Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 hit a record high in Dallas County Saturday, as two Dallas men in their 60s became the 312th and 313th people in the county to die after contracting COVID-19, health officials say.
One of the men was a resident of a long-term care facility, while the other had been critically ill at an area hospital and did not have any underlying health conditions, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.
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The county added 395 positive cases of the novel coronavirus Saturday, bringing the countywide total to 16,437, officials said.
Dallas County does not report recoveries from COVID-19 because it lacks the manpower to follow up with thousands of patients, however, the Texas Department of State Health Services posts an estimated number of recoveries on its site and lists 39,895 for Dallas County as of Saturday, August 8. Using data supplied by the state, there are an estimated 12,258 active COVID-19 cases in the county.
There are 454 people in Dallas County either hospitalized or in an acute care setting with COVID-19, an increase of 30 from Friday, and a new record high, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.
Emergency room visits Friday due to the new coronavirus represented 27% of all ER visits, according to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
County health officials said almost half of all COVID-19 cases reported since June 1 are in people between 18 and 39 years old.
Of cases requiring hospitalization in people who reported employment, more than 80% have been in critical infrastructure workers.
"According to new studies that have come out and peer-reviewed journals on those studies, the most important thing that we can do to arrest the surge we are now seeing in Texas in coronavirus cases, save lives and keep our economy moving again, is to wear a face covering when around people outside our home," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a written statement. "You don't need to wait five days for the order to go fully into effect before wearing your mask when around others."
Dallas County commissioners voted Friday to require businesses to ensure customers wear a face covering while inside or face a fine of up to $500.
Saturday, Jenkins praised county commissioners Elba Garcia and Theresa Daniel "for their leadership" on the policy.