Questions on ‘Stay-in-Place' Effort Answered by Dallas County Judge

Clay Jenkins COVID-19 Declaration
NBC 5 News

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins gave an update on the county's latest effort to stall the spread of COVID-19, Monday evening.

Jenkins was joined by Dr. Philip Huang, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services and Dr. Mark Casanova, President, Dallas County Medical Society.

Jenkins answered frequently asked questions about the Dallas County “shelter in place” order.

On Sunday, Jenkins issued a shelter-in-place order for the county, a move that is expected to be carried out in several other North Texas cities on Tuesday.

Jenkins said he’s aware of criticism for recent decisions he's made. He answered the critics with data and science, inviting Casanova to address the community.

“We’ve had a lot of people say, ‘this is an overreaction, well these are state numbers, or you’re just reacting to what happened in another place,’” Jenkins said.

But he said the numbers don't lie. And Casanova agreed, saying the county made the right call.

Casanova said, for 15 years, his organization looked at various responses to a possible pandemic in North Texas, and always came back to the same conclusion.

“Every rabbit hole that we explored always brought us to a recommendation. That similar recommendation in various pathways was a stay-at-home order,” Casanova said.

Casanova said creating space most critical right now. He says staying home relieves resources. Jenkins and Casanova say medical facilities have space, but it will take the entire community to ensure it stays that way.

“Right now, we are waging battle with sticks at best, as we need swords,” he said. “And the analogy that I would use is dominoes are falling behind us and I’m hearing them over our left shoulder about two dominoes back. If we can stay at home and stay safe, we can remove one, God willing, two dominoes.

Casanova also said hospitals could run out of personal protective equipment by mid-April if we don’t follow the order and fail to flatten the curve.

Jenkins said people living in Dallas County should not expect to provide proof in order to be outside of their residence. He says the order presumes that people will follow the rules for the greater good of the community.

But fines and or jail time could be enforced if it is found that the order has been violated.

Jenkins also said they’ve been getting questions about the use of childcare. He said childcare is for parents who work for essential businesses, “Not for everyone."

Dallas County, on Monday, confirmed an additional 24 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths.

The Dallas Firefighters Association said Monday afternoon a firefighter is in isolation after testing positive for the virus, several others are symptomatic and awaiting test results while 27 other Dallas Fire-Rescue members are being quarantined.

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