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Two Summer Church Camps Lead To Outbreaks, Former Dallas Mayor Pro-Tem Dwaine Caraway Requests Home Confinement Over Health Concerns And Much More.

Believe it or not, there is actually some good news since we last checked in earlier this week. But of course, in a Coronavirus world, there’s always some bad news too.

Here are the latest coronavirus developments in North Texas:

  • On Wednesday, Dallas County reported a record number of 30 deaths in a single day, bringing the county-wide death toll to 567. In addition, 413 new cases were reported, the second day of new cases under 1,000. County Judge Clay Jenkins said the decrease in positive cases is a step in the right direction, but that it’s too soon to see if it will remain a stable trend. He also praised residents for complying with the face mask order, which could have attributed to the drop in cases. 

  • An alliance of Texas bars is planning to illegally open in protest to Governor Greg Abbott after he ordered all bars to close again back in June. Chris Polone, owner of Fort Worth bar The Rail Club Live, is organizing Freedom Fest, which is set to occur on Saturday, July 25. The event calls for bars, referred to as ‘51% establishments’ to practice their “civil liberties” and stand up for themselves against “Abbott’s unconstitutional bill.” Safety guidelines will be in place for attendees and legal counsel for any participating bar that is penalized for reopening. Polone hopes to have 300 businesses state-wide participate in the event. Not only did they disregard if they could, they didn’t ever question if they should, we guess.
  • Former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway asks judge to grant him home confinement over COVID-19 fears. In a motion filed Tuesday, Caraway’s attorney,  Michael Payma said he is a ‘high risk prisoner’ due to his age and a number of preexisting health conditions. Payma also referred to Caraway as a model prisoner and proper candidate for at home confinement. Back in March, U.S. Attorney General William Barr wrote a memo to ask the prison bureau to allow vulnerable prisoners a chance at home confinement due to the pandemic. Caraway is currently serving a nearly five-year sentence for accepting $450,000 in bribes and kickbacks that resulted in the downfall of the school bus agency for Dallas County Schools.
  • Two overnight Christian retreats, Camp Pine Cove and Fellowship Church’s Allaso Ranch cause concern for the return of school. Both camps resulted in kids contracting the virus, but you probably could have guessed that. Despite Pine Cove ensuring a number of safety measures were in place before campers arrived, such as face mask requirements, use of hospital-grade cleaners, reduced group sizes, temperature screening and on-site medical staff, at least 100 campers and staff tested positive for the virus. Similar concerns surfaced regarding Fellowship Church’s Allaso Ranch retreat after social media images showed no face masks or social distancing being enforced. The Fort Worth Star-telegram reported that at least 80 campers tested positive for the virus, and at least one child was hospitalized. Parents are now speaking out as they say Fellowship officials have largely ignored the camp’s outbreak. The mega-church’s founder Ed Young has continued to ‘hide’ twitter replies critical of the camp in the aftermath of the outbreak.
  • North Texas Hospitals are in need of plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients but are experiencing roadblocks. An experimental treatment called convalescent plasma is showing promise in helping current COVID-19 patients recover by transfusing antibodies from a recovered individual. Unfortunately, there have not been enough donors from North Texans, therefore hospitals are relying on donations from New York to fulfill the demand. Carter BloodCare is currently receiving requests for 100 doses of plasma a day which is a substantial jump from the original 25 per-day dose requests at the beginning of the pandemic. This has caused a backlog which could take up to three days to fulfill. Another issue is the FDA’s rules determining who is eligible to receive the treatment and doctors having to submit approvals every time they want to use the procedure. This treatment was originally designated for the sickest of patients, but after further research it was seen as a safe and viable treatment for any patient. Recovered COVID-19 patients who would like to donate need to have had a positive COVID-19 or antibody test result and not had symptoms in 14 days. You can make an appointment with Carter BloodCare by filling out this form
  • Two North Texas labs have been chosen for Phase Three of vaccine testing and need volunteers. Global Medical​ Research in Dallas and Benchmark Research ​in Fort Worth are currently looking for essential workers as volunteers to test a possible COVID-19 vaccine. Previous trials have shown the vaccine does not have adverse side effects or pose any safety concerns. The most common side effects reported have been fever and chills. In a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, it was determined that in phase one of Modera’s vaccine trials, all volunteers produced an immune response which included antibodies and some t-cell response. If all goes well in Phase Three, a vaccine could be available at the end of this year or early next year

That’s all for this week’s update. Make sure to check back in with us on Tuesday to catch up on everything that develops over the weekend.

Stay home if possible this weekend, and wear the damn face mask.

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