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Texas reported its highest daily increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases Saturday with 8,258, as hospitalizations continued to climb. For the third day in a row, and the sixth time in the past week, Dallas County also reported a single-day high of 1,103.
An executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott mandated face coverings statewide as Texans entered the Fourth of July weekend. The order is the most dramatic about-face the Republican governor has made as he retreats from what stood out as one of the swiftest reopenings in America.
State health officials also reported 33 additional deaths, for a total of 2,608.
For the second day in a row, Dallas County surpassed 1,000 cases of COVID-19.
“It took us 92 days to reach 300 cases, 22 days to reach the next 400 more cases at 700 cases and 2 days to reach another 400 cases at 1,100,” Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted.
County health officials also announced two new deaths. One of the victims was a man in his 70s who lived in Balch Springs; the other victim was a woman in her 80s who lived at a long-term care facility in Dallas.
Both of the victims had underlying health conditions.
Jenkins is urging residents to keep July Fourth celebrations to their household only.
“This is necessary because of the out-of-control spread that we are now experiencing with COVID-19,” Jenkins said.
Health officials say since 50% of the cases reported after June 1 have been young adults between 18 to 39 years old.
Officials say recreational and social gatherings such as house parties have been associated with the increase of cases.
Jenkins also reiterated his call for further action from state leaders, saying in a letter first release June 27 that the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order should be reinstituted for 30 days.
Jenkins also wrote that he believe restaurants should be closed except for takeout or socially-distanced outdoor dining, a number of recreational businesses should be closed, and youth sports, public pools and day camps should cease.
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'Stay at home if you can': Leaders ask of residents during holiday weekend
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and other local leaders are asking people to stay home this holiday weekend, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase.
On Friday, Dallas County reported a single-day record high of 1,085 cases and the state reported more than 7,500 new cases.
In a news release sent Saturday morning, Johnson said the situation is growing worse each day.
"This disease must be taken seriously or the people of Dallas will suffer immensely. Many lives and livelihoods will be lost if the current pace of the spread continues," he said.
Health experts and Gov. Greg Abbott say if people "let their guard down" this weekend, that pandemic could be exponentially worse than it is now.
"If July Fourth weekend is like Memorial Day weekend, it would be essentially catastrophic," said Dr. Philip Huang at Dallas County Health and Human Services.
A statewide face mask mandate is in effect until further notice, and several July 4 events have gone virtual this year or have been canceled.
In addition to local restrictions, a handful of states are requiring out-of-state travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival.
Denton County reports 95 new cases
Denton County health officials announced 95 new cases Saturday afternoon, 11 of which are inmates at the Denton County Jail.
This brings the countywide total to 3,279 cases since tracking began in March. Officials say they are working to minimize exposures within the correctional facility and have implemented isolation protocols for the individuals who tested positive for COVID-19.
One new case was also reported at a long-term care facility within the county.
At this time, 1,220 county residents have recovered from COVID-19 and 37 have died, according to officials.
Collin County reports 88 new cases
Collin County health officials reported 88 new cases Saturday afternoon, bringing the countywide total to 3,409 cases.
There have been 2,659 recoveries and 46 deaths since tracking began in March.
Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council says it's 'concerned' of future COVID-19 spike
The president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council released a statement Friday night regarding the increasing rate of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in North Texas.
In the statement, W. Stephen Love confirmed that currently there is adequate hospital capacity and ventilators but said health officials are concerned about a couple of weeks from now because of the holiday weekend.
"If the trend continues, we will have to implement surge plans here in North Texas hospitals within 2-3 weeks," he said in the statement.
Love also urged residents to continue taking precautions to slow the spread of the disease and thanked Gov. Abbott for his actions regarding the statewide face mask mandate.
Read the entire statement below:
“As I stated earlier this week, we have adequate hospital capacity currently and adequate ventilators for COVID-19 patient treatment. However, we are very concerned about 2-3 weeks from now, especially with activities around the holiday weekend.
Based on multiple predictive models, we are very worried about increased positivity testing, hospitalizations, and obvious spikes in the community spread of COVID-19. The doubling rate continues to decrease and is now approaching 16-17 days which indicates increased COVID-19 community spread. If the trend continues, we will have to implement surge plans here in North Texas hospitals within 2-3 weeks. We absolutely need to slow the COVID-19 spread now to keep adequate hospital capacity. Those surge plans would increase the capacity at our existing hospitals by utilizing surge strategies on our existing hospital campuses. Surge situations involve more than bed capacity because personal protective equipment ( PPE ) and workforce requirements factor into the surge equation for effective patient treatment. Everyone needs to do their part to slow the spread because we want to preserve our health care heroes workforce that have been treating COVID-19 patients with compassionate care for 3.5 months. Our hospital CEO’s are monitoring this serious situation hourly.
We commend and thank Governor Greg Abbott for his actions Friday, especially related to wearing masks. The erroneous belief that refusing to wear a mask makes you appear cavalier is both irresponsible and a denial of evidence-based medical science.
We are all in this together and we need to reflect unconditional respect for our fellow Texans by wearing masks in public, practice physical distancing, wash our hands frequently for 20 seconds and utilize good personal hygiene.
This situation is very serious and we need to help slow the spread of COVID-19 which will save lives. We can do this if we all participate in a very responsible way.”
Ellis Davis Field House testing site closed Saturday
The City of Dallas said the community-based testing site at the University of Dallas will be open Saturday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.
However, the drive-thru site at Ellis Davis Field House will be closed. Testing will resume at the drive-thru site Monday at 8 a.m.
President Trump signs extension of COVID-relief fund for businesses
The legislation extends the June 30 deadline for applying for the program to Aug. 8. About $130 billion of $660 billion approved for the Paycheck Protection Program remains, though demand has dried up in recent weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
More on WFAA:
- Medical experts, Gov. Abbott warn Texans not to make the same Memorial Day COVID mistakes this 4th of July
- 7 North Texas family members get COVID-19, including 88-year-old great-grandmother
- Why COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting D-FW's Hispanic community
- 'We can celebrate our freedoms': After governor's mandate, Cleburne mayor allows for outdoor groups up to 100