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WEATHERFORD — Parker County Judge Pat Deen says COVID-19 numbers will need to get “dramatically higher” before any more mandates are considered.

“The government has done what they can in educating people and making the vaccine readily available,” Deen said. “You could walk in and get the shot immediately at the [Parker County] Hospital District or many other places.

“If you’re vaccinated, that’s the key to this — not pushing more government on people.”

Asked what that threshold might be, Deen said that was a topic he planned to discuss with city and county leaders and health authorities on a conference call scheduled for Friday morning.

Cases across the state have steadily risen, as the Delta variant and others have become more prevalent while vaccination rates have seemingly levelled off.

The Texas Department of State Health Services recorded 72 new cases in Parker County on Thursday, 15 new cases Wednesday and 100 new cases Tuesday.

The county has about 13,300 total confirmed cases (296 of those active), 16,600 recoveries and 195 deaths, as of the latest numbers at press time.

But Deen said it’s the hospital data they are monitoring most closely.

“That’s the true measuring stick to really gauge the impact to Parker County,” he said. “It did nudge up there during the peak of COVID-19, but we haven’t come anywhere close to that.”

Trauma Service Area E (Parker, Palo Pinto, Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Fannin, Grayson, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise counties), currently has a little over 8 percent of COVID hospitalizations out of total hospital capacity, with Parker County sitting at about 17 percent.

Palo Pinto General issued a plea for residents to “take the shot” this week, noting an uptick in the number of positive tests results. In May, 1.6 percent of tests came back positive, compared to 5 percent in June. In July, the number was at 15.6 percent as of Thursday, according to the hospital.

The county had 17 new positive cases Tuesday, and 12 new cases between Wednesday and Thursday, and has an estimated 34 active cases, 2,610 total confirmed cases, 2,900 recoveries and 78 deaths, according to state data.

The hospital this week also announced changes to its visitation guidelines, and the suspension of operations at its mobile clinic in Strawn. 

Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth said it is seeing more than 60 positive cases of COVID-19 per day, the highest number since February.

Tommy Dold, director of community and public relations for Medical City, said they are closely monitoring rises in COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations across the area, including at the Weatherford branch.

“We urge everyone to stay vigilant in protecting their own health as well as the health of family members, healthcare providers and our community by following CDC recommendations, including COVID-19 vaccinations,” he said.

Deen said he contracted COVID-19 in December, and after a period of allowing himself protection through antibodies, went and got the vaccine on Thursday.

“When I had the virus, it was a difficult time for me, so I take this seriously, but I also take very seriously the personal freedoms that people have,” he said. “They don’t need to be told to [do something] when they can make those decisions themselves and have those liberties.

“It’s not our role to mandate that to them, it should be their responsibility to take precautions for them and their family. And I do believe people will get vaccinations as they learn more about it.”

Thus far, a little over 71 percent of those 65 and older in Parker County have been fully vaccinated, and 77 percent have received at least one dose. Around 40 percent of those 12 and up are fully vaccinated, with about 45 percent receiving at least one dose.

Palo Pinto County has about 59 percent 65 and up fully vaccinated, with 64.8 percent receiving at least one dose. Of those 12 and older, about 32 percent have been fully vaccinated, with 37 percent receiving at least one dose.

Multiple locations in Palo Pinto and Parker County have vaccine doses available. To find a location, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/search/.

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