Jenkins: ‘Take Your Socializing Outside’

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention firms up its advice on airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus, counties and schools grapple with what that means for mitigating the spread of the virus. Here are today’s bullet points:

  • Jenkins: ‘Take your socializing outside’;
  • State announces delivery of hand sanitizer From Anheuser-Busch for Election Day;
  • Daily Campus: SMU will offer fully in-person learning in Spring;
  • Give the gift of horse power this holiday season.
Jenkins: ‘Take Your Socializing Outside’

Dallas County health officials reported 246 new positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, including 41 probable cases. A little less than half of the confirmed cases reported came from the state’s electronic laboratory reporting, and all are considered new cases. 

The death of a Dallas man in his 50s with no underlying conditions marks the 1,038th death attributable to the virus.

“Today we have an additional 205 confirmed cases and 41 probable cases for a total of 246 cases,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “Additionally, we have one reportable death of a man in his 50’s who did not have underlying high risk health conditions. 

“We are learning more every day about COVID-19. The CDC changed their website yesterday to reflect that COVID-19 particles can linger in the air in indoor settings with poor ventilation. Think of poor ventilation as any house that has been built onto or is an older home that had air conditioning added to it, as well as any older building and some newer buildings. That’s why it is best when possible to take your socializing outside.” 

The county said that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday was 276 patients, up from 242 patients on Friday. Emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms represented about 19% of all ER visits Friday, according to information reported to the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council.

In the county’s Sept. 29 aggregate report, the percentage of cases occurring in young adults aged 18 to 22 years has increased to 13% in September to date. A provisional total of 237 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-aged children (5 to 17 years) during CDC week 38, an increase from the previous week for this age group. A provisional total of 226 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in school-aged children (5 to 17 years) during CDC week 39 (week ending 9/26/2020).

According to trackers provided by Dallas ISD and Highland Park ISD, cases of COVID-19 are cropping up at schools. Dallas ISD reported a total of 80 cases Tuesday afternoon, up from 42 cases on Friday. Of that 42, 34 are campus staff (up from 19 Friday), three are central staff, and 43 are students (up from 22). Walnut Hill Elementary has four cases, Thomas Jefferson High School has two cases, Hillcrest has two, Franklin Middle School has one, Pershing Elementary has one case, and Sudie Williams Elementary has one case.

Highland Park ISD, who has offered on-campus instruction for a longer period of time, is reporting a total of four staff cases and 18 student cases. So far two staffers and 35 students have been cleared to return to class. 

Neither district provides information on how many students and staff have quarantined for 14 days due to classroom exposure to the virus.

In a city-by-city breakdown, Dallas still comes in with the highest number of cases – 42,910 confirmed cases and 2,040 probable cases. Highland Park has 86 confirmed cases (up from 85 last week) and another 34 probable cases, and University Park has 250 confirmed cases (up from 228), and 242 probable cases.

State Announces Delivery of Hand Sanitizer From Anheuser-Busch for Election Day

Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Division of Emergency Management announced the delivery of 39 pallets of hand sanitizer from Anheuser-Busch to TDEM’s central Texas warehouse. TDEM will distribute the hand sanitizer to counties across Texas for use at polling locations during early voting and on Election Day. 

“As Texans prepare to cast their ballots, their health and safety remains our top priority, which is why we are taking extra measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at polling locations,” said Abbott. “By distributing hand sanitizer to polling locations across the state, Texans will be able to protect themselves while exercising their right to vote. Thank you to Anheuser-Busch and Silver Eagle Beverages for teaming up with the Lone Star State to help ensure the protection of voters and election workers at the ballot box.” 

“As a proud Texas employer, Anheuser-Busch is committed to uniting our communities, strengthening our democracy and encouraging even greater participation in the political process,” said Anheuser-Busch Chief External Affairs Officer Cesar Vargas. ”One part of this commitment is shifting our production capabilities to donate hand sanitizer so that election officials and voters throughout the state and rest of the country can take part in a safe election this fall. We like to say that ‘beer is bipartisan’ and we are proud to step up and serve our communities during this election season.” 

“With early voting starting next week, Silver Eagle Beverages and Anheuser-Busch are proud to support our government officials and the election process by providing more than 6,500 gallons of hand sanitizer to be used at polling places throughout the State of Texas,” said Chairman and CEO of Silver Eagle Beverages John L. Nau, III.

Daily Campus: SMU Will Offer Fully In-Person Learning in Spring

SMU announced plans to offer fully in-person learning for the Spring semester, the SMU Daily Campus reported Tuesday.

In a campus-wide email, the university said there would be three options available to students next semester, including the option to attend classes in-person. Other options include fully virtual, and a SMUflex plan that offers courses conducted in real time with some students attending in person, and some attending remotely, the Daily Campus reported.

The number of fully in-person classes will be limited, the school said, to ensure social distancing. 

More information will be released on Oct. 20.

Give the Gift of Horse Power this Holiday Season

Equest has been providing equine assisted activities and therapies to children, adults, and veterans with diverse needs with the help of 30 therapy horses. 

“Imagine the freedom that a horse provides for those who are unable to walk; the sensory immersion a horse gives someone diagnosed with Autism or the calming comfort the human-horse connection creates for veterans and first responders coping with PTS, depression or combat-related symptoms,” the organization said. “Equest therapy horses do all this and more.”

Equest provides equine-assisted learning, therapies, and counseling to children and adults with physical, cognitive, sensory, coping, and learning disabilities and veterans with adjustment challenges. The services provided include physical and occupational therapy, equine facilitated counseling and equine-assisted learning, therapeutic carriage driving, therapeutic horsemanship, and competition. With the help of 30 therapy horses, eight instructors, four therapists, three counselors, and 700 volunteers, more than 2,000 served annually. Equest was the first PATH International Premier Accredited Center in Texas and remains one of the largest in the country. 

But all that good work needs monetary support – and there are gift levels for any budget. 

$5,000 sponsors the care of a therapy horse for one year.

$2,500 covers physical or occupational therapy (Hippotherapy) for one client for one 11-week semester.

$1,000 provides 12 weeks of Equine Facilitated Counseling for a veteran or their family member

$550 provides a scholarship for one rider for one 11-week semester

$300 enables one client to participate in an EWD (Equestrian with Disabilities) horse show such as Chisolm Challenge, Quarter Horse Congress, Special Olympics, AQHA Equestrians with Disabilities, Dixie Nationals, and NSBA.  

$100 provides enough hay to feed the therapy herd for one day

$50 covers monthly supplements for one therapy horse

Gifts can be made at www.equest.org/donate or by calling 972-412-1099.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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