As Dallas County expands its testing capacity for residents, the number of positive cases continues to increase.
On Wednesday afternoon, health officials announced that 300 residents tested positive and three more people died. This marks a record-high for single-day cases reported since testing began in March.
"Today we saw our highest case count thus far, reaching 300 for the first time with new cases. Remember, however, that we have more testing capacity," Judge Clay Jenkins said.
The victims who died include a woman in her 40s, a man in his 70s, and a woman in her 80s who lived at a long-term care facility.
Jenkins expressed concerns regarding the increase of hospitalized COVID-19 patients throughout the Dallas Fort-Worth area.
"In Dallas County, we’ve gone from 321 hospitalizations for #COVID19 two days ago to 372 hospitalizations today," he said.
Jenkins and local leaders urge residents to continue taking precautions and said additional testing for recent protest participants will be extended to Thursday.
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Texas sets new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations
For the third day in a row, Texas has set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations with 2,153 patients, according to data released Wednesday.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reports the North Texas region has surpassed its previous record set on May 16.
Data shows the Dallas-Fort Worth area currently has 687 patients hospitalized due to the novel coronavirus.
During the past three days, the number of patients in hospitals has continued to increase. Below is a breakdown of those numbers:
- Monday: 1,935
- Tuesday: 2,056
- Wednesday: 2,153
Dr. Philip Huang with the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department said he has concerns about the increase.
“We’re sometimes the victim of our own success, and when we don’t see all the bad stuff happening then we think, ‘Oh, it’s fine to just relax on this,’” Huang said.
Huang said people need to remain vigilant and continue to follow precautions such as wearing cloth masks and social distancing.
“People do need to be vigilant and it’s going to determine what happens over the next several weeks," he said.
Huang said local experts believe the Dallas-Fort Worth area is still in the “red zone” because there has not been a steady significant decline in numbers for 14 days.
According to a chart released Tuesday by Dallas officials, the number of hospital beds, including the ICU unit occupied has continued to increase since the end of March.
The increase of hospitalizations comes the same week that Texas will launch another phase reopening. On Friday, restaurants will be allowed to resume service at near capacity.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice reports 4 inmate deaths
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced Wednesday, four offenders likely died from complications of COVID-19, including an inmate in Dallas.
The department says 65-year-old Cedric Dewayne Lacy, who had served nearly 30 years of a 45-year sentence out of Dallas County, died on May 28. Lacy tested positive for COVID-19 after he was transported from the Pack Unit to a hospital on May 12. Officials say he had a number of pre-existing health conditions.
The second man who died was 65-year-old David Brooks, who had served 45 years of a life sentence out of Harris County. He started suffering from COVID-19 symptoms on May 12 and was transported to a hospital. He died on May 28.
The third man who died was 70-year-old Jose Perez, who had served 11 years of a 90-year sentence from El Paso County. Perez died on May 30, three days after being transferred to a Galveston hospital from Wynne Unit in Huntsville. Officials say he tested positive for COVID-19 and had pre-existing health conditions.
The fourth man who died was 62-year-old Joe Channel. He died on June 2, after being transported to a Galveston hospital from the Gist Unit on May 24. Officials said Channel had a number of pre-existing health conditions. He had served 10 months of a 3-year sentence from Nacogdoches County.
Tarrant County reports 5 deaths
Tarrant County health officials reported five new deaths related to COVID-19 Wednesday afternoon.
The victims include a man in his 80s from Arlington, a man in his 80s from Benbrook, and two men in their 60s, and a man in his 50s, all from Fort Worth.
Officials say all of the victims had underlying health conditions.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 216 patients hospitalized, which is the highest number of hospitalizations since May 20 when there were 217.
According to county officials, there have been 189 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 since testing began in March and 2,897 people have recovered.
Denton County reports 36th death
Denton County Public Health officials announced another resident has died as a result of COVID-19, bringing the countywide total to 36 deaths.
According to officials, the death confirmed Wednesday was a man in his 60s who was a resident of Dallas.
"As we announce the third COVID-19 death in three days, we ask for your thoughts and prayers for this individual’s friends and family,” Judge Andy Eads said.
Health officials also confirmed 40 new cases of COVID-19. This brings the countywide total to 1,599 since testing began in March.
County officials say an additional 17 residents have covered from the disease.
Protestors can be tested for COVID-19
Anyone who has participated in a protest during the last week can receive a confidential test for COVID-19. The testing will be conducted from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. by Parkland Hospital officials at the American Airlines Center.
"Your information is not shared with law enforcement, nor does a test count against the public charge rule," Judge Clay Jenkins said.
Digital producer Briauna Brown contributed to this story.
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