There've been numerous developments on the coronavirus front around Dallas including a climb in positive cases, and delays in testing.
As of June 29, Texas had 153,011 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with an estimated 50,000 of those cases emerging within the last 10 days.
Here's the latest in COVID-19 news:
New deal for drive-thru testing. The City of Dallas and Dallas County have finalized a contract with a vendor, Honu, that will make it possible to continue drive-thru COVID-19 testing past June. The American Airlines Center testing site will close after June 30. The Ellis Davis Field House location will continue federally supported testing through mid-July and will transition to vendor operations once the federal support ends. A new testing site at the University of Dallas in Irving will open July 1.
"We are moving the AAC drive-thru site to the University of Dallas on Wednesday. Dallas County Health and Human Services will supervise a private vendor with a new lab so the turnaround for results should be faster," says Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. "Faster results give you the chance to make the best decisions for your health and gives our public health experts more timely information to better advise the community."
Judge Clay letter. Witnessing a steep climb in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins sent Gov. Greg Abbott a letter on June 28 with a recommendation that Texas return to stay-at-home status and make masks mandatory across the state.
Jenkins noted that Abbott had taken away regulations that helped keep the virus in check during March and April. "We need him now to put those back into place on a regional or statewide basis and if he won’t do it then he needs to restore the power to mayors and county judges," Jenkins said.
He called his requests "fairly modest" including statewide masking; eating on restaurant patios but not dining rooms; closing businesses such as workout classes where you can't wear a mask; and limiting meetings to 10 indoors and 100 outdoors.
Testing is behind. Dallas COVID-19 testing sites are facing a backlog due to the surge in cases. There's also a discrepancy in test results: If you're an insured patient who gets tested at a private lab, you get your results in about three days. But the free federally-funded testing sites such as American Airlines Center are taking up to 10 days to produce results.
Texas bars file lawsuit. Following Gov. Greg Abbott's order closing bars, more than 30 bar owners filed a lawsuit challenging the order. Bars are filing suits in Austin, Houston, and Dallas.
Free testing for DPD. With at least 40 Dallas police officers having tested positive for the coronavirus, the Dallas Police Association is making testing available for all officers and their spouses. DPA opened its offices on Griffin Street as a testing site through 3 pm today.
Juveniles test positive. Collin County's Juvenile Probation department reports that four juveniles and three detention officers have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. All the cases were isolated in the facility’s short-term detention wing. The four juveniles are now in a separate detention wing, with individual housing units, and are being cared for by WellPath, the county's medical provider for detention operations. Staff members who were infected are isolating at home. All parents of juveniles detained in the facility have been notified.
Meal benefits extension. Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is extending the deadline for the federal Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer program (P-EBT) to July 31. P-EBT is a one-time benefit of $285 per eligible child and can be used in the same way as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits to pay for groceries. Eligible families include those with children who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) due to school closures.