Dallas County on Tuesday reported the largest number of positive COVID-19 cases and deaths counted on a single day, health officials say.
The Tuesday report included 257 positive cases, bringing the total to 10,719 in the county so far, commissioners learned in their Tuesday morning meeting. Health officials also reported 16 deaths, pushing the new total coronavirus-related fatalities to 245.
It is the sixth-straight day the county has reported more than 200 positive cases of COVID-19.
Public Health Director Phillip Huang also told Dallas County Commissioners Tuesday morning that the ICU bed occupancy rate is 71.9%.
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"At the end of the day, what we as a region and as individuals are most concerned about is the COVID infections landing our loved ones in the hospital or with severe illness," said Huang.
"Unfortunately, we have not seen any decline in the metrics of ICU admissions, hospitalizations for COVID-19, ER visits for COVID-19 symptoms, and deaths that the CDC and the local health experts are tracking to determine when it’s safe to loosen restrictions on activities. It is wise for everyone to focus not on what is legal, but rather on what is safe. Avoid large crowds, maintain 6 foot distancing when outside the home and wear a cloth face covering to protect yourself and as a sign of respect and protection for your fellow person when on public transportation or in businesses, plus use good and frequent hygiene," County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a press release.
Dr. Robert Haley, epidemiologist and professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center, told commissioners that the numbers aren't declining because people aren't taking the proper precautions, like wearing face masks, when out in public.
"I think the reason we are not seeing a decline is because, although most people are being careful, there's an increasing number of people who are not being careful, who are not wearing masks and so forth, and that's probably why it's keeping us steady," said Haley.
Dallas County does not report recoveries from COVID-19 because they lack the manpower to follow-up with thousands of patients.
According to the county, 80% of hospitalized patients who reported employment have been critical infrastructure workers from industries including healthcare, transportation, food and agriculture, public works, finance, communications, clergy, first responders and other essential functions.
Of cases requiring hospitalization, two-thirds have been under 65 years of age, and about half do not have any high-risk chronic health conditions.
Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
Of the 245 total deaths reported to date, over a third have been associated with long-term care facilities