Dallas County Reports Record Single-Day Increase In COVID-19 Cases

As businesses reopen and increase capacity (restaurants will be able to operate at 75% capacity beginning tomorrow), officials  monitor the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, and protests continue, there’s a lot of information to keep up with. Here are today’s bullet points:

  • Dallas County Reports Record Single-Day Increase In COVID-19 Cases
  • President Donald Trump Visiting Dallas For Fundraiser
  • Dr. Kelvin Baggett Talks COVID-19 Data, Protests
  • Gov. Abbott’s Office, Nolan Ryan Release New COVID-19 PSA

Dallas County Reports Record Single-Day Increase In COVID-19 Cases

Dallas County Health and Human Services Wednesday reported 300 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in Dallas County to 12,945, as well as three additional deaths.

The latest deaths include a 40-something-year-old Dallas woman, a 70-something-year-old DeSoto man, and an 80-something-year-old Garland woman. Two of the three had been hospitalized and had underlying, high-risk health conditions, and one died in the long-term care facility where she lived.

More than 80% of cases requiring hospitalization who reported employment have been critical infrastructure workers, with a broad range of affected occupational sectors, including healthcare, transportation, food and agriculture, public works, finance, communications, clergy, first responders, and other essential functions. More than two-thirds of cases requiring hospitalization have been under 65 years of age, and about half do not have any high-risk chronic health conditions. Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19. 

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson shared Wednesday that 25 hospitals reported bed and ventilator capacity statistics. Of 6,065 total beds, 4.153 (68%) were occupied, of 927 total ICU beds, 628 (68%) were occupied, and of 966 total ventilators, 325 (34%) were in use.

Officials say the age-adjusted rates of confirmed COVID-19 cases in non-hospitalized patients have been highest among Hispanics (667.4 per 100,000), Asians (187.4 per 100,000), and Blacks (136.4 per 100,000). These rates have been higher than Whites (43.8 per 100,000). Over 60% of overall COVID-19 cases to date have been Hispanic. Of the 274 total deaths reported to date, over a third have been associated with long- term care facilities. 

According to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council, the county has seen an increase in the number of patients in the daily hospital census for numbers reported June 9. While the percentage of emergency room visits for COVID-19 like symptoms in Dallas County for a 24 hour period ending June 9, dropped to 19 percent, that still represents 443 visits.  

“(Wednesday) 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 and the numbers to look at are hospitalizations and ICU admissions for COVID-19, ER visits for COVID-19 symptoms as well as deaths. Unfortunately, yesterday we saw an increase of 80 more hospitalizations across the DFW Metroplex than the day before and today that increase continued with 20 more hospitalizations. In Dallas County, we’ve gone from 321 hospitalizations for COVID-19 two days ago to 372 hospitalizations (Wednesday). These numbers are concerning to the Public Health Committee and we’ll continue to watch them closely. Your role is to avoid crowds, keep a six foot distance from people outside your family, wear a cloth face covering when on public transportation and at businesses and use good hygiene,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.

Jenkins also encouraged protesters to continue to be mindful of health guidelines.

“We’ll have free, no questions asked, testing today at the American Airlines Center for protesters who have been engaged in a mass gathering five days ago or longer from 2-5 p.m., and we’ll do that again tomorrow as well. I’m proud of our peaceful protesters and the role that they’re playing in building a more perfect union in radically transforming policing in America. The Public Health Committee is encouraging you to please maintain 6 foot distancing at the protests, wear your mask, use your hand sanitizer, and get tested to know your status to protect yourself, your family, other protesters and the broader community,” he said Wednesday.

President Donald Trump Visiting Dallas For Fundraiser

President Donald Trump will be in Dallas today for what is reportedly his first formal campaign fundraising event since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The fundraiser will be at an undisclosed, private home and admission is $580,600 per couple, according to the Texas Tribune.

Tim Rogers of our sister publication D Magazine published a piece in Frontburner prognosticating on who might be the host of the fundraiser.

Before the dinner, Trump and other administration officials will also participate in a roundtable discussion with faith leaders, law enforcement officials, and small business owners regarding solutions to “historic economic, health, and justice disparities in American communities,” according to the Dallas Morning News

The discussion will be at Gateway Church in North Dallas, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The Dallas County Democratic Party announced plans on their social media pages for a peaceful protest of the visit at 5 p.m. near the intersection of Royal Lane and Strait Lane.

Dr. Kelvin Baggett Talks COVID-19 Data, Protests

COVID-19 Health and Healthcare Access Czar Dr. Kelvin Baggett spoke about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Dallas and plans to expand testing availability during a Wednesday press conference.

“We’ve had 300 cases (Wednesday), we had 298 cases (Tuesday), so we’ve had this continued increase, so what I’ll say is we don’t yet know what our peak is and I don’t think, based upon the data, that we can say we’ve peaked,” Baggett said. 

He said different populations are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 

“We can look at the national data and see it in African Americans, in some other communities as well. Here, we’re seeing it more substantially in the Hispanic community,” Baggett said. “We also recognize that we’re seeing a disproportionate share of hospitalizations also within the Hispanic community largely.”

To that end, he said officials are working to determine how to increase testing availability in those communities.

He also addressed the ongoing protests in Dallas and across the country.

“We’re very familiar that we’re in the midst of a confluence of two major events–one, the protest over racial injustice, which has for the most part here in Dallas been largely peaceful, the other being a pandemic,” Baggett said. “There are also some concerns, and I have them, too, as to what these large group protests will mean for the spread of the virus.”

He said to that end, officials created a 10-step guide to peacefully protesting during a pandemic.

“We want to tell people to wear masks, to protect themselves, use hand sanitizer, and also, what’s very important is if you have underlying health conditions or if you’re coming in contact with people who do to consider another way to be able to express your voice,” Baggett said. 

Gov. Abbott’s Office, Nolan Ryan Release New COVID-19 PSA

Lastly, we end today’s digest with a fun and educational reminder to continue to follow health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of the Governor and Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan Wednesday released a new public service announcement (PSA) reminding Texans, “Don’t Be A Knucklehead.” In the PSA, Ryan encourages all Texans to follow effective health and safety protocols like washing their hands, social distancing, and wearing a mask. 

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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