Dallas County Continues Trend of Record Single-Day Increases In COVID-19 Cases

As officials continue to monitor the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and new guidelines and restrictions are put in place, there’s a lot of information to keep up with. Here’s what you need to know today:

  • Dallas County continues trend of record single-day increases in COVID-19 cases;
  • Abbott, HHSC extend deadline for pandemic food benefits for families affected by COVID-19 school closures;
  • U.S. travelers set to remain banned from entering EU;
  • Abbott’s office, UT head football coach Tom Herman release new COVID-19 PSA: “The Power of Teamwork.”
Dallas County Continues Trend of Record Single-Day Increases In COVID-19 Cases

Dallas County Health and Human Services Monday reported a new single-day record of 572 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in Dallas County to 20,737, as well as an additional death. The previous three days also saw record single-day increases in new COVID-19 cases.

The latest death is a 40-something-year-old Irving man who hadn’t been hospitalized, but had underlying, high-risk health conditions, officials say. Of the 353 total deaths reported to date, over a third have been associated with long-term care facilities. 

An increasing proportion of COVID-19 cases in Dallas County are being diagnosed in young adults between 18 and 39 years of age, such that of all cases reported after June 1, more than half have been in this age group.

Increasing reports of cases are also continuing to be associated with multiple large recreational and social gatherings since the beginning of June, including house parties. 

Of cases requiring hospitalization, more than two-thirds have been younger than 65, and about half do not have any 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. The percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for COVID-19 increased to 26.9% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals in week 25. 

Of cases requiring hospitalization who reported employment, over 80% 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.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson shared Monday that 25 hospitals reported their bed and ventilator capacity. Of 6,083 total beds, 67% were occupied, of 945 total ICU beds, 73% were occupied, and of 959 total ventilators, 334 (35%) were in use.

Additional information on risk-level monitoring data is available here.

Statewide, 1,819,189 tests were administered as of June 28, with 153,011 cases reported. Statewide, there are 5,913 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state.

“Today we have our highest number of reported cases of COVID-19 in Dallas County, and this weekend for the first time, our weekend reporting numbers went up. Normally our weekend reporting numbers go way down as some hospitals don’t report. Our numbers went from 571 to 611 COVID-19 cases in the hospital for Dallas County. Hopefully, this is because the hospitals have made it a point to increase accuracy of weekend reporting, but either way the numbers are of great concern,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “Everyone should wear a mask 100 percent of the time when you’re around people outside your home. Avoid unnecessary trips. Ask yourself if the trip is a desire or a necessity. Make lists when going to the grocery store so that you go shopping as little as possible and avoid in person activities such as dining and indoor exercise where you or others are not wearing a mask 100 percent of the time. We are seeing significant growth throughout Texas and here in North Texas in the number of COVID-19 cases, and if this trend does not reverse, it will have a very serious and negative impact on public health and our economy.”

Abbott, HHSC Extend Deadline For Pandemic Food Benefits For Families Affected By COVID-19 School Closures

Gov. Greg Abbott Monday announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is extending the application deadline for the federal Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer program (P-EBT) to July 31. 

P-EBT is a one-time benefit of $285 per eligible child and can be used in the same way as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits to pay for groceries. Eligible families include those with children who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) because of school closures. 

“The extension of the P-EBT deadline helps ensure that Texans have time to apply for this program and provide nutritious food to their families as the state continues to combat COVID-19,” said Abbott. “Ensuring access to healthy food in our communities is an important part of our response to this pandemic.”

“We remain committed to ensuring access to healthy and nutritious foods for eligible Texans, and P-EBT provides that to those who need it most,” said HHS Access and Eligibility Deputy Executive Commissioner Wayne Salter. “This extension provides more time for families to apply for this emergency assistance.”

More than 3 million children in Texas were certified to receive free or reduced-price meals at school during the 2019-2020 school year. Families who are eligible for P-EBT were notified by their school districts in May. After completing the online application, families receive their benefits on a new Texas P-EBT card in the mail.

HHSC partnered with the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas Education Agency to launch the $1 billion federal program on June 1 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, nearly $700 million in P-EBT has been issued to families, benefiting more than 2.5 million children.

Visit hhs.texas.gov/pebt to learn more about P-EBT. For questions regarding eligibility or to learn more, people may also contact the P-EBT Call Center at 833-613-6220 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Standard Time Monday-Friday.

U.S. Travelers Set To Remain Banned From Entering EU

The European Union is reportedly getting ready to reopen borders to 15 countries outside the EU as early as Wednesday, but the U.S. isn’t on the proposed list, according to CNN.

The countries on the proposed list include China, Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay, the network reports. However, the EU will reportedly only offer China entry on the condition of reciprocal arrangements.

The list is included in a set of recommendations from the EU Council to member states, which set out criteria for countries to meet before their citizens are allowed to enter the bloc and the methodology for meeting that criteria, per CNN. This reportedly requires that countries that are allowed entry have COVID-19 infection rates equal to or better than the EU.

Abbott’s Office, UT Head Football Coach Tom Herman Release New COVID-19 PSA: “The Power of Teamwork”

Lastly, we end today’s digest with a fun, informative reminder to follow health guidelines. Abbott’s office and University of Texas head football coach Tom Herman Monday released a new public service announcement (PSA) titled, “The Power of Teamwork.” In the PSA, Herman urges Texans to work together as a team to stop COVID-19 by washing their hands regularly, social distancing, wearing a mask, and staying home when possible.

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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