Dallas Records Highest Daily Case Count Yet After Brief Monday Dip, Political Rivals Challenge Jenkins, Suburbanites Keep Faking Positive Results & More.
It’s been four days since we last took a broad look at the most up-to-date coronavirus pandemic-related goins-on in Dallas, meaning its well past time for another round of contextualization through bite-sized, digestible news nugs.
Per tradition, let’s kick things off with the latest Dallas County Health & Human Services/Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation map detailing the infection of zip codes across Dallas County.
- The latest map of Dallas County’s confirmed cases broken down by zip code — this one through Monday, April 6 — shows a steady increase across the city, and some new zip codes spiking. Three hotspots have been consistently appearing on these maps — University Park (75225), Oak Lawn/Highland Park (75219) and DeSoto/Cedar Hill (75115), which are still under duress, with the former two neighborhoods checking in with 29-37 cases and the latter spiking to 38-47 cases. Two new hotspots — Uptown (75204) and a North Oak Cliff parcel stretching from Beckley to Joppa (75216) — also make themselves known on this latest map, checking in with 29-37 cases. The biggest surprise, however, is the severe uptick in cases in a South Dallas stretch just east of Fair Park (75227), which went from just 7-13 cases to a current range of 38-47 in just a four-day span. Click here to see a .gif of how this overall map has changed over the last two weeks.
- With 106 new cases, Dallas County reported its highest daily increase count yet on Tuesday. The spike comes right after totals dipped by half to 43 in Monday’s report, which were explained away due to private testing centers being closed on Sunday. To date, nineteen deaths have been reported in Dallas County out of a total of 1,261 positive cases. According to the county, 733 of those live in Dallas, with Garland’s 106 and Irving’s 81 coming in second and third. County officials offered a racial breakdown of reported cases, too: 24% Hispanic, 20% white, 19% black, 2% Asian, 1% “other” and 35% unknown. On Sunday, the county also reported on that 71% of all hospitalizations have either been 60 years old or had a known high-risk health condition, with 28% having diabetes.
- Even with fewer than half the total cases, Tarrant County is just one death behind Dallas County’s figure. Through Tuesday, Tarrant reported 517 cases with 18 deaths to Dallas’ 1,261 and 19. WFAA has a full North Texas county-by-county map breaking it all down.
- There’s been some insane back-and-forth between our elected officials lately. The distilled version of what’s been going on: 1.) On Sunday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s staff published a letter threatening to pull resources from Dallas’ pop-up hospital at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center if the county didn’t start using the space; 2.) Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins immediately denied ever implying that he didn’t want it, just that he always saw it as a “step-down” facility that the city’s other hospitals don’t yet require; 3.) Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson then tweeted that he was “stunned and deeply disappointed” that Jenkins hadn’t more activated the space yet; and 4.) Dallas County commissioners unanimously voted to limit Jenkins’ power, requiring him to notify them of any new restrictions and to get a majority vote from them before extending any shelter-in-place order past his previously announced April 30 date. Jenkins is getting punched in every direction, but we still stan.
- Dallas hospitals remain well below capacity. Perhaps the weirdest thing about Mayor Johnson tweeting his disappointment in Jenkins not using the pop-up hospital is that the mayor’s own office has been compiling data from hospitals within Dallas city limits about their capacity figures — and they seem to have things in hand for now. Through Monday, the 24 Dallas hospitals reporting announced that 2,726 of its total 5,353 beds were occupied, 482 of its 782 ICU beds were occupied and 32 of its 894 ventilators were in use. So why the rush to move things over to the convention center, Mayor Johnson?
- Dallas City Council Member Adam Bazaldua is doing his part to practice social distancing. The District 7 representative has started posting TikToks!
- DISD reports that a total of 13 students, faculty and police officers have tested positive for COVID-19. At least one employee is believed to have died because of the virus. The district has a 98.8% teacher-enrolled student connectivity rate, and is weighing options about summer school. The Dallas Morning News has way more.
- Across Texas, only Houston’s Harris County is outpacing Dallas’ numbers. Harris has 1,809 cases to Dallas’ 1,261. The DMN has a statewide county map, which, to be fair, looks a bit like a population density map.
- Big Bend National Park has been closed. The closure came after residents complained that a continued stream of visitors to the park were straining area resources, according to Texas Monthly.
- A data research firm thinks the Dallas housing market should come out of the pandemic better than most. Out of 483 metro regions ranked from best to worst, Dallas came in 477th. Median list-prices for homes in Dallas-Fort Worth are down three percent from last year, though.
- In the suburbs, people are getting arrested for lying and threatening to intentionally spread COVID-19. To date, we count three instances of people lying about a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and getting into trouble for it. On Tuesday, an 18-year-old woman in Carrollton was arrested for posting videos to Snapchat in which she appeared to have driven through a COVID-19 testing before threatening to “infest” people at an area Walmart. After a search for her, she told police she did not have the virus, and they couldn’t prove that she did, but she will still be charged with making a terroristic threat and her bond has been set at $20,000. In Grapevine, a 27-year-old man ran up to a marked police car, began coughing through the car’s open driver’s side window and into the face of the officer inside before claiming to have tested positive for COVID-19. The man later said he was joking, but was charged with the third-degree felony of harassing a public servant; the officer is monitoring his health but has been cleared to work. Lastly, as we told you in late March, an employee at a DPS driver’s license facility in Carrollton was reprimanded for lying about a positive diagnosis, but no charges are believed to have been filed in this instance.
- As of Sunday, there are 24 positive cases in Dallas County jail. Of that total, 22 are inmates and two are detention officers, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.
- An employee at the North Texas Food Bank has tested positive. The Plano transportation team employee alerted officials to the positive diagnosis today, but has been in quarantine and hasn’t been to work since March 27. Meanwhile, the North Texas Food Bank is dealing with record demand, and has been working with the Texas National Guard, which has taken over warehouse and mobile pantry distribution operations for the organization.
- After a couple weeks of back-and-forth, courts currently deem abortions non-essential during the state’s disaster declaration. In a split decision in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s ongoing anti-abortion position was held up on Tuesday. Doctors found in violation of the order could face “penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time.”
- More casualties hit the economy, at both Half Price Books and the Dallas Morning News. The Texas book chain has laid off or furloughed 78 percent of its workforce, and DMN is avoiding layoffs with staff-wide paycuts.
- Three players in the Texas Rangers’ minor league baseball system have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 190 players in the minor league system. Last week, major leaguer Shin Soo Choo offered to pay each one of those players $1,000 for relief during the pandemic.
- Though he hasn’t tested positive himself, Joe Exotic — star of the Netflix documentary series Tiger King — is under quarantine in a Fort Worth prison medical center. The 57-year-old is serving a 22-year sentence in federal prison for two counts of murder-for-hire, nine counts of violating the Endangered Species Act and eight counts of falsifying wildlife records, but has been temporarily moved to a Fort Worth facility out of precaution after an inmate at the prison where he was being kept tested positive.
More in a couple days.