Debate Over COVID-19 Measures During One of the Deadliest Weeks

In-class school instruction delayed until after Labor Day

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The 14th day in a row of more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in Dallas County with 16 new deaths supported debate on whether current disease prevention measures are sufficient to control the local outbreak.

Dr. Philip Huang, the Dallas County Health Director, said it is one of the deadliest weeks in the pandemic.

“These numbers and this latest week’s numbers related to deaths are concerning,” Huang said.

Thursday Huang issued an order delaying in classroom instruction for public and private schools in Dallas County until after Labor Day.  Virtual learning will still be allowed when schools were to resume instruction in August.

Officials said an increasing portion of positive cases in Dallas County are younger people between 18 and 39 years old.

A graphic depiction of the positive cases that appears on the City of Dallas website shows what appears to be a high plateau.

Dr. Huang said it suggests a peak has finally been reached in the daily number of new cases.

“We're watching that. We're hoping so,” Huang said.

He supports Governor Greg Abbott’s order for universal wearing of masks in confined public places.

The Governor restated his positions in interviews Wednesday.

“I said that what I want to do is make sure that everyone begins to wear a mask so we will be able to get COVID-19 under control and that we will not have to shut Texas back down,” Abbott said.

Huang said a panel of Dallas County experts have said a return to tougher restrictions is justified.

“We've made some recommendations that there did need to be more restriction,” Huang said.

The panel suggested closing indoor restaurant dining and limiting groups to no more than 10 people, among other things.

The Governor said he is confident masks are sufficient and that the end of the pandemic is near.

“We're only a few months away from getting medical treatments that will be able to treat COVID-19 and then a few months after that that we have vaccines. This is a very short period of time. All we need is for everyone to wear a mask. If everyone wears a mask, nothing will be locked down,” Abbott said.

The Dallas County Health Director disagreed with that timing prediction.

“I think that's pretty optimistic. We would all love for that to happen. I'm not sure how real that will be,” Huang said.

Dallas County took over test processing from the Federal Government at the Ellis-Davis Field House testing site location on Polk Street south of I-20 Wednesday.

Thursday the Health Director said the site is still capped at 500 tests a day but should double back to 1,000 a day soon.

The site is now limited to Dallas County residents only since the take over from Federal Government processing.

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