DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Researchers with Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation have been studying the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, since its beginning.

But new trends in their COVID-19 Vulnerability Index are showing optimism in the months ahead.

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“We are seeing a decrease in cases across the county, so a lot of indications on the way,” said Thomas Roderick, Senior Director of Data and Applied Sciences for PCCI.

He says he believes January’s extreme spike in cases may have been our peak.

“There’s a lot of indications of hope, things are starting to come down,” Roderick said.

He says there’s many factors that contribute to recent optimism in the Vulnerability Index, which is essentially how and where the pandemic has impacted Dallas County most, over time.

They look at demographics, comorbidities and even mobility issues that cause some zip codes to be more at risk.

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But now they say the worst for the county as a whole, may be over.

“You know really what we’re seeing in the data is that relative to last month and the month before things are starting to come down and those in combination with the fact that we’re past the holiday season, that’s really what’s starting to drive that that growth in the right direction,” Roderick said.

They believe with no major travel holidays until spring break, it will give the county more time to focus on vaccination efforts and staying home.

New data from UT Southwestern shows a similar trend, with hospitalizations projected to continue declining sharply over the next two weeks.

But of course, experts say the only way cases will lower, is we stay diligent in our tactics to keep the virus at bay.

“If we’re not diligent, if we’re not being vigilant about our ourselves, then it’s going to impact the community,” Roderick said. “I just want to emphasize continue to follow the public health guidance and that’s really how we get there. When we get there, depends on us.”

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Nicole Nielsen