DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With Covid-19 cases trending up in North Texas, health officials are urging the community to continue to take precautions.
“It’s definitely of great concern,” says Dr. Phil Huang, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services. “People practicing the prevention messages: washing hands, physical distancing, wearing cloth facial coverings, teleworking, trying to keep that distance. It’s important.”
While many people have grown weary with shelter-in-place restrictions, health experts insist they work.
“The sacrifices everyone made, made a huge difference. We truly flattened the curve,” says Dr. Huang. “We did not see what was being seen in New York and other countries, it made a huge difference and people are alive who would not be alive had we not done that.”
And yet, new numbers show that reopening the economy has come at a cost. The health impact of recent protests where thousands of people have come in close contact, some with masks, but many without, will not be seen for weeks.
“The virus hasn’t gone away,” says Dr. Jonathan Reiner, Professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences. “It’s not like we’re looking for the second wave. The first wave isn’t gone.”
In fact, at least 14 states have seen a rise in Covid-19 patients hospitalized since Memorial Day.
In Texas, the number of hospitalizations jumped 42%.
“We’re very concerned from this point of view, anytime numbers go up,” says Stephen Love, President & CEO of the DFW Hospital Council. “But I am pleased to tell you that today, we are actually a few patients less than yesterday. Now, is that a trend? We don’t know. Are we ready to start another surge? We certainly hope not, but I think at this point, it’s a little early to predict.”
According to Love, area hospitals still have the capacity to treat more Covid-19 patients, even while hoping that they won’t have to.
“We can’t let our guard down,” says Love. “We’ve got to continue good health habits.”
Dr. Huang agrees.
“Just because it’s sunny outside, we think ‘hey, it looks like it used to look’ we still can’t forget that it’s still out there and we still need to be vigilant.”