As Texas continues to set new COVID-19 records and hospitalizations soar, the constant flow of information can be difficult to stay on top of. Here are today’s most important bullet points:
- Dallas County reports 1,201 new cases, 10 more deaths;
- North Texas sees a shortage in blood supply amid pandemic;
- Dallas Park and Recreation Department cancels several summer season programs;
- SMU offers low-cost counseling services and free group sessions.
Dallas County Reports 1,201 New Cases, 10 More Deaths
Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 1,201 new positive COVID-19 cases and ten additional deaths on July 9. This brings the total number of cases in Dallas County up to 30,361, with 436 deaths.
Of the 10 reported deaths, all had underlying high risk health conditions. Seven had been critically ill in an area hospital — a Garland man in his 50s, a Dallas man in his 60s, an Irving man in his 60s, a Sunnyvale woman in her 60s, a Dallas woman in her 70s, a Garland man in his 70s and a Dallas man in his 70s. The additional three deaths include a Dallas woman in her 60s, a Dallas woman in her 70s and a Dallas man in his 90s.
Two of the individuals were residents of long-term care facilities, one in Garland and one in Dallas. Of the 436 total deaths reported to date, about a third have been associated with long-term care facilities.
Since June 1, half of the reported COVID-19 cases in Dallas County have fallen in the 18 to 39 age range. Just as this has been an increasing trend since the beginning of June, an increasing number of cases continue to be linked to large recreational and social events, like house parties.
Of the cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than two-thirds have been under 65 years of age.
Dallas County continues to see record high numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 831 COVID-19 patients as of Wednesday. The number of COVID-19 symptom-related emergency room visits increased to 824, which represents over 36 percent of all ER visits in Dallas County according to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
“Today we announced another 10 deaths to COVID-19 as rampant community spread continues,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. “Things will get worse before they get better and it’s up to all of us to wear our masks whenever around people outside of our own home.”
Jenkins urged Dallas County residents to take a mask when doing activities such as exercising or walking the dog, should they find themselves around other people unexpectedly. He also encouraged residents to limit activities outside the home to only ones that are absolutely necessary.
Attending restaurants, gyms, day camps, arcades, movie theaters, bowling alleys, amusement parks, concert venues, sporting arenas, group youth sports, public pools, weddings and other large events were among the places Jenkins requested residents to avoid.
“With the amount of spread in the community, you are much more likely to come into contact with people who are infected than you were during the time when we had the Safer at Home (shelter in place) orders,” Jenkins said.
North Texas sees shortage in blood supply amid pandemic
North Texas is feeling the effects of a dangerous trend that’s also being seen nationwide — the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a blood supply shortage. Over 50 percent of the donated supply got cut off after schools and businesses ceased in-person operations, according to D Magazine.
With the loss of mobile drives at schools and workplaces, many organizations have been promoting visits to neighborhood donation centers, and looking for alternative, safe ways to encourage residents to give blood.
For North Texans wishing to donate, Irving City Hall will be hosting a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14. According to the Dallas Morning News, after participants make the required appointment, safety will be enforced by mask-wearing and social distancing.
The Carter BloodCare drive will set up additional locations at Fort Worth City Hall and Richardson City Hall. Donors will also receive a courtesy Texas Rangers baseball cap and a COVID-19 antibody test.
The American Red Cross is also encouraging donations through their collaboration with the “Wonder Woman 1984” film. During the month of July, donors will automatically be entered for a chance to win a prop replica package, which includes Wonder Woman’s Golden Lasso and a pair of Gauntlets.
Red Cross blood donation opportunities will be available until July 20 at locations across North Texas. In Dallas County, several upcoming sites include Musso Family Dentistry on July 17, and the American Red Cross Dallas Chapter on July 19 and 20. Both drives will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m, adhering to safety protocols and CDC guidance.
Dallas Park and Recreation Department cancels several summer season programs
Dallas Parks and Recreation has called off several programs due to increasing COVID-19 numbers, including its aquatic summer season, according to a statement from Director John Jenkins.
Among the cancelled programs are 13 recreation summer camps, 10 roving recreation camps, and 12 outdoor adventures, which is designed to introduce youth and families to kayaking, photography, geocaching and mountain biking.
“Increasing reports of cases are continuing to be associated with multiple large recreational and social gatherings since the beginning of June, including house parties,” the statement read. “This statement further confirms our need to take these appropriate steps in ensuring our youth’s safety.”
Despite the current cancellations, the department is planning on reopening its recreation centers on Aug. 17, with operation modifications and a capacity level following state guidelines. Staff-led programs and activities will not resume before Oct. 1.
SMU offers low-cost counseling services and free group sessions
SMU’s Center for Family Counseling is currently offering telehealth services, including low cost counseling for adults, children, teens, couples and families, as well as several free group sessions.
From Monday through Thursday, the center is open from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. It is also offering two new services: parent training and five different support groups for adults and adolescents. Appointments for the SMU Center for Family Counseling can be made by phone at 214-768-6789.
SMU Counseling Students will also lead two additional groups, which are free of cost to participants. The Virtual Mindfulness and Stress Reduction Group, which will run until Aug. 3, focuses on “learn[ing] and integrat[ing] mindful practices into your daily life,” with tips on prioritizing self-care.
Students are also offering a virtual social group for LGBTQ+ teens called Reconnect. Teens that are ages 13 to 17, with parental consent and registration, are able to meet every Monday and Thursday, in a “safe place to process and support other teens in a fun and interactive environment.”
For more information on both groups and to register, call 214-768-6789.