The CEO of the Texas Nurses Association, Cindy Zolnierek, is concerned. Dallas County reported 328 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, breaking another record.
“Well it’s scary because we are seeing the numbers escalate,” said Zolnierek.
She said an increase in new cases was to be expected with increased testing. But she also said consistent high numbers could indicate something else.
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“Most likely it’s the result of ignoring the social distancing recommendations over Memorial Day weekend and that’s what we’re seeing,” said Zolnierek.
She said hospital capacity is what we should really keep our eyes on. Mayor Eric Johnson reported Friday that Dallas hospital ICU beds are at 70% capacity. On Thursday, ICU beds were at 68%.
“We really want to be looking at what is actually happening in the hospitals,” said Zolnierek. “An ICU nurse was saying she’s seeing mostly 30 and 40 year-olds that are very sick.”
In Tarrant County, the community spread level is listed as “substantial,” with 197 of the 425 ventilators occupied.
“So we don’t know what this pattern means. Is going to be the peak that we see or is it going to escalate?” she said. “I think what concerns me the most is that there’s such a delay in when someone might actually be exposed and when they show symptoms.”
As the economy ‘reopens’ healthcare professionals say the bottom line is the public cannot abandon practices proven to reduce the spread of the virus – handwashing, wearing masks, and social distancing.
“The loosening of restrictions and allowing business to open, I think that’s being misinterpreted as oh it’s safe now,” Zolnierek said. “I think we all have a civic duty. This is a long haul. This isn’t going to be over anytime soon.”
Dallas County says one way to protect yourself and your family is to refer to its health guide to determine which activities are high, moderate and low risk.
Fore more on Dallas County's COVID-19 Health Guidance, click here.