school shots, mosquitoes
As more hot summer weather comes our way, I'd like to remind everyone to always stay aware of the effect heat can have on children --or any pet-- left inside a hot car. Take whatever precautions you must or set any reminders you need in order to ensure their safety. I promise you won't regret it.
Millennials and Cancer Risk
I was surprised to learn from about a recent study that shows millennials (individuals born from 1980 - 1995) are at an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
The study, found in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute*, warns the data should be a sign that this generation faces an epidemic of digestive diseases - and suggests we begin screening people in their early 20s, rather than in their 60s.
All of us deserve a fair chance at a healthy, long and fruitful life.
Health Equity simply means attainment of the highest levels of health for all. It is easier said than done. What is surprising to many is that the social, environmental and economic conditions around us determine and impact our health more than we can imagine!
We are now moving toward the time of the year when the flu season starts to peak. According to our surveillance efforts, there are a lot of flu-like illnesses going around.
With the cold weather, the ongoing flu season and an unexpected mumps outbreak in North Texas, there are plenty of health issues to stay aware of this holiday season.
Is there a record for the number of times someone can say the word DEET in a year? If so, the record keeper should have spent the past seven months by my side.
Flu season lurks right around the corner. Cook Children’s diagnosed their first flu case this week -- the earliest diagnosis they have seen in three years.
As relatively new residents of North Texas, my family and I are learning to adjust to the summertime heat. I also have two small children, so whenever I hear of any child left in a car on a hot day, my heart breaks.
As of today, March 8, there have been two additional cases of Zika Virus reported in Tarrant County, making a total of three human cases in the county so far.
I am sure by now most of you have heard about the Zika Virus.
This is a mosquito-borne illness that is carried by Aedes mosquitoes, which unfortunately, are common to the North Texas area.
It was hard not to notice all the flu shot advertising that popped up across our county in August and the media messaging that followed the next month...
Getting back into the swing of the school season is no easy task for any parent, let alone their children. A summer of late bedtimes and alarm clock-less mornings are quickly replaced by...
This morning, I had the opportunity to talk with the members of Mid-Cities Pace Setters Rotary Club...
National Public Health Week started off Monday with President Obama issuing a proclamation recognizing the value public health workers deliver to our country every day...
Dear Tarrant County Residents,
You may have heard in recent media reports that a person with Measles traveled back from India into Tarrant County on January 6.
The person traveled by plane and later had contact with family members, as well as people in the community during a visit to the doctor’s office.
From this situation, TCPH staff interviewed several potential contacts from the plane, the person’s family and community.
Dear Tarrant County Residents
I am writing to inform you of some good news.
All of the “Contacts” from the Dallas Ebola “Cases” that we monitored in Tarrant County, have finished their 21-day monitoring period successfully.
Dear Tarrant County Residents
As you may have heard today, Nina Pham, the Texas Health Presbyterian nurse who was diagnosed with Ebola, has been declared Ebola free. She is being released from National Institutes of Health (NIH) today and expected to return to the Dallas - Fort Worth area later this evening.
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