News is coming fast and furious these days as the county, state, and nation grapple with slowing the spread of COVID-19. Here are the bullet points you need to know today.
Jenkins Will ‘Not Sugarcoat Things’ – Lack of Resources Taxing County
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins may be getting accolades for how he’s directing the effort to flatten the curve in the county when it comes to new cases of the novel coronavirus, but at this point, he’d probably rather have the capability to perform more tests.
“Let me just not sugarcoat things and jump right in,” Jenkins said in his Tuesday evening press conference. “We saw a big rise in the number of positive tests today. Since that time, we’ve had quite a few other people test positive.”
Dallas County Health and Human Services director Philip Huang said that the county would be reporting its seventh COVID-19 death to the state on Thursday, adding that cases rose Wednesday because testing availability also increased when the two drive-up sites at American Airlines Center and Ellis Field House opened up.
But Huang warned that the number would only continue to increase – the current total of positive cases doesn’t account for those two new sites coming online yet, and he doesn’t believe the region has peaked yet, either.
“Our number today was the largest we’ve had. So definitely no indication of a peak yet,” he said. “But again, it’s really important for everyone to implement the stay home, stay safe practices.”
And even though the two sites are a welcome sight, Jenkins reiterated that the county is still understocked when it comes to demand. Both of the drive-up sites are capped at 250 tests each per day, for 5,000 tests total for the entire county per week.
And commercial labs can’t keep up either, he added.
“We probably need 10 of these things now at 4,000, and we’re stuck with two at whatever that number comes to, about 2,000 or less,” Jenkins said.
Dallas to Hold Tele-Town Hall for Small Business Owners Thursday
The city of Dallas will hold a telephone town hall Thursday evening for small businesses that are affected by COVID-19. Council members and city staff will provide updates on available resources.
The town hall will begin at 6 p.m., and participants can register for the call by going here, or they can listen in live by dialing 1-888-400-1932 (English) or 1-888-400-9342 (Spanish).
The town hall is informational in nature and is not an official meeting of any city council committee, and no action will be taken at the town hall.
Small business owners can also access current resources by going to http://dallasecodev.org/562/COVID-19-Info-for-Small-Businesses.
Trump Approves Major Disaster Declaration for Texas
President Donald Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for Texas on Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced.
The announcement comes after Abbott requested the declaration, asking for federal assistance to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Texas is aggressively pursuing and implementing all necessary strategies to limit the impact of COVID-19, and I thank President Trump for his swift action to issue a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Texas,” said Abbott in a written statement. “The President’s declaration opens up new sources of funding for individual and public assistance that will help Texas respond to this public health emergency and protect public health and safety.”
Abbott also said he has requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture allow Texas Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, recipients use their benefits at take-out and drive-through restaurants in a bid to open up another food source for the 3.2 million people in Texas who receive those benefits.
“As we continue in our efforts to combat COVID-19, the state must do everything it can to make life more manageable for citizens and ensure that Texans can provide meals for their families,” Abbott said. “This waiver will go a long way in doing just that. I urge the federal government to quickly approve this waiver, giving Texans another food option during this public health emergency.”
Reunion Tower Lights Up With Positive Messages
Reunion Tower has unveiled a new special light show series that showcases positive, uplifting messages for the city of Dallas as its residents shelter-in-place. The light show series will feature messages every evening.
Tuesday night’s message was “Be Safe. Be Home” was punctuated with red, white, and blue hearts and the state of Texas. The show ran all night, ending at sunrise Wednesday morning.