Dallas County is reporting a record 496 new COVID-19 cases Friday along with the deaths of 10 more people, according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins
The number of new cases tops the county's previous high of 454 set on Monday; Tarrant County set a high mark for North Texas with 517 cases on Thursday.
"Today we've seen our highest number of COVID-19 cases thus far at 496 cases. We're also announcing 10 more deaths bringing the total up to 344 deaths," Jenkins said.
The additional 10 deaths reported Friday include:
- An Irving man in his 50s who had underlying health conditions and had been ill in an area hospital.
- A Garland woman in her 50s who had underlying health conditions and had been ill in an area hospital.
- An Irving man in his 60s who had underlying health conditions and had been ill in an area hospital.
- A Mesquite man in his 60s who was a resident of a long-term care facility and had been hospitalized.
- A Dallas man in his 60s who had underlying health conditions and was found deceased at home.
- A Garland man in his 70s who had underlying health conditions and had been ill in an area hospital.
- A Dallas man in his 80s who had underlying health conditions and had been ill in an area hospital.
- A Dallas man in his 80s who did not have underlying health conditions and had been ill in an area hospital.
- A Duncanville woman in her 80s who was a resident of a long-term care facility, had been hospitalized and had underlying health conditions.
- A Farmers Branch man in his 80s who did not have underlying health conditions and had been ill in an area hospital.
The increase in cases comes as the state's positivity rank, the percentage of people testing positive for the virus, reached 11.76% Thursday, a high not seen since mid-April. An increase in the positivity rank indicates an increase in the spread of the virus, not an increase in testing for the virus.
Jenkins added that since June 1, more than half of the new cases reported have been young adults between the ages of 18 and 39.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott backpedaled Friday, rolling back relaxed restrictions on bars and restaurants in the state a day after Tarrant County put in place an order for people to wear masks while inside businesses -- an order put in place in Dallas County the week before.
"I'm pleased that the governor agreed with local leader sand healthcare leaders to close bars and issue some common-sense requirements at the state level to curb crowd size and help slow the progression," Jenkins said. "In order to have our best chance to slow the second wave, much more is needed at the state level, including the restoration of the powers of local leaders that were taken on May 1."
Instead of focusing on the raw case numbers, however, Jenkins has suggested the focus should be on the increasing number of hospitalizations in North Texas and across the state. On Friday, the county reported a day-to-day drop in COVID-19 patients, down 22 individuals over a 24-hour period to 534 total cases in a hospital or acute care setting.
On Friday, the county reported the number of emergency room visits for COVID-19 like symptoms in Dallas County for a 24-hour period ending Thursday, June 25, was 627, representing 28% of all visits according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council. The total is a drop of 74 visits (2%) compared to the previous day.
The DFW Hospital Council said Thursday afternoon that area hospitals are running at about 70% capacity in medical/surgical and ICU patients. The number of COVID-19 patients in DFW-area ICUs is 1,069. They added they are using approximately 38% of their ventilators.
The 496 new cases reported Friday is the 17th straight day where cases have been above 300. The 7-day average for new cases is now 427 cases per day. On June 1, the seven day average for new cases was 209 new cases per day.
The county has now accumulated 19,034 cases of the virus since testing began in March. There have been 344 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 cancers.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, an estimated 11,825 people (through Friday) in the county have recovered from the virus leaving an estimated 6,865 known patients fighting the infection.
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.