The White House believes Texas “must intensify” its efforts in controlling the coronavirus and has highlighted Dallas-Fort Worth as the state’s largest metropolitan area in the worst shape. And a recent, sustained increase in hospitalizations appear to back up its fears.
The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit journalism outfit based in D.C., again obtained reports the White House’s coronavirus task force sends to each state’s governor every week.
Just as in July near the previous peak of the pandemic, the White House advised the state to dial it back. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA is among 50 in Texas that are listed as being in the “red zone.” States fall into that zone when they record more than 100 new infections per 100,000 residents in the prior week. Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Denton counties are all considered to be hot spots. Tarrant and Dallas trailed only El Paso County for the most new cases over the last three weeks.
The verbiage in the report is strong: “The silent community spread that precedes and continues to drive these surges can only be identified and interrupted through proactive, focused testing for both the identification of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals. This must be combined with significant behavior change of all Americans.”
“Stop going into restaurants, certainly stop going to any bar, bar-slash-restaurant-turned-bar, sure as heck stop gathering for those family gatherings,” said Dr. Mark Casanova, the president of the Dallas County Medical Society. “I think that’s where we’ve had our knees taken out from under us is those family gatherings and friend gatherings. Enough of those people do that on enough of a scale and you see exactly what we’re seeing in viral transmission.”
At Tuesday’s Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting, County Judge Clay Jenkins said that Parkland Hospital is seeing a surprising increase in asymptomatic positivity among patients seeking care for non-COVID related procedures. About 12 percent of that population—one in eight—are testing positive without showing symptoms. It highlights the importance of wearing masks and avoiding crowds, which will help avoid exposure.
“The number was so high that (Parkland CEO) Fred Cerise asked them to run it again, he couldn’t believe it,” Jenkins said.Read More