Dallas Among The Least Compliant Cities With Stay-At-Home Orders?

As Dallas County health officials continue to report more positive COVID-19 cases and the economy continues to move toward reopening statewide, it’s important to keep track of the news and guidance. Here are today’s bullet points:

  • Dallas Among The Least Compliant Cities With Stay-At-Home Orders?
  • New COVID-19 Testing Location Opens In Dallas
  • Dallas County Reports 251 More COVID-19 Cases, Two More Deaths
  • AG Paxton Warns of Scammers Impersonating Government Entities 
  • Gov. Abbott, OneStar Foundation Announce Texas COVID Relief Fund
Dallas Among The Least Compliant Cities With Stay-At-Home Orders?

Researchers at Insurify, a website for auto insurance quotes comparison, compiled data on relative changes in driving, walking, and use of public transit in 15 major cities before and after March 13 and found Dallas had among the smallest decreases in driving, walking, and use of public transit despite stay-at-home recommendations. In contrast, New York City, San Francisco, and Boston reportedly had among the largest such decreases.

Specifically, Dallas had a 48.73% relative decrease in driving and 54.96% in transit usage, putting it at 12 among the 15 cities, according to Insurify.

The numbers were provided by Apple. The Apple Maps service compared the relative volume of directions requests per city to a baseline volume on January 13. 

The Insurify research team compared the change in relative Apple Maps directions requests 38 days before and after March 13, the day President Trump declared a national state of emergency. The higher the percentage, the bigger the decrease in direction requests.

New COVID-19 Testing Location Opens In Dallas

A new drive-thru COVID-19 testing site opens today in the Walmart parking lot at 9410 Webb Chapel Road.

The site is supported by Walmart, eTrueNorth and state and local officials to test anyone who meets CDC and state and local guidelines on who should be tested, including first responders, health care providers, others with symptoms of COVID-19 and those in high-risk groups without symptoms. Those interested in being tested need to visit www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com to see if they’re eligible for testing and to make an appointment.

“Thank you Walmart for providing Dallas County residents with another location for free COVID-19 testing. Testing is important and we know that with more locations and more convenience, more people will get tests, and the faster we can identify COVID-19 cases, isolate the sick to prevent outbreaks and save lives,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. 

“Walmart is part of the community, and we are proud to help support the expansion of COVID-19 testing in Dallas during this unprecedented time,” said Laurie Smalling Letts, Walmart public affairs director for Texas. “We are grateful to our associates who keep our stores running, our pharmacists who support these testing sites, and to eTrueNorth and local officials as we work together to open the site and help our community.”

Details on the COVID-19 testing site:

  •       Beginning today, the site is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays weekly, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., weather permitting.
  •       Appointments must be made through eTrueNorth’s online portal at www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com, which will screen individuals to ensure they meet CDC eligibility for testing. 
  •       For questions regarding testing, call 800-635-8611.
  •       Those being tested will need to wear a mask or cloth covering and stay in their cars for verification of eligibility criteria, ID check, and self-administered test. 
  •       The site will use a self-administered nasal swab test that will allow those being tested to swab their own nose onsite while in their vehicles, observed by a trained medical volunteer to ensure the sample is taken correctly, and then dropped in the sealed sample into a container on their way out of the drive-through site.
  •       eTrueNorth will handle processing test samples and communicating results to those tested and applicable Departments of Health. 
  •       The site will be staffed by Walmart healthcare professionals. However, testing is not available inside Walmart stores.
  •       While individuals who are tested are awaiting results, follow CDC guidelines and take steps to help prevent the virus from spreading.
Dallas County Reports 251 More COVID-19 Cases, Two More Deaths

 Dallas County Health and Human Services Thursday reported 251 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in Dallas County to 5,120, as well as two additional deaths. 

The latest deaths bring the number of COVID-19-related deaths in the county since the pandemic began to 125.

The latest deaths were a 60-something-year-old Dallas man and a 90-something-year-old Grand Prairie man, officials say. Both had been hospitalized.

“(Thursday) replaces (Wednesday) as our 2nd highest single day of new positive COVID-19 cases. Please keep making good decisions, focusing on not what you can do, but what local health authorities are advising that you should do: avoiding unnecessary crowds, keeping a safe 6 foot distance, wearing your cloth face covering when on public transportation or in businesses, and practicing good hygiene. Increasingly, it’s up to all of us to take personal responsibility and #FlattenTheCurve and #StayHomeSaveLives,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Of cases requiring hospitalization who reported employment, about 79% 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. Of cases requiring hospitalization, 65% 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. Of the 125 total deaths reported to date, more than a third have been associated with long-term care facilities.

AG Paxton Warns of Scammers Impersonating Government Entities 

Attorney General Ken Paxton May 7 warned that scammers have been spotted posing as state agencies to solicit money from consumers. 

Government agencies do not email or call individuals with financial solicitations. Consumers are advised to keep their personal information private and, if contacted by someone claiming to represent a government agency, go to its official website and find a legitimate phone number to confirm.  

“All Texans should be aware of unsolicited calls and emails from scammers impersonating leaders in their government. This is a dirty trick fraudsters are using to make a quick buck at the expense of hardworking Texans,” said Paxton. “My office has a long history of pursuing fraudsters who attempt to deceive Texans, and we stand ready to assist anyone harmed by these scams and schemes.”    

Report suspected fraud to the Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling toll-free 1-800-621-0508 or by filing an online complaint at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection/file-consumer-complaint

Gov. Abbott, OneStar Foundation Announce Texas COVID Relief Fund
Gov. Greg Abbott announced a strike force in charge of laying steps to re-open the Texas economy at a press conference in the capitol on April 17, 2020. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez/POOL via The Texas Tribune)

Lastly, we end today’s digest with a new resource available to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Greg Abbott and the OneStar Foundation May 6 announced the Texas COVID Relief Fund, which will provide funding and resources to organizations across the state working on the ground to support the economic recovery of local communities. Funds raised will be distributed through grants focused on the areas of community and economic development, healthcare, and education.

“There is nothing more powerful than Texans helping Texans, and the Texas COVID Relief Fund is another way we can come together to support those in need and help our communities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Abbott. “I thank the OneStar Foundation and their partners for their commitment to helping Texans through these trying times. By coming together and supporting one another, we will overcome this challenge.” 

“Communities across Texas are stepping up to meet the needs of everyday Texans in heroic ways,” said Chris Bugbee, President and CEO of OneStar Foundation.  “We are grateful for Governor Abbott’s leadership in providing the Texas COVID Relief Fund as a resource to embolden efforts across the state to meet the needs of our neighbors impacted by the pandemic.”

For more information on the Texas COVID Relief Fund or to make a donation, visit the OneStar Foundation website. 

 

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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