Hospital admissions and emergency room visits edged slightly up after weeks of encouraging decline in the latest COVID-19 report to Dallas County Commissioners from the county health director Tuesday.
Dr. Philip Huang said the orange threat level that was recently reduced from the most serious red is fragile.
Thanksgiving holiday gatherings are around the corner that could spread illness and nearly 40% of the Dallas County population remains unvaccinated.
“We've had Halloween, now going into Thanksgiving and Christmas, very concerned that going to orange doesn't mean we go back to normal,” Dr. Huang said.
Get DFW local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC DFW newsletters.
Indoor masks and social distancing practiced at the Commissioners Court meeting are still among the precautions recommended by the health director.
The slight Dallas county increase comes as neighboring New Mexico and other US locations report much larger increases in COVID-19 cases.
“This latest leveling off and even increases are certainly worrisome given that we’re going into Thanksgiving, Christmas and what’s being seen in other parts of the country and, also Europe and other areas. So, the message really is we just cannot let our guard down,” Dr. Huang said.
The latest news from around North Texas.
To increase the opportunity for vaccination, this Sunday and for the next few Sundays Dallas County will reopen the Fair Park vaccination site for booster shots and first shots with all three shot options for adults and Pfizer vaccines for kids 5 and up.
The Ellis Davis Field House vaccination site that has been run by Parkland Hospital since the start of the pandemic will close next week as demand for shots there has decreased.
Dallas County also operates a large vaccination site at Eastfield College and shots are widely available now at pharmacies and drug stores.
“What we need the public to understand is, just come get the vaccine,” Commissioner John Wiley Price said.
Dr. Huang encouraged families to consider the vaccination status of members as they decide who sits at the Thanksgiving table.
“I think everyone needs to assess their own risk and their situation. Certainly, if people are fully vaccinated in your family group, there are people that are not at high risk. But if you have family members that are at high risk, then that’s something that you need to consider and look at the vaccination status of your family members,” Dr. Huang said.
Dallas County Commissioners Tuesday approved around $20 million for programs to combat problems associated with the COVID-19 pandemic including mental health, substance abuse, housing and court case backlogs.