Three years, three months and 12 days after the U.S. first declared COVID-19 a public health emergency, the federal designation drew formally to a close May 11. In between, more than 1 million Americans died from the disease, including roughly 6,000 people in Tarrant County.
How did Tarrant County fare when it comes to other metrics and compared to counties across Texas? The Fort Worth Report visualized data from The New York Times and the Texas Department of State Health Services to bring you a local story of the pandemic.
Tarrant County reported its first COVID-19 case March 10, 2020. The person had traveled to a conference in Kentucky during late February, according to a news release.
Within a year, that number swelled to more than 200,000, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Within two, 450,000. By May 10, 2023, the last day of reported data, Tarrant County had experienced more than 535,000 cases of COVID-19 — the equivalent of more than five sold-out Taylor Swift concerts at AT&T Stadium.
Behind Harris and Dallas, Tarrant is the third most populated county in Texas. However, its COVID-19 case rate surpassed both. With 30,435 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, Tarrant’s all-time rate was second only to Bexar’s, according to May 15 data from The New York Times.
As cases grew, hospitals worked to keep pace with the demands of the pandemic. Staff shortages, disagreement around vaccine mandates and out-of-season respiratory viruses further complicated their efforts.
In the trauma service area that covers Tarrant, Dallas and surrounding counties, the percentage of available beds filled by COVID-19 patients waxed and waned with four distinct peaks, closely mimicking statewide numbers.
On March 17, 2020 — one week after the first reported case — the county reported its first COVID-19 death. The older adult lived in the Texas Masonic Retirement Center in Arlington.
Since then, the number of deaths swelled, spiked and dipped. Lately, it’s plateaued.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, roughly 5,622 people died from COVID-19 in Tarrant County, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Put another way, the number of people who died from COVID-19 in Tarrant County could nearly fill Billy Bob’s Texas.
When compared to Texas’ other most populated counties, Tarrant experienced the second highest rate of deaths, according to The New York Times: 307 deaths per 100,000 people, behind Bexar County.
Nearly nine months after Tarrant County’s first reported case, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use on Dec. 11, 2020. Four days later, Tarrant County received its first shipment.
Since then, amid an amalgam of other vaccines and multiple variants, people across Tarrant County received their initial shots. By May 15, 58% had completed the primary series, according to The New York Times.
Only 10% have received the bivalent booster, which targets both the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the omicron variant. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone aged 6 years and older receive the bivalent booster.
Alexis Allison is the health reporter at the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at email@example.com or via Twitter.
Her position is supported by a grant from Texas Health Resources. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.