DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising in North Texas, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson urged people against large gatherings with family and friends on Thanksgiving.

“Take this virus seriously. This virus kills people and it does not care how noble the purpose is that you’re gathering for,” Mayor Johnson said. “Stop gathering.”

Health officials have said the death rate for the coronavirus has dropped as doctors learn more how to treat patients and with more therapeutic drugs being introduced.

But the virus has already claimed the lives of nearly 20,000 Texans, including a Dallas police officer during the past week.

Mayor Johnson said, “I was heartbroken this week to see the virus too, the life of one of our police officers, Sgt. Bronco McCoy.”

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson (CBS 11)

The Mayor said he will be sharing his concerns with Governor Greg Abbott, who last week ruled out any more lockdowns.

Under the Governor’s previous executive order, openings are scaled back when a region reaches a certain threshold.

That happens during a period of high hospitalizations, when its total hospital capacity has more than 15% Covid-19 patients for seven days in a row.

The region is at about 14% now, with more than 2,200 people being treated for the virus in North Texas hospitals.

Mayor Johnson said, “If we have cases skyrocket in our community and the volume gets to be such, getting the disease and us knowing how to treat it does nothing to help you if our hospitals are packed and there’s no place to put you.”

He said that’s why despite Covid fatigue, people must keep wearing masks properly, social-distancing, and frequently washing their hands or using hand sanitizer.

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