By Nicole Nielsen

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The COVID-19 omicron variant is spreading through Dallas like never before.

On Thursday, Dec. 30, new COVID-19 patient numbers at Parkland Memorial Hospital reflect a trend Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Chang describes as “scary.”

“The speed at which this is occurring, is really different and remarkable,” he said.

Less than a week ago, Parkland’s Emergency Room had about 35 COVID-19 patients.

Monday, that number was roughly 85, and on Thursday they were treating about 125.

In response, they’ve opened two new COVID-19 wards this week, for a total of three, and says a fourth isn’t out of the question for next week.

When you combine COVID-19 cases with other hospitalizations, Parkland says it’s seen a record numbers of patients: about 1,000 on Monday alone.

“That’s the highest on recorded history for Parkland Hospital,” Dr. Chang said.

It comes as earlier in the week, Dallas county updated its COVID-19 risk level to “red,” prompting the hospital to limit visiting hours to between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. starting Friday, Dec. 31.

As of now Dallas County is only reporting 62% of residents are fully vaccinated.

While Parkland reports it’s those who aren’t, inside their emergency rooms.

“We’re still seeing over 90% of the folks who are admitted are unvaccinated,” he said. “I ask, implore and beg everybody to get vaccinated. Get your shield put on. That’s the only way out of this.”

Nicole Nielsen