DALLAS - Dallas County reported 10 deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, tying a grisly statistic for its deadliest day during the pandemic.
Health officials said the youngest death was a teenager and eldest a man in his 90s. Dallas County also reported 135 new cases, the most in a single day so far.
“With the Governor’s decree yesterday opening up more businesses throughout Texas, both North Texas business owners & residents must be particularly careful in making their best personal responsibility choices,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Monday a stay-at-home order for the state will expire at the end of April and places like restaurants, stores and theaters will begin to reopen on May 1.
The 10 deaths are: a 17-year-old Lancaster girl, a Dallas man in his 30’s, a Garland man in his 30’s, a Carrollton man in his 40’s, a Lancaster man in his 40’s, a man in his 60’s who was an inmate, a Dallas man in his 70’s, a woman in her 70’s at a Dallas nursing home, a man in his 80’s at a Dallas nursing home and a man in his 90’s at a Dallas nursing home.
In Dallas County, the last two weeks saw the county's worst week in terms of cases followed by one week of better numbers. This week is starting off worse than last.
Dr. Philip Huang with Dallas County Health and Human Services says the county needs two weeks of consistent reduced numbers to show the spread is slowing.
“The numbers increasing are certainly worrisome,” he admitted.
County leaders are using Facebook location data to track people's movements. When the stay-at-home order went into effect in March, foot traffic dropped. It's since gone up.
“Some of these activity levels are starting to go back up,” Dr. Huang said. “How important it is to look at what practices, as things are opening up to understand the importance to practice the physical distancing, wearing masks.”
Judge Jenkins, who has had some tension with Gov. Abbott over recent weeks, called the governor's plans a "decree." He said he does not believe restaurants and retail should open to 25% capacity Friday, but he recognizes the governors order supersedes any local law.
“We have not seen two weeks of decline. That is number one that the Trump administration and the CDC says you need before you loosen restrictions,” Jenkins said. “I am not saying this to second guess the governor. I am telling you this because it is up to you to make good decisions. It’s up to you to do what you want to do.”
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson told FOX 4 only one percent of the county’s 2.5 million residents have been tested. He says more testing is needed to make sure health leaders have a clear picture of the coronavirus situation.
Dallas County now has a total of 94 deaths and 3,240 cases.
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Tarrant County on Tuesday also announced five additional COVID-19 deaths and Collin County added one.
Tarrant County health officials said the recent COVID-19 victims included two men from Fort Worth in their 60s, a woman in her 70s form Arlington, a woman in her 90s from Arlington and a man in his 80s from Grapevine. The county now has 58 deaths and 2,088 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.
“Every loss of life to this disease is difficult for us to report, and we are sad for the families and friends of those who are lost,” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.
During the Tarrant County Commissioner’s Court meeting, Taneja also said 80% of the men’s unit inmate population at the federal prison in Fort Worth is positive for COVID-19.
“Data shows we may not be ready to reopen but since it’s happening I strongly recommend people take personal precautions and practice social distancing,” he said.
Collin County’s death count climbed to 18 but there were no new cases of the virus reported on Tuesday. The total remains at 676.
Denton County on Monday added 12 new cases for a total of 725 with 20 deaths.