On Friday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins sent a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, requesting changes to stop the increasing spread of COVID-19.
Dallas County added another 767 COVID-19 cases Friday along with another death as hospitalizations in North Texas climb back toward the peak numbers reached in July.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said DFW Hospital Council statistics show the area has reached 94% of the peak hospital census reached in July and that we’re “staring down the barrel of a medical model that indicates without drastic change we’ll be above 2,000 cases per day on average before Thanksgiving.”
In the letter to Gov. Abbott, Jenkins states “The rate of community spread has our local health authority and our regional hospital administrators concerned that we are quickly approaching caseloads that will be unbearable for our facilities and personally catastrophic for our families.”
Jenkins adds, “In the attached letter, you will find their immediate requests of me to attempt to blunt this very dangerous and serious curve. These requests, however, fall outside of my authority given the restrictions placed on counties in several of your executive orders, including GA-32. For the sake of our community and our collective shared constituents, please consider implementing the recommendations of our local health experts or confirming that local county judges have the legal authority to take such actions.”
In the letter Jenkins attached to Gov. Abbott, the Dallas County Public Health Committee outlined its immediate request from the governor.
Implementing a stronger and more expansive public mask order for Dallas County.Maintaining current bar closures and close any venues functionally serving as bars, and closing any loopholes permitting bar operations that may have been created by TABC.Closing all indoor dining at restaurants and similar facilities and permitting only take-out, drive through, curbside pick-up options, and only permit outside dining where 6 feet separation can be maintained between parties. Limiting ALL indoor gatherings –both public and private –to less than or equal to 10 people. Removing exemptions for sporting events, entertainment, and other similar large gatherings such as weddings and funerals, etc.Limiting ALL outdoor gatherings –both public and private to less than or equal to 10 people where masking and physical distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be enforced. Removing exemptions for sporting events, entertainment, and other similar large gatherings such as weddings and funerals, etc.Re-enforcing strict infection control practices and enhance visitation restrictions for long-term care and healthcare facilities.Restricting all gyms and fitness centers to virtual classes only.Restricting all retail businesses (grocery stores, hair salons, box stores, movie theaters, etc.) to 25 percent of customers capacity. Reducing capacity for non-essential businesses to 50 percent and encourage virtual work strategies/drive through and other modalities to limit people congregating together. Allowing public schools flexibility working with the TEA to utilize virtual learning following Thanksgiving if ongoing community SARS-CoV-2 prevalence persists in order to protect the health of children, teachers, staff and families of all these groups.
So far, there has been no response from Gov. Abbott.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.