Dallas County scale for COVID-19 risk level lowered for 1st time since May

The color-coded alert-style scale for measuring the spread of COVID-19 in Dallas County has been lowered for the first time since it was introduced back in May.

Dallas County Clay Jenkins announced Wednesday the risk level was lowered from the Red "Stay Home Stay Safe," to Orange "Extreme Caution."

The decision was made because the positivity rate continues to drop in Dallas County and across North Texas.

RELATED: Dallas County introduces alert-style scale for COVID-19 risk level

"New daily cases are down and so are hospitalizations. I am thrilled to see that Dallas County today lowered its threat level for the first time since May," said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.

At the previous Red level, it was recommended that Dallas County residents stay home unless they were performing essential activities, but the lower Orange level has more relaxed guidelines.

Health leaders are reminding North Texans that even though we are seeing lower numbers of new COVID-19 cases, people should still be careful.

MORE: Coronavirus coverage

The president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, Stephen Love, warned North Texans that people need to avoid large crowds over Labor Day so we don't see a repeat of the large number of new coronavirus cases that happened immediately after Memorial Day.

"We congratulate the people and businesses in North Texas for their dedication in following public health recommendations and reducing our COVID-19 caseload over the past four weeks.  However, remember what happened over Memorial Day and resulted in a large increase in COVID-19 community spread. Let’s not repeat that over Labor Day. Co-existing with COVID-19 is a marathon not a sprint so don’t let your guard down this holiday—wear that mask, physical distance and wash your hands," he said in a statement.

Mayor Johnson said he knows some people will be tempted to gather in groups over Labor Day simply because everyone is exhausted from the reality or because the risk seems to have decreased as cases have fallen.

"My message to the people of Dallas today is that we can't let up now. You are still at risk. We are still in a pandemic, one that has devastated lives and livelihoods. We must stay on guard and rid ourselves of this virus so that we can quickly get out of this state of limbo and return to some semblance of normal," he said.

RELATED: Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases