DALLAS - Editor's note: The original version of this story reported the stay-at-home order was extended through May 20. Dallas County officials later said only the public health emergency was until May 20 and said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins determined the stay-at-home order would only be until April 30 to match Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide executive order.
Dallas County’s coronavirus stay-at-home order was extended until April 30 on Friday and the county's public health emergency declaration through May 20.
The stay-at-home order extension means all of the current rules put into place to slow the spread of COVID-19 will stay in place until the end of the month – like closure of restaurants/bars except for take out/delivery and the closure of all businesses unless they’ve been deemed essential.
County commissioners can rescind or extend the orders as needed. The original order was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. Friday night.
“We have to back our health care heroes,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins during Friday morning’s debate at commissioner’s court.
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The extension passed 4-1, with only John Wiley Price voting against. He argued that people in his southern Dallas County district were hurting due to the restrictions.
Commissioners made the decision based on projections and data from local public health officials with Dallas County Health and Human Services and the DFW Hospital Council.
Based on current available data from what has happened in Dallas County, local health officials say the number of patients testing positive for COVID-19 would be significantly higher without strong mitigation efforts.
Public health officials say without the orders the Dallas area could need up to 17,500 beds for COVID-19 patients.
“I think we need to be planning for the worst and hoping for the best. I think this is a model that shows that if we stay the course on this, it did indicate we could be ... there's so many variables. Seeing what's playing out in New York City and other communities, we do not want to be in that situation,” said Dr. Phillip Huang, DCHHS Director.
The vote came as Dallas County continues to be one of the biggest COVID-19 hot zones in the state. On Friday afternoon the county reported 90 new cases, bringing the total to 921 with 17 deaths.
The county released a graphic that shows the number of cases requiring hospitalization. Officials said of those cases, about 71% are people over the age of 60 or people who have at least one existing health condition such as diabetes.
Dallas County has registered either the most or second-most number of confirmed cases in the state for the past month.