Dallas County health officials say a 19th person has died after contracting COVID-19 and that 106 new cases of the virus have been confirmed in the county.
The latest victim of the virus was described only as a person in their 50s who lived in Garland and suffered from underlying health conditions.
Philip Huang, director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department, made the announcement Tuesday morning during the meeting of the Dallas County Commissioner's Court.
The county now has a total number of 1,261 confirmed COVID-19 patients. Since Saturday, the county has added 340 new cases including 200 in the city of Dallas, 37 in Garland, 25 in Irving, 10 in Grand Prairie and a smattering of others around the county.
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Of cases requiring hospitalization, the county health department said about 70% of patients have been either over 60 years of age or have had at least one known high‐risk chronic health condition. Diabetes has been an underlying high‐risk health condition reported in over a quarter (29%) of all hospitalized patients with COVID‐19. They added 81 COVID‐19 cases have been residents of long‐term care facilities, including three deaths reported through Tuesday.
On Monday the county confirmed only a few dozen new cases, but Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins warned against reading too much into the lower numbers saying several private labs doing COVID-19 testing were closed on Palm Sunday.
In a meeting with the Dallas County Commissioner's Court last week Jenkins showed a model projecting the COVID-19 curve to hit a peak in Dallas County on April 20. However, Jenkins added in his statement Monday that the county's Safer-at Home order, which he extended last Friday until April 30, appears to be working to flatten the curve.
“Please continue adherence to the Safer-at-Home order to help save lives. When you venture out, please consider wearing a cloth covering to protect your neighbors from your droplets and remember, cloth coverings are only 10-15% effective at protecting you. You must still maintain safe distancing of a minimum of six feet to stay safe," Jenkins said. "Your actions are critical for us to defeat COVID-19, save lives, and get back to normal life as soon as we can.”
Wearing a mask in public, health official caution, is only a prophylactic and is not a replacement for staying at home.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
NBC 5's Sophia Beausoleil contributed to this report.