Why So Many COVID-19 Cases in DeSoto?

Dallas County Health Department is investigating DeSoto cases

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The Dallas County Health Department is investigating the very high number of coronavirus cases in the 75115 zip code that is the city of DeSoto.

DeSoto is a growing city with new construction and older established neighborhoods.

It has the same coronavirus stay-at-home restrictions as the rest of Dallas County.  Playgrounds are closed. City Hall is closed.  DeSoto Mayor Curtistine McCowan works from home.

“I'm very concerned when I see our numbers continuing to rise,” she said Wednesday.

Her city’s 75115 zip code had 69 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3 deaths as of Tuesday.

The other high zip code in Dallas County is 75227, which is also the location of Brentwood Place Nursing Center. It has more than 30 cases in that one location.

Dr. Philip Huang, the Dallas County Health Director, said the DeSoto cases are scattered.

“The 75115 area seems to be a little more dispersed and not clustered in one area. So, we’re trying to look at that again. We have people that are trying to go out there, do more education, work with stores and others, make sure that they’re promoting the physical distancing and those sorts of things,” Huang said.

DeSoto has posted all the rules online and McCowan said she has personally gone out riding with her husband, looking for violations herself as she searches for answers about the high rate of infection.

“DeSoto is a community with a high population of African Americans, and many of whom have pre-existing conditions. That concerns me,” she said.

There has been pushback in southern Dallas County about the damage to small businesses, which have been forced to close by the social distancing requirements.

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who represents DeSoto, spoke strongly against a plan to extend the restrictions though May at an April 3 meeting of county commissioners.

"Pick our poison. We either go with COVID-19 and die or we just economically die,” Price said that day.

County Judge Clay Jenkins agreed to extend the restrictions through April 30 when commissioners get another vote on whether to extend them.

The mayor supports the rules.

“The restrictions are there for a reason. I think we have to look at the science,” she said.

DeSoto is supplying police and firefighter support for the southern Dallas County coronavirus testing site at the Ellis Field House in Dallas, just outside DeSoto city limits.

The availability of testing may be another reason for a higher number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in DeSoto.

Until more testing is available, experts caution that it is difficult to be certain which areas actually have the highest number of coronavirus cases.

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