Dallas County Judge Asks Governor For Renewed "Stay Home" Order

Photo credit Chris Fox / KRLD

The Dallas County judge has sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott asking for renewed restrictions to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Sunday, Dallas reported 570 additional cases, bringing the county's total to more than 20,000. One person died, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 352.

"We are losing the battle," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says. "We've gone, since May 1, from being the state in the best position because of the early action of local leaders, to being the state in the most likely position to have the worst outcome."

Jenkins' letter asks Abbott to re-issue a stay-at-home order for 30 days. He also asks for a state-wide mask requirement, or to allow regional requirements, punishable by fines.

He also wants bars, arcades, bowling alleys, concert venues, gyms and movie theaters to be closed, as well as public pools, day camps and youth sports venues. Outdoor events, Jenkins says, should be limited to 100 people "with mandatory masking and physical distancing."

Jenkins' letter also calls for restaurants to be closed, except for carry-out and outdoor seating. A complete list of the committee's recommendations:

o Reinstitute “Stay Home, Stay Safe” for 30 days.o Universal masking/physical distancing that is enforced with fines statewide or at least regionally.o Limit events/situations where individuals congregate.o Businesses that can maintain work from home or physical distancing may remain open at 50percent capacity (such as professional services that allow for an individual to work isolated in anoffice).o Reduce indoor gatherings to a ten person limit with mandatory masking and physical distancing.o Maintain outdoor events to a limit of 100 with mandatory masking and physical distancing.o Restaurants to be closed except for take-out or outdoor seating only with physical distancing.o Close bowling alleys, arcades, concerts, movie theatres, gyms (to include yoga and spin studios,etc.), group youth sports, public pools, day camps, and other social venues or activities that donot allow strict physical distancing or masks to be strictly worn (i.e., cigar bars).o Maintain bar closures.o Daycare can remain open for essential workers only with CDC masking and safety rules. 

Jenkins says the recommendations were made by a public health committee comprised of epidemiologists, infectious disease doctors, hospital executives, physician leaders, and public health leaders.

"We don't have time to wait until our hospitals are near capacity to do these common sense things," Jenkins says.

Through Saturday, the state-wide rate of people testing positive was 14.31%, the highest seven day "positivity rate" since testing started. A week earlier, on June 21, the seven day positivity rate was 9.51%.

Through Sunday, hospitals in Texas reported 5,497 COVID-19 patients.

In North Texas, hospitals reported 1,291 COVID-19 patients, up from 1,130 last Thursday. Hospitals reported 2,789 available beds, down from 3,113 beds Thursday; 444 available ICU beds, an increase of 39 available beds from last Thursday; and 1,275 available ventilators, four more ventilators than were available Thursday.