DALLAS - Dallas County reported just 43 new confirmed cases of COIVD-19 on Monday and no new deaths.
County health officials said on Monday that while there were some caveats to the low figure, there is hope that strict stay-at-home orders could be starting to pay off. The new case count comes just days after 100 new cases were reported on back-to-back days.
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“While today’s positive case count is encouraging, I caution about reading too much into this number as several private labs were closed on Sunday. Having said that, the hospital systems are seeing evidence that the Dallas County Safer at Home executive order enacted on March 22nd is working to #FlattenTheCurve,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “Please continue adherence to the Safer at Home order to help save lives.
Kenin Page and his wife, Missy, lived in India temporarily for work and recently moved back to Irving at the end of February. The two started feeling flu-like symptoms by mid-March. Missy then tested positive for the flu.
“As soon as he was negative for Influenza A, they said, ‘We are going to test you for COVID-19.’ And he ended up positive,” Missy said. “As soon as he tested positive, they said ‘We are not going to test you because it is so probable that you have it too.’”
Kenin says he tested positive for COVID-19 on March 25. They went home and self-isolated. It wasn’t until days later that his symptoms got worse.
“I had to go check myself into the hospital, which was pretty scary,” he said. “My wife was not about to go with me. She literally dropped me off at the emergency room and said good luck. It was a lot of tears and fear.”
The trip to UT Southwestern Medical Center's emergency room turned into a five0day stay. He was allowed to come home Monday.
Kenin says it only took him 24 hours to find out he was positive from his private doctor. That’s not the case for hundreds of others who were tested at the county drive-thru sites.
“It is obviously frustrating,” said Dallas County Human Health and Human Services Director Dr. Phil Huang. “We hope this backlog gets cleared up quick.”
Dr. Huang echoed Judge Jenkins, saying Monday’s numbers are not an indication that cases are in a decline.
“I would say take the numbers with a grain of salt,” Huang said. “But we are certainly glad that it does not show a huge increase or anything and we continue to monitor very closely.”
Quest Labs is a private company that is processing hundreds of tests in the county. A spokesperson said Monday that they have cut their backlog in half nationally.
Backlog or not, Dr. Huang says the coming days will be the most important during the upward curve.
“It all depends on everyone continuing to practice the physical distancing and staying home,” he said. “This is what is going to be key to preventing and slowing the transmission. “
Kenin is now home recovering. He had a message for all to continue to shelter at home.
“It’s tempting to be with friends, but now is not the time,” he said. “It’s been a very long painful couple of weeks. I’ve had a great result, and it could have been worse than what it was.”
Monday was the first time in two days where Dallas County did not have a COVID-19 related death. The latest was a man in his 30s who died Saturday.
Dallas County now has a total of 1,155 confirmed coronavirus cases, one of the highest numbers in the state.