This week, long lines continued to fill testing sites around DFW. More than one out of every three of those tests were positive for COVID-19, totaling a record of more than 20,100 new cases in Dallas County.
Judge Clay Jenkins said it's the highest positivity rate seen all pandemic long.
"When you see numbers this high, it tells you there's a whole lot of sickness out there and we've got to do all that we can to ramp up testing,” said Jenkins.
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This week, five more testing sites open in Dallas County including Fair Park, Dallas College's North Lake campus, the Thurgood Marshall recreation center, Trinity View and the Mesquite ISD stadium.
"We're not in the same place we were a year ago,” said Health Director Dr. Philp Huang.
Now, Huang said the availability of vaccines and boosters prevents serious illness.
Still, people are urged to wear KN95 or surgical masks and continue to distance to protect the healthcare system.
“What I'm trying to keep from happening is having our hospitals overrun with COVID and our healthcare heroes so sick that they can't care for patients with any disease whether it's a heart attack, broken leg, covid, cancer, whatever,” said Jenkins.
Already, the DFW Hospital Council reports that ERs are full of people waiting for beds as hospitals deal with staffing shortages due to sick calls.
Help is on the way from the state in the form of about 1,000 traveling nurses and clinicians, but health officials urge that alone won't be enough.
“It will get better by the end of February, but it's bad now. We need your help,” said Jenkins.