As state and local officials continue to monitor the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, some county officials consider potential policing reform policies, and state officials prepare for Tropical Storms Marco and Laura, there’s a lot of information to keep up with.
Here’s what you need to know today.
- Dallas County reports 182 COVID-19 cases, 98 from August;
- Dallas County to consider grant program for policing alternatives;
- Gov. Abbott announces FEMA approval for federal emergency declaration ahead of Tropical Storm Laura, Marco landfall.
Dallas County Reports 182 COVID-19 Cases, 98 From August
Dallas County Health and Human Services Monday reported 182 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total confirmed case count in Dallas County to 69,086, and no new deaths.
Of the 182 new cases the county reported Monday, 84 came through the Texas Department of State Health Services’ (DSHS) electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) system – 18 from March, 43 from April, and 23 from May.
The total number of probable cases in Dallas County is 2,576, including eight probable deaths from COVID-19.
Of the 857 confirmed deaths reported to date, about 26% have been associated with long-term care facilities.
“Today we have 182 cases; however, 84 of those are from March, April and May, meaning that there are only 98 cases from the month of August in today’s total. This is the first time we’ve been under 100 cases on any day since April 27. While this is great news, it is the result of much hard work on your part: wearing your mask, maintaining six-foot distancing, washing your hands regularly, forgoing unnecessary trips, and staying away from anyone outside you family or any indoor activity outside your family where people cannot wear a mask one hundred percent of the time. We must continue to make these smart decisions for this trend to continue. That’s the best way for less people to get sick, more businesses to stay open and our children to get back to school sooner rather than later,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Monday.
From August 1-14, 531 school-aged children between 5 to 18 years of age were reported to have been diagnosed with COVID-19. About 50% of these cases were high school age. By zip code of residence, 302 (57%) of these children were projected to have been enrolled in Dallas ISD schools, and eight, or 2%, in Highland Park ISD.
Of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than two-thirds have been under 65 years of age. 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 the virus that causes COVID-19 has been declining but remains high, the county said, with about 12.5% of symptomatic patients presenting to area hospitals testing positive in week 33.
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s latest data shows COVID-19 hospitalizations in North Texas have declined 16% compared to a week ago and 24% compared to two weeks ago.
“In both Dallas and Tarrant Counties, hospitalizations are projected to continue to decline over the next two weeks, given the compliance with physical distancing and masking,” UTSW notes.
UTSW’s model projects total COVID-19 hospitalizations could decline to between 260 and 450 concurrent hospitalized cases by Sept. 4, and roughly 430 new COVID-19 infections per day are expected by Sept. 4.
Dallas County To Consider Grant Program For Policing Alternatives
Dallas County officials reportedly plan to ask commissioners next month to create a $3 million grant program to help cities fund policing alternatives following a summer of protests spurred in part by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May.
The Dallas Morning News reports Darryl Martin, the county administrator, is expected to make the pitch Sept. 1, when the commissioners get their first look at his proposed budget.
The newspaper reports Martin is also expected to ask for about $1 million to help establish a jail alternative proposed by District Attorney John Creuzot and another million for other programs like eviction protection.
Creuzot and Martin are among the officials who worked with other municipal officials, activists, and community members to tackle issues of police reform and social justice as part of a working group.
“Our initial Zoom call wasn’t just about feeling heard, it was about developing an opportunity for real systemic change,” said Jenkins, who organized the countywide task force to determine how best to meet the group’s overall goals.
The working group met for six weeks listening to best practices across the nation and prepared a report in hopes of folding those policies into local governments.
“I want to thank County Administrator Darryl Martin, committee members, and county and city staff for their courage and willingness to hear one another and work together. I hope the New Directions report released today will serve as a catalyst for innovative policy changes,” Jenkins said. “Faced with the twin crises in policing and in unmet community needs, we must act.”
The report is available below.
Gov. Abbott Announces FEMA Approval For Federal Emergency Declaration Ahead Of Tropical Storm Laura, Marco Landfall
Gov. Greg Abbott Monday announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and President Trump granted a Federal Emergency Declaration request for Public Assistance Category B (Emergency Protective Measures). Specifically, FEMA is authorized to provide emergency protective measures (Category B), limited to direct federal assistance and reimbursement for mass care including evacuation and shelter support at 75% federal funding. Abbott submitted the request Sunday.
“Texas is grateful to President Trump and our partners at FEMA for quickly granting this Federal Emergency Declaration,” said Abbott. “As Tropical Storms Marco and Laura head towards the coast, the state of Texas is working with local and federal partners to ensure our communities have the resources they need to respond to these storms.”
Tropical Storm Marco was downgraded from a hurricane overnight Monday. Tropical Storm Laura is expected to rapidly intensify as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico and could make landfall along the Texas coast as a Category 2 or Category 3 hurricane, producing life-threatening storm surge. Both tropical systems pose serious flood risks to the Texas coast and southeast Texas.