As local officials and public health experts continue to monitor social distancing efforts and the potential impact of recent business reopenings on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a lot of information to keep up with. Here are your bullet points for today:
- Dallas COVID-19 Case Count, Hospitalizations Hold Steady For Now
- Gov. Abbott Announces Extensions To Payment Deadlines For Certain Employers
- Dallas Initiative Provides Milk To Those In Need
Dallas COVID-19 Case Count, Hospitalizations Hold Steady For Now
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 211 total deaths reported to date have been associated with long-term care facilities.
“(Monday’s) numbers continue a trend of lower cases than we saw last week and we have a Memorial Day present in that no deaths have been reported. Whether this trend continues and we move from our current status of red ‘stay home stay safe’ to orange, is up to all of us. Avoiding crowds, maintaining a 6 foot distance, wearing our face covering as a quintessential American value of an act of kindness and protection to essential workers and patrons when we are in businesses or on public transportation, and practicing good hygiene are the best ways to flatten the curve,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.
Mayor Eric Johnson shared on social media May 25 that 25 hospitals reported their bed and ventilator capacity statistics. Of 6,049 total available beds, 3,723 (62%) were occupied, of 885 total ICU beds, 605 (68%) were occupied, and of 986 total ventilators, 328 (33%) were in use.
Gov. Abbott Announces Extensions To Payment Deadlines For Certain Employers
Gov. Greg Abbott May 22 announced that the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) extended payment deadlines for designated reimbursing employers that are required to pay a share of unemployment benefits. Designated reimbursing employers include non-profits, local governments, school districts, and other qualifying employers who reimburse TWC for the full amount of unemployment benefits to be paid to eligible former employees.
TWC’s action delays the due date for the June 1 payment to Dec. 31. This action also waives interest and penalty charges during the same time period, and does not reduce or eliminate this payment for reimbursing employers. It provides more time for these employers to secure resources to meet these and other liabilities as they deal with the implications of COVID-19. This extension also does not delay or prevent Texans who qualify for unemployment benefits from receiving these resources.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented economic challenges, and the State of Texas is committed to helping both employers and Texans who have lost their jobs through this challenge,” said Abbott. “This payment extension will help these employers address financial setbacks due to COVID-19 and provide them more time to pay their share of unemployment benefits. As Texas continues to respond to COVID-19, we are committed to ensuring employers across the state have the resources they need to recover.”
In addition, Abbott issued an executive order May 22 suspending in-person visitations in all county and municipal jails in the state. This restriction does not apply to visitation by an attorney meeting with a client or a religious leader or member of the clergy.
The governor previously directed state prisons, jails, and juvenile justice facilities to restrict visitation upon issuing his COVID-19 disaster declaration.
“Jails have shown to be highly susceptible to COVID-19 surges which is why we are focused on containing any potential hot spots and preventing spread both within jails and the community,” said Abbott. “I encourage jails to utilize virtual visitation strategies to allow for visitations in a way that protects both staff and the inmate population.”
Dallas Initiative Provides Milk To Those In Need
Lastly, we end today’s digest with a new resource for those in need in the community. Johnson Friday announced the sites and dates for the distribution of thousands of gallons of free milk through the Mayor’s Milk Initiative, a partnership with Borden Dairy, Dallas ISD, and local faith leaders.
Dallas-based Borden delivers the milk to schools and houses of worship. Faith-based volunteers and participating nonprofits will distribute the milk to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic at those 16 sites.
The first two sites were at the Eladio R. Martinez Learning Center Monday and from 1-4:30 p.m. today at the St. Philip’s School and Community Center at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Households of four or more may receive two gallons of milk. Households of three or fewer may receive one gallon of milk. No identification is necessary.
“The Mayor’s Milk Initiative will help many Dallas families who are facing hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Johnson said. “During difficult times, the people of our city, our business community, and our institutions have always rallied to help our neighbors in need, and this initiative is the latest example of what we can accomplish by working together.”
Borden received the USDA’s largest award under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program and plans to distribute a total of 700 million servings of milk in the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest regions, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
“Dallas is our home, and we are proud to expand our local donation initiatives with the support of the Mayor, the Dallas ISD and other non-profit partners,” said Borden CEO Tony Sarsam. “Borden applauds the City for its rapid response to ensure DFW residents have convenient access to nutrition during this time.”