As COVID-19 persists and cases continually rise, the Postal Service adopts new strategies to help with the great volume of holiday mail and DART’s “Stuff a Bus” event returns to Mockingbird Station in today’s bullet points:
- Dallas County reports 2,122 new positive COVID cases;
- Send your packages early this holiday season;
- DART’s annual holiday Stuff a Bus event returns Dec. 4.
Dallas County Reports 2,122 New Positive COVID Cases
Dallas County health officials reported 2,122 additional positive cases COVID-19 Thursday, with 1,637 confirmed cases and 485 probable cases. There is a cumulative total of 130,830 cases (PCR test), including 1,224 confirmed deaths. There is a cumulative total of 12,909 probable cases (antigen test), including 36 probable deaths.
The additional deaths being reported today include a Dallas man in his 60s and two Dallas men in their 70s. Unless noted, they had underlying health conditions.
The provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases (by date of test collection) for CDC week 47, which ended Nov. 21, was to 1,347, which is a rate of 51.1 daily new cases per 100,000 residents. The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 has increased, with 17.3% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive in week 47.
Since Nov. 1, there have been 4,907 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from over 704 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County, including 550 staff members. A total of 1,157 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-aged children (5 to 17 years) during CDC week 47 — which is 50% more than the number of cases in this age group reported during the highest week of cases during July (Week 28). Thirteen K-12 schools in Dallas County have initiated temporary closures of their campuses to in-person instruction for this week due to COVID-19 cases. Since November 1, there have been over 134 COVID-19 cases in children and staff reported from 101 separate daycares in Dallas County.
There are currently 95 active long-term care facility outbreaks. This is the highest number of long-term care facilities with active outbreaks reported in Dallas County since the beginning of the pandemic. Over the past 30 days, a total of 798 COVID-19 cases have been reported from these facilities, including 309 staff members. Of these cases 44 have been hospitalized, and 27 have died, including 2 deaths of staff members. Twenty-two outbreaks of COVID-19 in congregate-living facilities (e.g. homeless shelters, group homes, and halfway homes) have been reported in the past 30 days associated with 168 cases, including one facility with 87 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than two-thirds have been under 65 years of age. Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Of the total confirmed deaths reported to date, about 23% have been associated with long-term care facilities.
The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Wednesday was 813 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 22% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
“Today we announced 2,122 new COVID infections and three deaths. This is the second-highest number of new COVID infections we have seen thus far,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. It’s a strong reminder that now is the time for shared sacrifice and patriotism in forgoing the few things that doctors tell us are not safe and instead focusing on thankfulness for all the things we still can do in this time of increased spread while looking forward to getting back to our pre-COVID activities after the vaccine has been broadly distributed in the next few months.
“I anticipate that we will be giving the vaccine to healthcare workers and the nursing home population later this month and so there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” he continued. “However, we are not there yet and it is imperative that we all do what we can do to get a little bit safer for ourselves, our community, and our country until the vaccine can have its effect.”
Shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday, Dallas County announced that hospitalizations in Trauma Region E – which includes hospitals in the county – had reached that seven-day benchmark that triggered a rollback of allowable occupancy rates in some businesses.
Send Your Packages Early This Holiday Season
It is expected that more holiday gifts and greetings will be sent through the mail this year, as families and friends will hold virtual celebrations instead of opening gifts in person. The Postal Service always encourages customers to send their holiday gifts and cards early. This year is no different.
This has been an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges given the Covid-19 pandemic and the Postal Service is expecting significant volume increases which are difficult to predict. We thank our customers for their continued support, and we are committed to making sure gifts and cards are delivered on time to celebrate the holidays.
The Postal Service begins planning for peak holiday season every January. To help handle the expected volume increase, the Postal Service has the ability to flex our network to meet the significant volume increases expected this year. This includes making sure the right equipment is available to sort, process and deliver the expected mail and package volumes. We also have 644,000 employees dedicated to ensuring gifts and greetings are delivered in time for the holidays.
Seasonal workers are hired when and where needed, and technology has been expanded to enhance package tracking throughout the USPS processing and transportation networks. Sunday delivery will be expanded beginning Nov. 29 to locations with high package volumes. USPS already delivers packages on Sundays in most major cities. Mail carriers will also deliver packages for an additional fee on Christmas Day in select locations.
The busiest time of the season peaks two weeks before Christmas, when much of the last-minute shopping starts. Customer traffic is expected to increase beginning Dec. 7, with the week of Dec. 14-21 predicted to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week.
Consumers don’t have to leave home to ship their packages. In these socially distant times, they can simply visit usps.com or use the Click-N-Ship feature for help shipping that holiday gift, ordering free Priority Mail boxes, printing shipping labels, purchasing postage and even requesting free next-day Package Pickup. And usps.com is always open.
The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office and domestic addresses*:
- Dec. 9 — APO/FPO/DPO (ZIP Code 093 only) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
- Dec. 11 — APO/FPO/DPO (all other ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail services
- Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
- Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express service
- Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
- Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
- Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service
- Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express* service
- Dec. 18 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. First-Class Mail
- Dec. 19 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. Priority Mail
- Dec. 21 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S. Priority Mail Express
- Dec. 21 — Hawaii to/from mainland Priority Mail Express
*Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before Dec. 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance date and time, and other conditions. Some restrictions apply. For Priority Mail Express shipments mailed Dec. 22 through Dec. 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two business days.
More tips for a successful holiday mailing and shipping season:
- Use free Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. They are available at Post Office locations or online at usps.com/freeboxes.
- Make it easy with Click-N-Ship. You can create shipping labels and pay for postage online at usps.com/ship.
- Schedule a free Package Pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It’s free regardless of the number of packages. Pickups can be scheduled at usps.com/pickup.
- Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces or are more than a half-inch thick and using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a local Post Office.
Additional news and information, including all domestic, international and military mailing and shipping deadlines, can be found on the Postal Service Holiday Newsroom at usps.com/holidaynews.
DART’s Annual Holiday Stuff a Bus Event Returns December 4
With the holiday season just around the corner, here’s your chance to make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is reaching out to the North Texas community to support the annual “Stuff a Bus” event taking place on Friday, December 4, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. at SMU/Mockingbird Station. The initiative will deliver socks and blankets to area nursing facilities – as well as new and unwrapped toys and canned food for children and families in need throughout the North Texas area.
The DART “Stuff a Bus” annual campaign is a program run by the DART Operations team. This year’s donations benefit the Senior Source and Jonathan’s Place.
This year’s event will take place on December 4 at SMU/Mockingbird Station (5465 E. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas) near the intersection of North Central Expressway and Mockingbird Lane. SMU/Mockingbird Station is served by DART’s Red, Blue and Orange lines. Bus routes 24, 76, 81/82, 84, 521, SMU Express (Route 768), GoLink for Lakewood and Park Cities, and the Bush Center/Meadows Museum Express (Route 743) also serve the SMU/Mockingbird Station. To ensure the health and safety of the community, a curbside donation location is also available.