Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 7:30 p.m. on March 27 to reflect the county’s newest transmission map.
Dallas’ poorest ZIP Codes have the county’s fewest cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The distribution map of positive cases even resembles the redlining map of 1937, which the federal government used to block banks from issuing loans to residents living in large portions of Dallas, particularly in the south. Those neighborhoods don’t have as many cases as the ones that were green-lined, potentially indicating a lack of testing.
Community leaders and top public health officials fear that the remnants of these decisions—the lack of high-paying jobs and inadequate healthcare services, in particular—are affecting the testing rates for these individuals. They worry the disease is lying in wait in the city’s poorest communities, which struggle with transportation and are less likely to be insured than more affluent ZIP Codes.
“I’m requesting more testing,” said County Judge Clay Jenkins. “You are seeing more testing in the north because there are a lot more hospitals and access to medical care, a lot more people who have insurance and have a regular doctor and are going there for testing.”
As of Friday, there are 367 confirmed cases in Dallas County. Most of the proven concentrations of COVID-19 are north of Interstate 30, clustered in the higher income neighborhoods above downtown. We learned yesterday that 75225—a portion of University Park and a large chunk of Preston Hollow, including many older residents who live near Preston Center—has between 13 and 17 cases, the most in the county. Its neighbor in 75230, the rest of Preston Hollow, has between nine and 12. All but three ZIP Codes that have more than four cases are bunched around those neighborhoods, not far from the American Airlines drive-thru testing facility that opened last weekend.
The only ZIP Codes in the south with at least nine cases are 75208, North Oak Cliff including Kessler Park and Bishop Arts near Methodist Hospital, and 75115 in Duncanville just south of Red Bird, near where the drive-thru testing facility at Ellis Davis Field House is available. Cockrell Hill’s 75211 now has between five and eight cases. Oddly, Ellis Davis’ 75232 has none.
Looking at the map, Pleasant Grove has between one and four. (Above it, Casa View, 75228, has between five and eight.) South Oak Cliff has between one and four. The ZIP Code with the lowest median income, South Dallas 75210, still has zero. The next lowest is its neighbor, 75215, which has between one and four.
“My concern is that when you have a lack of testing in a certain area or community, it gives a false sense of security,” says the Rev. Dr. Michael Waters, the head pastor at Abundant Life AME Church in Dolphin Heights, just east of Fair Park. “I have seen persons who have shared that map online, shared it on social media with a point of jubilation, saying, ‘well look! We only have one to four people who have been confirmed. We’re doing a great job. Unfortunately, we know that’s not true.”Read More