Dallas Officials Call For An Audit Of Company Providing Tests In Dallas, County Case Numbers Still On A Decline But Not Out Of The Woods And Much More.

On Tuesday, we were skeptical albeit optimistic for a downturn in COVID-19 cases, and since we last checked in, cases have dwindled even further.

Here are the latest coronavirus developments:

  • On Thursday, Dallas County reported 203 additional cases, the lowest number of cases since June 1, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 52,869. County Judge Clay Jenkins reported a total of 31 deaths on Tuesday evening, reminding residents that COVID-19 poses a threat to everyone, as deaths for this week included both young people and  individuals who had no underlying health conditions. Jenkins also said the moratorium on evictions has been extended until August 25.

  • Dallas leaders have called for an audit on Honu Management Company to determine if it is fulfilling the county’s multi-million dollar contract to operate free testing locations. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson sent a memo to the city auditor on Wednesday following a report from the Dallas Morning News highlighting potential red flags with the company’s testing results. Johnson questioned the low positivity rate at the University of Dallas back in July and how these concerns need to be given a closer look. Dallas County Commissioners had expressed concerns about the deal after test delays and inaccurate results. Currently, Dallas County is withholding its share of the contract and the City of Dallas is actively taking new bids for contracts to run testing locations.
  • Prices for COVID-19 vaccinations are beginning to surface amid concerns of price gouging. Moderna, the leading vaccine developer, is expected to charge $32-$37 per dose after making deals with foreign nations. While no official deal has been made with the United States government, lawmakers are concerned that prices could be higher for US residents. Back in July, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky,  D-Ill., asked manufactures if they planned to sell their vaccinations “at cost,” meaning not for a profit. Moderna competitors AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson both said they would provide an “at cost” price during the pandemic while Moderna and Merck both declined the pledge selling their vaccines ‘at cost.” In addition, Moderna has a two-stage pricing view: the pandemic period, where vaccine costs would be lower and the endemic period, where vaccine costs could rise.
  • Limited visitation can occur at Texas nursing homes and long-time care facilities that have been COVID-19 free for 14 days. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s decision allows visits to occur with no physical contact between visitors and residents. Each facility was given a specific set of rules regarding indoor versus outdoor visitation and requirements the facilities must meet to allow visitations. A set of emergency rule enhancements require facilities to have a COVID-19 response plan, which includes  resident recovery plans, screening all residents, staff and guests and maintaining a two-week supply of PPE.
  • 11 Dallas non-profits will receive a $25,000 grant through the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund to aid in further COVID-19 community response. The organizations included provide service in one of six key areas: Public safety and domestic violence, childcare for working families, homelessness, relief for small businesses and residents in need, equity in educational access and assistance for families experiencing food insecurity. Mayor Johnson praised the organizations, saying “providing much-needed services as Dallas families recover and rebuild from this devastating pandemic.”  A full list of recipients can be found on the Dallas City Hall website.
  • Fort Worth will provide permanent housing for COVID-19 vulnerable and disabled individuals experiencing homelessness. The city will use $18.6 million received from the CARES Act to purchase and convert existing motels, hotels, extended stays and apartment complexes to provide about 200 new units of permanent housing across two or more locations. Projects will be funded based on the quickest time frame for getting tenants settled in. All housing will be owned and operated by Fort Worth Housing Solutions and the Presbyterian Night Shelter of Tarrant County Inc.
  • Fort Worth honky tonk Billy Bob’s Texas has applied for a new restaurant permit in hopes to reopen sooner. Even without approval for the permit, the Funkytown institution also announced a new schedule of concerts set to begin as early as next week. Billy Bob’s says it will follow CDC safety guidelines and take extra precautions to enforce them, including a $20,000 thermal camera to detect temperatures.

That concludes our weekly coronavirus rundown. Mask up, wash your hands and stay home when possible.

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