In the past week, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Dallas and Tarrant counties continues to rise and hit daily records. And hospitalizations follow the same trend.
Leaders from both counties say they have been warning this for a long time and in an exclusive interview with NBC 5, they shared their concerns.
Both Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley say they are genuinely concerned about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
“Please do what you know you shouldn’t do. Avoid those crowds, avoid meetings. Celebrate in a special way, but celebrate with the people you live with, “Jenkins said.
He said doctors have told him that we could see 2,400 cases a day or more in Dallas County by the end of the month and stressed that now is the time for people to try to reverse this rebound.
“It’s very frustrating. We need to listen to doctors, follow science, and do what people, who have trained their entire adult lives to advise us on infectious diseases, epidemiology, public health, tell us to do. It is very predictable. Every time we get away from following the science and we see a spike, UT Southwestern predicted this every time it happened, “Jenkins said.
He explained that being proactive starts with avoiding home gatherings this holiday season because experts say that is where most infections are occurring right now.
“It really depends on each one of us. If you are having a gathering at your home, if you plan to gather a lot of people for Thanksgiving, then you should not. Doctors are very clear. So just for a little while longer, we need to stop being together outside of our home and outside of our safe work spaces. The vaccine is yet to come, but we have to wait a little longer. “
Last week, the Dallas County Public Health Committee, which is made up of nine other physicians and public health authorities in North Texas, sent Jenkins a letter with “drastic steps” and recommendations on ways to reduce the spread. . The committee said it should be “immediate.”
Jenkins said he cannot implement any of the doctors’ suggestions unless Gov. Greg Abbott changes his COVID-19 order. That order only allows restrictions if the number of hospital patients with COVID-19 reaches 15% during a week.
The judges said their plan for now is to educate the public to the best of their ability.
“We rely on the governor to give us the tools so that we can work with our medical community to stem the tide, but until he does, we all need to make good decisions,” Jenkins said.
Whitley said he shares the same concerns. You are also encouraging large families to avoid getting together during the holidays.
The family recounted having lived a real nightmare after losing their mother and implored that no other family go through the same pain they are experiencing.
He said he and Jenkins are in a group text message with other judges from major Texas counties so they can send constant updates to each other. They also participate in weekly calls with local city administrators and hospital CEOs.
“I think locally we’ve always worked together because whether it’s COVID or any other really big issue, county borders are not respected,” he said. We do our best to try to overcome them. We cannot worry about the politics of a problem, we have to worry about solving what it is creating. And I think that’s the way we’ve always worked together. “
Whitley also said she was concerned that the courts would reject stay-at-home orders in El Paso, Texas, despite the city experiencing one of the worst waves of COVID-19 in the country.
He noted that it is a sign that the state will not implement anything that may contradict the governor’s orders, so it is up to local leaders and the community to work together to stop the spread.
“I think we all have to be part of the same team. We have to stop trying to make this a political issue and we have to understand that we have to wear the masks. But we have to do social distancing, we have to stay home as much as possible. possible, “said Whitley
Advances in its production predict a prompt distribution.