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Jan. 11 Evening Newscast: Texas rural hospitals urged to apply for federal funds

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  • Texas health officials are encouraging rural hospitals and nursing facilities to apply for pandemic relief funds. The deadline is tomorrow. The federal funding’s made available through the American Rescue Plan Act and is aimed at supporting critical staffing needs during the pandemic. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has about $90 million in grants for nursing facilities. Each can receive up to $75,000. So far, roughly 90 percent of eligible nursing facilities have applied. So have 135 of the 153 eligible rural hospitals. The state has another 38 million to distribute to rural hospitals, which can each get $250,000. Those funds can be used to support staffing and infrastructure needs or to cover revenue losses related to the pandemic.
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center released a forecast of COVID-19 trends in North Texas. Based on data from January, the model predicts that Dallas County alone will see roughly 10 thousand new COVID cases by the end of the month. Hospitalization rates across North Texas have gone up 222 percent since last month. UT Southwestern researchers also conducted surveys asking people whether they have been or are willing to be vaccinated. About 90 percent of the population survey said they have received or would be willing to receive the COVID vaccine. UT Southwestern continues to recommend mask wearing, social distancing and getting vaccinated to slow the spread of the virus.