Dallas County is reporting a record high of 708 new COVID-19 cases Thursday along with seven new deaths, though county health officials warned a much higher number would come Friday.
Dallas County Health and Human Services said Thursday a total of 22,590 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the county since testing began in March. There have been a total of 387 COVID-19-related deaths since then, according to DCHHS.
In a news conference, DCHHS Director Dr. Philip Huang warned Thursday's case report would be eclipsed Friday as the county will report more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19.
"This is obviously not where we wanted to be in July," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. "It's beyond frustrating that we are where we are. The important thing for us to focus on now is, frankly, not how we got here, but how we're going to get out of this. We will get through this."
The county's case report came minutes before Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered that face coverings must be worn in public across most of the state. Face masks have been mandated in Dallas County businesses since June 19.
According to DHHS, the additional 7 deaths being reported Thursday include:
- A man in his 40s who was a resident of Irving. He had been critically ill in a local hospital and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
- A man in his 50s who was a resident of Dallas. He had been critically ill in a local hospital and did not have underlying high-risk health conditions.
- A man in his 50s who was a resident of Dallas. He had been critically ill in a local hospital and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
- A woman in her 60s who was a resident of Irving. She had been critically ill in a local hospital and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
- A woman in her 60s who was a resident of Dallas. She had been hospitalized.
- A woman in her 70s who was a resident of Dallas. She had been hospitalized and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
- A man in his 90s who was a resident of Dallas. He had been critically ill in a local hospital and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
"The situation we have right now is significant and accelerating community spread," Jenkins said. "We cannot afford another statewide letdown in our strong personal responsibility COVID-19 protection choices, so this 4th of July, celebrate with your nuclear family and avoid crowds and extended family gatherings. I realize this is disappointing for all of us but it’s up to all of us to #FlattenTheCurve and save lives, and the best way to do that is to avoid those crowds this holiday weekend and wear a mask if you are around anyone outside your family."
Huang added that if the 4th of July weekend results in the same surge in cases that Memorial Day did, that it could be "catastrophic" for local hospitals.
Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have about doubled in just the last month.
"This is scary, folks," Jenkins said, explaining that it took 92 days to reach 300 COVID-19 cases and it has taken 22 days since then to reach 700.
"Everyone should wear a mask 100% of the time when you’re around people outside your home. Avoid unnecessary trips. Ask yourself if the trip is a desire or a necessity. Make lists when going to the grocery store so that you go shopping as little as possible and avoid in-person activities such as dining and indoor exercise where you or others are not wearing a mask 100% of the time," Jenkins said Monday. "We’re seeing significant growth throughout Texas and here in North Texas in the number of COVID-19 cases and if this trend doesn’t reverse, it’ll have a very serious and negative impact on public health and our economy."
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.
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.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Tuesday said Texans must buckle down as Fourth of July weekend approaches. In an interview with NBC 5 on Tuesday afternoon, he urged North Texans to take precautions over the holiday weekend and know that, "anybody you come into contact with could have COVID-19."
The head of American Medical Association said she too is worried about the holiday weekend.
“My concern is that people will think that COVID-19 is taking a holiday too, but the fact of the matter is, that the disease is rampant in our community, and this is no time to let up your guard. People need to continue to wear a mask, keep your distance at wash your hands," said Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association.