New Research Shows Promise Of Wearing Face Masks, Private Religious Schools Will Not Have To Comply With Local Health Officials’ Orders And Much More.
As always, the Coronavirus news news cycle isn’t letting up, and a lot has happened since we touched base last week.
Here are some of the latest updates in DFW from this past weekend.
- Dallas County reported an additional 1,026 cases on Monday, bringing the total to 42,292 cases. On Friday, County Judge Clay Jenkins said the county saw a drop by 36 cases last week over the week before. He once again noted a concerting rise inn cases among younger people in Dallas.
NEW: Dallas County Reports 1,026 Additional Positive 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases and 1 Death pic.twitter.com/g0733jXQ83
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) July 20, 2020
- New research from a study by the University of North Texas Health Science Center shows that wearing face masks is effectively slowing the spread of COVID-19 in North Texas. Even with this positive news, associate professor and researcher Dr. Rajesh Nandy urges residents to not let their guards down in continuing to comply with the face mask mandate. The report also focuses on a drop in retail mobility, such as going out to bars which could play a role in leveling the number of hospitalizations and prevent an economic shutdown. This news comes as CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield recently said if everyone wore a mask for the next four to six weeks, we could get the pandemic under control in the U.S.
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a guidance letter to private religious schools stating they do not need to comply with local health officials’ orders on delayed in-person instruction for the upcoming school year. In the letter, Paxton argued health officials trying to close down religious institutions goes against guidelines in Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive orders, and would therefore become invalid. Paxton also claims religious institutions have power to operate in their own way separate from government restrictions. Since religious schools are tied to a religious institution, their operations cannot be restricted. Dr. Phillip Huang, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, issued the order last week regarding delaying in-person instruction for all Dallas County schools. He says it would not be wise to continue with in-person instruction as of late.
- A new testing location was opened Monday in one of the hardest hit zip codes in Dallas. Mountain View College at 4849 West Illinois Avenue will conduct testing from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. This location is run in partnership between the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the City of Dallas. Those looking to get tested do not need to be residents of Dallas or Dallas County.
- Four free testing locations are currently open for Irving residents. A drive-thru center at the University of Dallas Lot B will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To be tested residents must fall under the given criteria. The CVS stores at West Walnut Hill Lane and Story Road are also conducting drive-through testing, but appointments need to be made ahead of time. Lastly, Parkland is offering testing through the Irving Health Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In order to make an appointment, call the clinic at (214) 590-8060 or visit the Parkland website.
- A pilot testing program is offering saliva testing for Tarrant County residents. Unlike the nasal swab — which can be uncomfortable — a saliva COVID-19 test is simple, painless and results can be received in as early as 24 hours. This new testing option will be available for Tarrant County residents on Tuesday at J.P. Elder Middle School starting at 8 a.m. All residents will need to register prior to arriving at the center. The location plans to run 300 tests a day and could become a wide-spread testing option in the future as health officials assess the program.
- DFW Restaurant Week will still occur this year at a new time with added to-go options for those who do not want to dine- in. This annual event is giving an opportunity for the community to support local Dallas restaurants that have been impacted by COVID-19. Attendees can choose between three-course dinners between $39 and $49 and two-course lunches for $19. Since DFW Restaurant Week is a charity event, 10% of all proceeds from these meals will benefit two local non-profits, the North Texas Food Bank and Lena Pope. The event has been scheduled from Aug. 31 – Sept. 9. All participating restaurants will be announced on the event’s website on Aug. 4.
- The athletic department at the University of North Texas is facing nine active cases of COVID-19 as they begin training for the upcoming season. The university confirmed such cases to the Denton Record – Chronicle on Saturday. All athletic department staff and players have been receiving nasal swab tests as they arrive back on campus for training. Individuals who test positive are put in isolation to prevent spreading the virus to others.
That concludes the weekend’s update. Make sure to check back on Thursday as more developments unfolded over the week.
Please stay home, wash those hands and wear a mask.