DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas County leads the state of Texas in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. As local municipalities battle against the pandemic, the City of Dallas is enacting a new set of emergency regulations requiring hospitals to give leaders daily reports regarding ventilator and hospital bed capacity.
Officials say the new requirements are to help assess the needs of the medical community and prepare for more patients possibly being hospitalized in related to COVID-19’s spread.
“Transparency and facts are key to slowing the spread of this virus,” Mayor Eric Johnson said during a morning press conference. “With the data that hospitals will be providing, pursuant to these new orders, we can effectively manage our resources in the event in a surge in hospitalizations.”
The mayor has also updated the City’s emergency regulations to match recent orders from the county — including new orders regarding admissions and reporting of positive COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities and on-site health monitoring of construction crews involved with public works, commercial, residential and school construction projects.
The new regulations also suspend all board and commission meetings through April 29. There are groups — including the Parks Board and City Planning Commission — that must meet to stay in compliance with state or federal law, but they must now do so via phone or video conference.
On the topic of Parks and Recreation Mayor Johnson also addressed the problem of social distancing when in the outdoors.
“I know you might have heard that the City was considering closing down parks and trails if people aren’t going to abide by our physical distancing practices that we’ve outlined in our previous orders,” he said. “This was a particular concern at White Rock Lake and Katy Trail over this past weekend. I would rather not shutdown, completely, our open-air amenities while we’re telling people to remain at home most of the day. Not everyone in this city has a backyard to go out into.”
While Mayor Johnson said there are a number of park rangers, code enforcers, and code officers working at parks and along city trails he asked the public to help by simply complying with the coronavirus prevention requirements. “I’m asking our residents to please keep your distance and to help us keep the public safe.”
As it stands, Johnson said the Dallas Transportation Director is accessing whether it might be feasible to close sections of city streets in densely populated areas. He said, “The idea there being, it would allow pedestrians to us those areas and help us relieve foot traffic on our trails.”