Tarrant County officials urge citizens to continue social distancing

Tarrant County leaders say cases have not started to trend downward in a way to make them feel social distancing isn't needed.

Commissioners and health officials said Tuesday they want people to remember it's not yet safe to go back to "normal life” like it was before the pandemic.

Five days after Texas entered phase one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s reopening plan, the COVID-19 positive case numbers in Tarrant County are trending upward.

“It’s a little bit worrisome that we’ve seen an uptick instead of numbers staying flat,” said Dr. Vinny Taneja, Tarrant County Health Director.

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Another key measurement - occupied hospital bed space - has hovered between 54 and 58 percent, with an increasing number of available beds used by covid patients.

“Just because I’m allowed to do something, is it really appropriate for me and my family to go out and do that?” Taneja asked rhetorically.

Taneja reiterated that people need to continue with personal precautions with more opportunities to be out and about. Non-essential retail stores reopened to a limited number of shoppers last Friday and restaurants welcomed a phased approach to people dining out once again.

Judge Glen Whitley acknowledged on a recent trip to Walmart he noticed, what he considers, people with their guards down.

“Surprised to see the vast majority of customers in there did not have masks on and we still need to take this very seriously,” Whitley said.

A new COVID-19 testing site opened Tuesday afternoon in southeast Tarrant County. Officials are strongly encouraging people to make use of the available sites if there is any chance they could’ve been exposed to the virus.

RELATED: Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases