DALLAS - Nearly 500 new people were reported positive for the coronavirus in Dallas County Friday and 10 additional people died.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced another record of at least 496 new COVID-19 cases while addressing the Texas Democrats on a Zoom conference call.
Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed the number, which brings the cumulative case count in Dallas County to 19,034 with 344 deaths.
The 10 most recent deaths include a man and a woman in their 50s, three people in their 60s, one person in his 70s and four people in their 80s. Most had underlying health conditions.
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“Today we’ve seen our highest number of COVID-19 cases thus far at 496 cases. We’re also announcing 10 more deaths bringing the total up to 344 deaths. I’m pleased the governor agreed with local leaders and healthcare leaders to close bars and issue some common-sense requirements at the state level to curb the crowd size and help slow the progression,” Jenkins said.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday announced the closure of bars, as well as rafting and tubing businesses. He also rolled back restaurant openings to 50% capacity and banned outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people without local government’s permission.
“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health,” Abbott said.
Jenkins wants stricter requirements for just about everywhere — restaurants, gyms and childcare, and is calling to for the closure of all businesses in which, at some point, you have to remove your mask.
“Limit crowd size to 10 people or less. pass a statewide masking requirement,” Jenkins said.
The judge no longer has the authority to act on that, only the governor does.
It was announced Friday that the federal government will extend its support for testing sites in Dallas two weeks past June 30.
As Jenkins expressed that as good news, another issue arose.
He said it’s taking as many as 10 days to get test results back from federal testing sites, which makes contact tracing nearly impossible.
“It’s the kind of thing where Allison takes a test on Monday and she finds out 10 days later or eight days later that she’s sick. We need that sped up,” Jenkins said.
Dallas County health officials said more than half of the new cases are among young adults between the ages of 18 and 39.
Jenkins said that’s because they’re the largest part of the workforce, and they’re going to work and socializing, at bars and with friends and family.
About two-thirds of the people currently hospitalized because of COVID-19 are under the age of 65 and half of those people have no underlying health conditions.
The judge is also concerned that childcare centers could be the new nursing homes, in terms of explosive outbreaks.
Friday, 31 of the nearly 500 cases reported in Dallas County were from childcare facilities.
Health officials have identified 18 separate child care facilities in the county that have had outbreaks since June 1.
“Childcare is beginning to be a problem, but it is growing,” he explained.
The judge would like the governor to require masks for children under age two and keep children with their class only.
“It has the opportunity for explosive growth,” he added.
More than 60% of the people infected have been Hispanic and 80% report having an essential worker job, health officials said.
On Thursday, the four major counties in North Texas reported a combined total of 1,034 new cases along with 10 deaths. That included a new record of 517 cases in Tarrant County.
Statewide, there were almost 6,000 new cases reported Thursday and 47 more deaths. That’s the highest total of deaths in a week.
That state has seen more than 5,000 cases for the past three days.
Many have asked if these new case numbers reflect the protests.
Judge Jenkins said no, not yet.
He said if we see people getting sick from the protests, that probably would not be reflected in case numbers until late July.