Dallas County health officials say the number of new COVID-19 cases appear to be leveling off

For the 16th day in a row, Dallas County has reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases, but health officials said those case numbers appear to be leveling off, while hospitalizations continue to be high.

There’s some encouraging news when it comes to the rate of increase for the coronavirus in Dallas County.

Dr. Philip Huang, director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services, said now is not the time to relax precautions.

The month of July has been filled with a record number of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Dallas County.

On Sunday, there 1,044 new cases reported, along with two new deaths.

MORE: Coronavirus coverage

“We are hoping these are some indicators that we are plateauing,” Dr. Huang said.

He added that while case numbers are high, the rate of increase is declining slightly.

Dr. Huang credits this to the mandatory mask mandate put in place before the Fourth of July.

“We are encouraged that our Fourth of July was not as bad as it might have been, and now with more people masking, we are seeing more indications, the rate of increase is slowing down,” he explained.

Hospitalizations remain a key focus for health officials.

Beds in use for COVID-19 patients in Dallas County remain high.

This as parents and teachers worry about the upcoming school year.

Dr. Huang ordered schools, both public and private, could not start in-person learning until at least September 8.

Dallas ISD’s scheduled start date is August 17, but the district has not finalized its plan.

RELATED: Dallas ISD seeking input from parents about potentially allowing in-person classes in the fall

This week, Dallas ISD Trustees will host virtual town halls Monday and Tuesday to get input from parents.

Huang believes it’s just not safe to have in-person learning in August.

“Right now, given the record numbers we have been seeing, I do not feel certainly, before September 8, it would be wise to do in-person classes,” he said.

RELATED: Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases