As more businesses continue to reopen and officials continue to monitor the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a lot of information to take in. Here are today’s bullet points:
- Abbott Announces Timeline For More Reopenings
- Dallas County Reports 224 More COVID-19 Cases, An Additional Death
- Sinai Urgent Care Park Cities Location Offers COVID-19 Antibody Testing
- Dallas Expands Access To Mobile COVID-19 Testing
- Thomas Jefferson High School Seniors To Receive Personalized Yard Signs With Caps and Gowns
Abbott Announces Timeline For More Reopenings
Just as gyms and office buildings were able to open at a limited capacity Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that childcare centers across the state could reopen immediately. Abbott said bars and some entertainment options, like bowling alleys, will be able to partially reopen Friday.
Bars will be able to open at 25% capacity, and restaurants will be able to move to 50% occupancy Friday under what Abbott calls phase II of the state’s reopening process. Like restaurants, the occupancy limits do not apply to outdoor areas that maintain safe distancing among parties.
Bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, aquariums, and natural caverns can also open on Friday with some restrictions. Zoos may follow on May 29, but Abbott said theme parks like Six Flags will require more study regarding how they can reopen safely.
Youth sports and camps, as well as some professional sports, albeit without fans, can begin to resume by May 31. By June, in-person summer school also can resume, provided school districts follow social distancing guidelines and state’s health protocols.
“Today, tomorrow, every day going forward is one day closer to medical discoveries that will help treat and protect people from getting COVID-19,” Abbott said during a Monday news conference. “Until that day comes, our focus is to keep you safe while also restoring your ability to get back to work. But, let’s be clear. COVID-19 still exists in Texas. Our goal is to find ways to coexist with COVID-19 as safely as possible.”
Opened services and activities under phase II are subject to certain occupancy limits and health and safety protocols. For details and a full list of guidelines, openings, and relevant dates, visit www.gov.texas.gov/opentexas.
Abbott said he and other officials are looking at factors like hospitalization and the percentage of people tested who test positive for COVID-19 to guide the plan to reopen the economy.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he’s sending Abbott’s latest orders to the county’s public health committee, made up of public health, epidemiology, and infectious disease experts, for review.
“Most people are interested in knowing not only what’s legal but what is safe,” Jenkins said in a statement. “Public health experts, epidemiologists, and infectious disease specialists have trained their entire adult life to tell us just that and I’ll await their response.”
I am forwarding the Governor’s latest orders to the public health committee for their comments and inclusion in Dallas County COVID-19 Health Guidance for the Public. Most people are interested in knowing not only what’s legal but what is safe… pic.twitter.com/nOPA87h3IN
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) May 19, 2020
According to a color-coded chart published on Dallas County Health and Human Services’ website, the county remains in the red zone now, which indicates a high risk for community transmission of COVID-19 and in which county officials recommend avoiding nonessential travel as well as restricting activities and gatherings. The county’s COVID-19 Health Guidance for the Public is available here.
How do you feel about how officials are responding to the pandemic? Let us know by taking our survey. You can take the survey here.
Dallas County Reports 224 More COVID-19 Cases, An Additional Death
Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 224 more positive cases of COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total case count in Dallas County to 7,679, and one additional death.
The latest death was a 60-something-year-old Grand Prairie man who had been critically ill in an area hospital, officials say.
“(Monday’s) numbers continue a slight downward trend in the number of new positive cases. How well we do in continuing that trend is dependent on all of you exercising good personal responsibility choices. We currently still have significant community spread, which means doctors strongly encourage you to avoid unnecessary crowds. When you must go into a crowd or on public transportation, wear a cloth face covering and maintain 6 foot distancing at all times. Finally, doctors strongly encourage the use of good hygiene which includes frequent hand washing and not touching your face,” said Jenkins.
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.
Two-thirds of cases requiring hospitalization have been under 65 years of age, and about half do not have 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. More than a third of the 177 total deaths reported to date have been associated with long-term care facilities.
Sinai Urgent Care Park Cities Location Offers COVID-19 Antibody Testing
The Sinai Urgent Care clinic in Snider Plaza at 3414 Milton Avenue is now offering COVID-19 antibody testing. Sinai Urgent Care facilities also offer tests for active COVID-19 infection.
The test is administered by testing a small blood sample for the antibodies that are an immunologic response to COVID-19. It reportedly takes between two and four days to process the result of the antibody test.
Sinai Urgent Care also announced additional precautions including:
- Closing the lobby. This means all patients will wait in their car until they are brought into an exam room by a nurse.
- Requiring everyone in the building (patients included) to wear a mask.
- Staggering exam rooms so that no two patients are in a room next to each other.
- Not allowing more than four patients in the clinic at a time.
- Sanitizing exam rooms between patients.
- Screening staff’s temperature before each shift daily.
Dallas Expands Access To Mobile COVID-19 Testing
Dallas city officials announced Monday that mobile COVID-19 testing has been expanded to allow up to 60 tests per day across all ZIP codes within the city.
To be eligible for COVID-19 Mobile Testing, residents must:
- Not have transportation and not have means to get to a testing site.
Additionally, residents must have at least one of the four symptoms listed below:
- Temperature of 99.6 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- Shortness of breath
- Recent direct contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19
The COVID-19 mobile testing appointments can be scheduled between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., seven days per week through the UrgentCare2GO screening line by calling 1-888-601-0568. COVID-19 mobile testing appointments will be scheduled at no cost to eligible residents during two-hour time slots with a maximum capacity of 60 appointments a day.
Thomas Jefferson High School Seniors To Receive Personalized Yard Signs With Caps and Gowns
Lastly, we finish today’s digest with one way the community has banded together to celebrate seniors even as the COVID-19 pandemic has canceled traditional, in-person senior year events for many.
Two Dallas entrepreneurs whose company, “Proud of My Grad,” creates yard signs for high school graduates, will give TJ seniors a free customized yard sign from 5-8 p.m. Students will pick up the signs Tuesday evening as part of a makeshift car parade event called “Senior Sunset” where yard signs and caps and gowns will be distributed.
The 300-plus yard signs, valued at approximately $6,500, were donated to the students using financial support from Golden Chick, Cenveo, Associa, and the law office of Domingo Garcia.
Students with last names A-D are distributed at 5 p.m., E-H at 5:30 p.m., I-L at 6 p.m., M-P at 6:30 p.m., Q-T at 7 p.m. and U-Z at 7:30 p.m.