TCU And SMU Postpone Their Annual Rivalry Game, North Texas Leads The Country In Returning To The Workplace And Much More. 

While it’s been widely reported that Gov. Greg Abbott has been floating the idea of once again loosening lockdown restrictions, a bit of lenience has been indicated on the City of Dallas’ part as officials downgraded the color-coded COVID-19 threat level. With in-person classes at various districts resuming this week, and with a record number of North Texans returning to the workplace, there’s still sufficient cause for worry, even as many people are feeling complacent about the pandemic.

For more on this, here are some of the latest developments in North Texas:

  • On Monday, Dallas County reported 261 additional cases and zero deaths. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Dallas County to 73,961, and the death toll to 946. Of Monday’s cases, 35 are from the month of August.

  • 3,591 out of 5,828 hospital beds in Dallas are occupied, which brings the total occupancy to approximately 68%. 614 out of 958 ICU beds are filled, while 317 out of 994 ventilators are in use.

  • Dallas County officials lowered the color-coded COVID-19 risk assessment chart from red (which signifies “STAY HOME STAY SAFE”) to orange (“EXTREME CAUTION”). The chart’s accompanying “Health Guidance for the Public” report, sent by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, outlines specific guidelines on public life to coincide with the colors. For example, this report states that under the orange tiers, going to a restaurant can be considered, provided there is a low occupancy and the waitstaff is compliant with social distancing and mask recommendations.
  • A new report by Kastle Systems shows that DFW has one of the largest rates of workplace occupancy since the pandemic – in other words, people in North Texas are returning to work instead of working from home in record numbers. While the report shows the average workplace occupancy in the 10 most populous metropolitan areas was 23% (a number which Houston is just a hair under). According to the Dallas Morning NewsDallas has an astonishing rate of 36%, which is higher than New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Austin, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco.
  • The Fort Worth Zoning Commission is meeting on September 9 to discuss a proposed zoning change that would convert a hotel into a temporary COVID-19 housing unit. The housing project would specifically be for immunocompromised people and other residents who are considered most vulnerable to COVID-19. If approved, the city would purchase a HomeTowne Studios property for $6.8 million, which NBC 5 reports comes from CARES Act funds.
  • With the State Fair kind of cancelled this year but not really, iconic food vendor Fletcher’s Corny Dogs has announced a partnership with Golden Chick. All Golden Chick locations in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana will be selling these corn dogs, so now you don’t have to go through some seemingly impromptu drive-thru at the State Fair to satiate your culinary cravings.
  • Citing the pandemic’s corrosive affects on mental health, Dallas ISD has announced teachers and staff members will focus on social-emotional learning (SEL). Under this pedagogical principle, teachers have conversations with students concerning any emotional distress. One of the approaches that is most commonly utilized is “RULER”, a methodology created by developmental psychologist Marc Brackett that signifies the practice of “Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulating” emotions.
  • TCU has announced that its rivalry game with SMU on September 11 will not go on as originally planned. In a move that some would describe as better late than never, TCU Director of Athletics Jeremiah Donati said in a statement, “In the course of following CDC guidelines and our aggressive testing and contact tracing strategy, we discovered that some student-athletes and support staff in our football program have tested positive for COVID-19.”

That concludes our biweekly COVID-19 news roundup. Be sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing at all times. And once again, please don’t let your guard down.

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