Dallas County

COVID-19 Cases: When is the Worst Behind Us?

Local experts weigh in on what recent numbers show

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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says recent new COVID-19 case numbers and fatality counts over the weekend offer reassuring news but cautions people should still take steps to guard against the virus.

“It’s really up to all of us to see how this goes. If we all make our best decisions, if we all follow those doctor recommendations to the extent that we can, I believe what we will see is a steady descent,” said Jenkins.

On Tuesday afternoon, Dallas County Health and Human Services reported an additional 190 cases of COVID-19. It's a slight increase over the daily numbers reported over the weekend that showed 178 new cases Saturday and 171 on Sunday, which were the lowest since April 29 when Dallas County reported 112 new daily cases.

Also on Tuesday, DCHHS confirmed two fatalities of people infected with COVID-19 in Dallas County.

Last week, Dallas County saw an uptick in the number of deaths, but COVID-19 hospitalizations, the number of ICU patients and emergency room visits were flat.

Dr. Philip Huang, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director, is looking for a steady decline over a two-week period.

“If all those indicators start going down consistently, not jumping around, but we see a steady decline in the hospitalizations, in the ICU’s, in the admissions, decrease in deaths, that will all be very encouraging showing everything is going in the right direction,” Huang told NBC 5.

“It’s going to be interesting to see as we go forward, especially after Memorial Day, what’s going to happen on hospitalizations,” said Stephen Love, president and CEO of the DFW Hospital Council.

He said health systems expect to know more in about two weeks – following a 14-day incubation period after the holiday weekend.

“If you’re looking at May the 25th and you go to around June 10, if we’re going to see a big spike, we’ll probably see it by then,” Love explained.

Former medical director for Dallas County Health and Human Services Dr. John Carlo is the CEO of Prism Health North Texas and a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force. He said it would be hard to predict when the worst would be behind us.

“We really just have to be honest that this is going to be a longer duration than any of us would have liked to have it be, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get over this, we can do this,” said Carlo.

He said handwashing and social distancing precautions would likely have to become regular habits. It would take a vaccine, effective treatment or herd immunity to be able to declare the worst is over.

“The data is showing us some promising results,” said Carlo. “We’re certainly happy about seeing the case rates down last week, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of this by any means. If anything, it tells us we’ve got to continue doing what we’re doing to keep these rates under control.”

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