Meyer Wants School District Employees Classified as Frontline Workers

One state legislator says school employees should be given priority in vaccine distribution as frontline workers, just as Dallas County reports that there have been 8,810 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from 716 separate K-12 schools in the past 30 days. These are some bullet points for the day:

  • Meyer asks Abbott to include school district employees as frontline workers;
  • County reports 22 COVID-19 deaths, 1,858 additional cases;
  • Modern Mile to provide 150 trees along tornado path;
  • Abbott holds construction, small business listening session.
Meyer asks Abbott to classify school district employees as frontline workers

State Rep. Morgan Meyer sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott Tuesday imploring him to include school district employees as frontline workers eligible for priority status in COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

“Keana (Meyers’ wife) and I appreciate the great work of our educators, who continue to go above and beyond each and every day of the pandemic,” Meyer said on his Facebook page, where he discussed the letter. “There’s no doubt that they are on the front lines, working for the good of our families. For this reason, I’m asking Gov. Abbott to include school district employees in the ‘frontline worker’ status and prioritize distribution of their vaccinations.”

In the letter to Abbott, Meyers said that the state should “lead by example” when it comes to adding teachers and other school employees to the priority list.

“Over the past nine months educators have continued to show up for our students,” he said. “It is time for Texas to show up for them.”

You can read the whole letter here.

County reports 22 COVID-19 deaths, 1,858 additional cases

Dallas County health officials reported 1,858 new positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. That total includes 1,497 confirmed cases and 361 probable cases.

The county also reported an additional 22 deaths, including a Cedar Hill man in his 40s, a Garland man in his 50s who died in a hospital emergency room, two Dallas women in their 50s, a Mesquite man in his 60s, a Cockrell Hill man in his 60s who died in an ER, a Lancaster woman in her 60s, a Dallas woman in her 60s, a Duncanville woman in her 60s, a Garland man in his 60s who died in hospice care, a Dallas man in his 60s, a Duncanville man in his 70s, two Lancaster men in their 70s, a Lancaster woman in her 70s, a Mesquite woman in her 80s, a Duncanville man in his 80s, a Dallas man in his 80s, and a Sunnyvale woman in her 90s.

There are 111 active long-term care facility outbreaks. A cumulative total of 3,669 residents and 2,091 healthcare workers in long-term facilities in Dallas have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Of these, 745 have been hospitalized and 402 have died.

About 22% of all deaths reported to date have been associated with long-term care facilities, including a woman in her 50s who died in a Carrollton facility, a woman in her 80s who lived in a Dallas facility and died in hospice care, and a man in his 90s who died at a Richardson facility.

“Today we report 1,858 new COVID cases and 22 deaths, ranging in ages from a man in his 40’s to individuals in their 90’s,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “Medical experts continue to predict that January and February will be challenging months for COVID but I continue to hope we’ll turn the corner soon as vaccine production ramps up and is more accessible to our community.

“Yesterday, we vaccinated over 2,700 individuals at our Fair Park location and have about 6,300 doses remaining for the week. We are also providing some second doses this week for 1A individuals that were vaccinated at our DCHHS Stemmons location about a month ago.”

The county said that there have been four cases of the so-called U.K. variant of the virus, and none of those individuals had traveled outside the U.S.

Roughly 25.5% of all symptomatic patients arriving to local hospitals tested positive in the most recent CDC week ending Jan. 16.

Over the past 30 days, there have been 8,810 COVID-19 cases in school-aged children and staff reported from 716 separate K-12 schools in Dallas County.

Twenty-seven outbreaks of COVID-19 in congregate-living facilities like homeless shelters and group homes have been reported in the past 30 days.  A cumulative total of 350 residents and 168 staff members in congregate-living facilities in Dallas have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday was 1,133 patients. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 21% of all ER visits, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council

Modern Mile to provide 150 trees along tornado path

Nonprofit The Modern Mile Dallas has raised more than $85,000 to plant trees along the ravaged path of the October 2019 tornado.

The group’s “Trees for Walnut Hill” campaign will be able to provide about 150 new trees. Organizers said the funds were gathered through the efforts of neighborhood volunteers, local businesses, and individuals.

“Our focus was to raise funds to plant new trees for the homeowner’s in the tornado zone of Walnut Hill neighborhood, and also some at Walnut Hill School at the new PreK – 8 building location, whenever that is completed,” the group said.

Modern Mile partnered with Fannin Trees to obtain and install the trees, and each impacted household can get a voucher.

“We have already purchased a specimen live oak that will eventually be planted at the new Walnut Hill School, whenever that is finished,” the group added. “We plan to give a few more small trees to them as well.”

Modern Mile Dallas serves the Walnut Hill neighborhood outlined by Royal Lane, Midway Rd, Walnut Hill Ln, and Marsh Lane.

Abbott holds construction, small business listening session

Abbott Tuesday held a listening session in San Antonio with construction workers, small business leaders, and advocates to discuss how Texas can better support small businesses and workers in the wake of COVID-19.

Following the listening session, the governor held a brief press conference to provide a summary of the discussion and outlined proposed legislative strategies to ensure a more prosperous future for the state of Texas. 

During the listening session, Abbott and participants discussed strategies on how to grow the Texas economy and help business owners and workers impacted by COVID-19. Abbott told those gathered that he was also working with the state legislature on several initiatives aimed at assisting small businesses, including addressing the need to improve broadband internet access statewide.

“Despite the challenges our state has faced over the past year, Texas remains the economic engine of America,” said Abbott. “Texas businesses have gone above and beyond to operate safely, and it is crucial that we continue to foster an environment that allows them to succeed.

” I look forward to working with the Legislature on these important issues, and continuing these conversations with business leaders and workers across the state to build a more prosperous future for every Texan.”

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 [email protected].

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