Texas ready to open large drive-in vaccine site

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations stayed on its downward trend Monday as health officials prepared the opening of a large drive-in vaccine center at Texas Motor Speedway racetrack.

State health officials reported 11,074 patients hospitalized as Texas continued its steady decline from a record high 14,218 on Jan. 11. That decline has also coincided with a rapid rise in deaths reported at the state has now surpassed 36,500 with 48 newly-reported deaths Monday.

The drive-through vaccine hub at Texas Motor Speedway opens Tuesday with a goal of distributing up to 10,000 shots per day. The site, which includes 131 acres of parking lot, is expected to have 16 lanes for cars and patients will stay in their vehicles. Patients must have appointments through Denton County and proper identification.

“The ability to vaccinate 10,000 individuals in one day is a monumental task,” stated Dr. Matt Richardson, Director of Denton County Public Health.

Texas officials report more than 475,000 people have been fully vaccinated and 1.9 million people with at least one dose.