Dallas County Moves Risk Level to Orange

Tuesday, Dallas County health officials moved the county’s risk level to orange for the first time since September 2020 — and this time, bookended by news that the state would open COVID vaccination up to all adults next Monday and the news that Parkland has closed its COVID ICU wards, it might just be a sign that things are moving closer to green.

Although Gov. Greg Abbott opened the state up for business, Dallas County’s color-coded system remained in the red — the most dangerous threat level — even after, largely because case counts were still high, infection rates were still closer to 15% than 5%, and hospitalizations were still on the high end.

But now, with the infection rate hovering just below 7%, Dallas County health officials now say it’s safe to get a haircut (as long as the salon takes precautions), dine-in at restaurants (provided there’s plenty of space between tables and masks are worn), or visit museums or libraries with 25% or less occupancy.

According to the guidelines provided by the county, unnecessary travel is still not suggested, and outdoor events and venues are still preferable to indoor options.

But, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month, gatherings of vaccinated people can happen indoors and maskless, and gatherings with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people can look a little different, too.

In other news:

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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