As of 10 a.m. April 16, Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 80 additional positive cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total case count in Dallas County to 2,066. Seven additional deaths have also been reported, including: two men in their 60s, both residents of Dallas and both had been critically ill in an area hospital, a man in his 70s who was a resident of Dallas and had been critically ill in an area hospital, a woman in her 70s who was a resident of Garland and had been critically ill in an area hospital, a woman in her 80s who was a resident a long-term care facility in Dallas and had been critically ill in an area hospital, a man in his 70s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in Dallas and had been critically ill in an area hospital, and a man in his 80s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in Dallas and had been critically ill in an area hospital.
Of cases requiring hospitalization, 69 percent have been either over 60 years of age or have had at least one known high-risk chronic health condition. Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third (30 percent) of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Most (69 percent) deaths have been male. Seventeen deaths have been associated with long-term care facilities.
“We must all limit unnecessary trips. Each trip carries some risk to you, your family and the public at large. To better protect you and our frontline heroes, we are requiring all visitors to essential businesses, essential business employees and riders of public transportation to wear a cloth covering starting Saturday. There are a lot more cars on the roads this week. That’s a concern. If a few of us slack off on making good personal responsibility decisions we not only put #publichealth at risk but are prolonging this for ourselves and everyone,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Guidance on covering nose and mouth:
A significant percentage of individuals with the COVID-19 virus lack symptoms. Because an infected person can transmit the virus to others before showing any symptoms, the covering of a person’s nose and mouth when visiting an Essential Business is necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is consistent with the findings of the CDC and Dallas County Health Authority.
Staying home is the best way to help reduce the spread of the virus, but if an individual must leave their place of residence to visit an Essential Business, wearing a fabric face mask shall be used as outlined in this Order. Wearing a face covering is not a substitute for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and hand washing, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus. The face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators, which are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.
The public in general and Essential Business employees shall comply with the following:
A. To the greatest extent possible, all persons over the age of two (2) shall wear some form of covering over their nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief, when:
1) patronizing an Essential Business; and
2) using public transportation, taxis, or ride shares.
B. This section shall not apply to persons that are:
1) riding in a personal vehicle;
2) engaging in outdoor activity;
3) eating; or
4) when wearing a covering poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or security risk such as anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
Children under the age of two (including infants) should not wear cloth face coverings. Those between the ages of two and nine should use them but under adult supervision to ensure that the child can breathe safely and avoid choking or suffocation. Children with breathing problems should not wear a face covering. Parents and Guardians of children under 10 shall be responsible for appropriately masking children pursuant to this Order.
All COVID-19 Suspected Positives, those currently being tested, and untested individuals with cough and/or fever, and household members of same category of individuals shall not leave their residence without a mask or cloth face covering to prevent the spread to others.
To the greatest extent possible, all individuals working for an Essential Business must wear a mask or cloth face covering whenever in public and whenever performing job duties in the presence of others. To the greatest extent possible, employers shall provide employees with a mask or face covering. An owner or operator of an Essential Business may refuse admission or service to any individual who fails to wear face covering.
Medical grade (N95) and surgical masks should be reserved and used only by medical professionals and first responders. Cloth face coverings are not intended for use by healthcare workers, first responders, and others whose work requires close contact with people who are ill.
Cloth coverings should be made in accordance with CDC Guidance, which can be found at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.
The amended order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on April 17 and will continue through 11:59 p.m., April 30.
All Dallas County COVID-19 Updates and Information can be found at www.dallascounty.org/covid-19.