Dallas County

Dallas County Increases COVID-19 Threat Level to Red

Doctor with blood sample of Covid-19 Omicron B.1.1.529 Variant and general data of covid-19 Coronavirus Mutations.

Dallas County health officials have raised the COVID-19 threat level to red -- the highest on the county's scale -- due to a sharp increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the county, Judge Clay Jenkins says.

Jenkins said the county's public health committee made the recommendation Tuesday night.

A letter sent from the Public Health Committee to Judge Jenkins stated that "a dramatic increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and the hospital census in Dallas in the past week. We do also know that we have clusters of COVID-19 associated with social events, increased outbreaks in congregate settings and Dallas County is seeing a significant impact on the health care staffing and with pressure on emergency departments."

The letter continued, "At this point data from Dallas County demonstrate 1. A sustained increase in the % positivity among symptomatic and asymptomatic tested individuals (up to 40% in some healthcare settings); 2. An increase in emergency room visits for COVID-19 like illness, with over 25% of ED visits the last few days being for suspected COVID; 3. Increasing reports of inadequate testing facilities and access to testing (and testing kits) throughout the community (it appears that the healthcare facilities do have adequate supplies); 4. Increased reports of workforce and staffing challenges in acute care and long-term care facilities; 5. An increase in the hospital census, up to 333 as of 12/27, a 50% increase in the last week. 6. Rapidly rising COVID cases, with PCCI reporting a 76.3% week over week increase to 5541 through 12/23. 7. Elevated pediatric hospitalizations for COVID."

The recommendations suggested by the health committee include:
1. Increasing the vaccination rates in Dallas County residents. We must get our population vaccinated and boosted to provide stronger protections against severe illness and hospitalization.
2. Enhancing testing capacity and access to testing to help our residents identify cases so that the affected can isolate and prevent further transmission.
3. Reinforcing and using tools available to them to implement universal masking and physical distancing in public areas.
4. Limiting the size of public gatherings to allow for physical distancing.
5. Encouraging the use of masking, physical distancing and vaccination together to combat this current variant.

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