By Erin Jones

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – New data from UT Southwestern shows local levels of COVID-19 transmission are the highest they’ve been since the beginning of the pandemic.

Roughly 25% of COVID-19 tests in the past six days have been positive in North Texas, the highest percentage recorded to date.

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Hospitalizations have dramatically increased.

In both Dallas and Tarrant counties there’s been a major spike in hospitalizations in the last six days.

These numbers are expected to continue to increase coming off of Christmas and New Year’s.

“You know in the last three weeks we’ve seen it continuously go up,” DFW Hospital Council President and CEO Stephen Love said. “From yesterday into today we jumped 230 COVID-19 patients and Trauma Service Area E.”

Love says 2,256 people are hospitalized for COVID-19; 90 of them are pediatric patients.

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“About four weeks ago we were at 20,” he said.

He said roughly one-third of the patients in the ICU have COVID-19, leaving just under 17% of available bed capacity.

“Most of the people in the hospital are those that have not been vaccinated,” he said.

In North Texas it’s estimated around 85% to 90% of those in the hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

Health officials are stressing the importance of vaccines and boosters if you qualify.

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They’re also encouraging mask-wearing.

Erin Jones