DALLAS - Tuesday was the deadliest day to date in the COVID-19 pandemic in Dallas County, with officials reporting 10 deaths for the first time.
"Today, we mourn the passing of more of our residents. My heart goes out to their families & all who are suffering during this pandemic," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
The deaths were people in the age range of their 30s-90s. Half of the deaths announced Tuesday were people who lived in nursing homes in Dallas (woman in her 50s, man in his 60s, man in his 70s, man in his 80s, woman in her 90s).
The other five deaths were a Garland man in his 30s, two Dallas men in their 50s, a Mesquite woman in her 80s and a DeSoto man in his 80s. The first four died at the hospital. The DeSoto man was found dead at his home.
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Then 10 deaths were more than twice the number reported in Dallas County on any single day since the start of the pandemic. It brings the total number of deaths in Dallas County to 42.
Dallas County reported 89 new cases on Tuesday, for a total of 1,877.
County leadership released a map by zip code of cases, with officials keeping a close eye on an area in southern Dallas County.
"We're still looking at the 75115 area, seems to be a little more dispersed and not clustered in one place," said Dr. Philip Huang, Dallas County Health Director. "So we're trying to look at that again. We have people that are trying to go out there do education and work with stores and others to make sure that they're supporting and promoting physical distancing and those sorts of things."
Jenkins said the county is still weeks away from the peak of the virus.
“These deaths represent cases that occurred weeks ago,” Huang said. “That is why we can expect these to increase for a while. “
Huang says the peak is still predicted to happen in the coming weeks in late April early May.
Dallas County commissioners delayed a vote on Monday to approve $2 million to fund the temporary, overflow hospital at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center that was set up by the National Guard.
Jenkins got an update Tuesday from hospitals saying the overflow will not be needed.
“We did receive word from the hospitals based on their models, and the great work you are doing,” he said. “They believe they will have a sufficient bed capacity to handle the surge within their facility.”
A vote by county leaders won’t happen until Wednesday.
Jenkins says right now the military doctors are working in local hospitals. He says he will work with the governor to try and keep federal resources in Dallas but acknowledges other cities and states may need the help more now.
Jenkins and Dr. Huang say there still needs to be more widespread testing available. Jenkins added that they're working on a plan to expand testing at Parkland Hospital and UT Southwestern Medical Center, saying more testing will give a clearer picture of when things can start to get back to normal.
“It is noted that we were slated to be one of the next hotspots. We moved aggressively,” Jenkins said. “Now they put out fires around the US are bigger than ours. That blessing may put someone ahead of us for those reagents. But we do still need them.”
Dr. Huang says they are continuing to track those who have come in contact with positive COVID-19 cases. He said his staff and even volunteer medical school students are working seven days a week to do contact tracing.
Tarrant County reported four new deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total to 29 with 929 cases. The county's health director doesn't expect to see a peak for another four to six weeks.
"All of the data sets whether it's us or non-profit organizations or others who are looking at it, they're all projecting the same thing that the social distancing measures are working and we need to stay the course," said Tarrant County Health Director Dr. Vinny Taneja.
Denton County reported 14 new cases and one new death on Tuesday for a total of 521 cases and 14 deaths.
Collin County reported 10 new cases for a total of 477 cases. It has 10 deaths.
The number of cases worldwide is nearing 2 million. More than 400,000 have recovered but 119,000 are dead.