Dallas County limits
to 10 or less
By Sharon Wisch-Ray
On Wednesday, the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services announced that the number of COVID-19 cases has grown to 39 in the county. Eleven more cases were announced Wednesday by the Dallas County Health and Human Services. Four of the new cases do not reside in Dallas County so they are not reflected on the DCDHHS website, (which says 35) which is updated daily at 10 a.m. Seven of the cases are attributed to community spread.
On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council voted to extend the emergency declaration made March 12 to continue through April 29. This will extend all the measures that have evolved over the week including banning gatherings of more than 50 people and the closure of bars, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and theaters.
Dallas County announced later that they were limiting recreational gatherings to no more than 10 people. A recreational gathering would include house parties and pickup basketball games, but not funerals, for example. It is likely that the City of Dallas will match that edict in the coming days.
Last week Johnson said that the County Health Department would need to provide a daily report on the number of COVID-19 tests run on each day. As of Tuesday afternoon, the County had administered 109 tests according to the Dallas Morning News. In a news conference, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said that more tests were en route. As more tests are administered it is likely that there will be a sharp increase in the number of cases that test positive.
On March 18 at 5 p.m., restrictions for restaurants, bars and microbreweries began, limiting them to takeout or curbside to go service only. The new rule will remain in place until April 27 (may be revisited or repealed by the Mayor or City Council at an earlier date). Gyms, theaters and entertainment venues were closed in Plano as of 5 p.m. March 18 as well. Similar orders will go into effect in McKinney and Allen March 19.
Tarrant County and its constituent cities announced that restaurants, bars, taverns, entertainment venues, theaters and gyms would close effective March 18 at 11:59 p.m. In the news conference, officials said that they had told restaurant owners earlier in the week that this measure was coming so that they could prepare their staff and inventory.
That the region is taking heed of Dallas’ leadership role in shutting down venues that encourage the spread of COVID-19 is an important step in slowing the rate of community spread.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson called the decisions “gut-wrenching” and not made lightly earlier in the week.
So far three people have died from COVID 19 in North Texas, a man in in his 90s in Dallas, a man in his 70s in Arlington and a man in his 60s from Plano.