Dallas County is reporting a record 572 new COVID-19 cases Monday along with more hospitalizations and another death, according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
The death reported Monday was an Irving man in his 40s who did have underlying health conditions but had not been critically ill and was not hospitalized.
The number of new cases marks the fourth straight day the county has set a new record for new cases, topping the previous high of 570 cases set on Sunday.
"Today we have our highest number of reported cases of COVID-19 in Dallas County, and this weekend for the first time, our weekend reporting numbers went up. Normally our weekend reporting numbers go way down as some hospitals don’t report," Jenkins said.
The increase in cases comes as the state's positivity rank, the percentage of people testing positive for the virus, reached nearly 15% Sunday, 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.
The 572 new cases reported Monday is the third straight day with more than 500 new cases reported and the 20th straight day where cases have been above 300. The 7-day average for new cases is now 491 cases per day. On June 1, the seven day average for new cases was 209 new cases per day.
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 Monday, the county reported an increase in hospitalizations.
"Our numbers went from 571 to 611 COVID-19 cases in the hospital for Dallas County. Hopefully, this is because the hospitals have made it a point to increase the accuracy of weekend reporting, but either way, the numbers are of great concern," Jenkins said.
Jenkins said last week, and again Monday, 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.
The county has now accumulated 20,737 cases of the virus since testing began in March. There have been 353 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 12,713 people (through Monday) in the county have recovered from the virus leaving an estimated 7,671 known patients fighting the infection.
Effective June 19, 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.
"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."
On Sunday, Jenkins sent a letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) asking him to allow local leaders to implement more stringent measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
"We are at that place now where we are losing the battle," Jenkins said Sunday. "We’ve gone, since May 1, from being the state in the best position because the early actions of local leaders to being the state in the most likely position to have the worst outcome for the future with COVID-19."
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.