Dallas County is reporting another 391 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday along with four more deaths and another 72 hospitalizations overnight.
The hospitalizations add to the record high set Tuesday for the North Texas region, putting the number well over 1,000 people.
“Today’s number of hospitalizations and new COVID-19 cases continues a disturbing trend of a surge of a second wave increase of COVID-19," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Jenkins said Gov. Greg Abbott should either let the counties set rules to help curb the spread of the virus or institute statewide orders that do the same.
"We need the governor to either implement statewide the rules that we, along with business and health, came up with early on when urban counties were in charge of the state’s response that did a good job of curbing the spread, or go back to allowing the flexibility to counties to do that," Jenkins said. "Because of all of the mixed messaging and confusion over the last six weeks, it would be best if there was a statewide plan on issues such as masking, workplace separation, workplace safety and limiting the number of people in facilities and at gatherings."
On Tuesday, Jenkins advised people to follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments as if they were state requirements saying, "This is the best way to protect yourself and others from this wave of COVID-19 that we are seeing."
The four latest victims to die after contracting the virus were from Dallas, Cedar Hill and Grand Prairie and included patients ranging in age from their 60s to 80s.
- A Grand Prairie man in his 60s who had been critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
- A Cedar Hill man in his 80s who had been hospitalized and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
- A Grand Prairie woman in her 80s who had been critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
- A woman in her 80s who had underlying high-risk health conditions and was also a resident of a long-term care facility in Dallas; she died in a hospital emergency room.
The county has now accumulated 18,135 cases of the virus since testing began in March. There have been 328 deaths attributed in the county to the virus, which, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang, is now the third leading cause of death in the county behind diseases of the heart and malignant neoplasm (cancer).
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The 391 new cases reported Wednesday is the 15th straight day where cases have been above 300. The 7-day average for new cases is now 411 cases per day.
On June 1, the seven day average for new cases was 209 new cases per day.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, an estimated 11,006 people (through Tuesday) in the county have recovered from the virus leaving an estimated 6,801 known patients fighting the infection.
Instead of focusing on cases, however, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said that the real focus should be hospitalizations. Jenkins said last week the hospitals had well over 400 COVID-19 patients, up from the 250-300 COVID-19 patients seen in weeks prior. On Wednesday, the county reported a "significant increase of patients, up 72 individuals over a 24-hour period, to 542 total cases in a hospital or acute care setting."
Additionally, the county reported the number of emergency room visits for COVID-19 like symptoms in Dallas County for a 24-hour period ending Tuesday, June 23, was 685, representing over 28% of all visits according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
Last week the Dallas County Commissioners Court mandated that all customers and employees wear face coverings while inside businesses inside Dallas County. If people refuse, the business could face a fine.
Jenkins is hopeful the mask policy will help curb the spread of the virus saying Friday that in the 15 states where they were mandated there were declines in infections. Jenkins added that in 31 other states where they were required in businesses only, like in Dallas County, there was also evidence it helped curb the spread of the virus.
To date, of cases requiring hospitalization who reported employment, over 80% have been critical infrastructure workers, with a broad range of affected occupational sectors, 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 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.
The county has been reporting for several weeks now that more than a third of the deaths related to COVID-19 have been among residents of long-term care facilities.