DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The holiday shopping checklist may have some “must have” items attached, according to Dallas area public health officials.

“A mask, avoid crowds and keep your distance,” according to Dr. Philip Huang, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director, who oversees the public health agency in Dallas.

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As more North Texans flock to area shopping malls and retail districts, the region’s Covid-19 infection rate, along with patient hospitalization numbers are at a daily highs.

“It should be absolutely clear, we are very concerned about the level of spread going on right now,” Dr. Huang said Monday, Dec. 7.

Late last week, capacity restrictions for restaurants, retail shops, gyms and other businesses were heightened after the Covid-19 hospitalization rate for the DFW hit the 15% mark.

Restaurants must limit inside dining access to 50%. Bars were required to close.

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But local health officials say despite the new capacity limits, the current rate of infection will most likely continue, because more people are believed to be out in public settings.

“A high percentage of people have infection, so if you go to a restaurant, bar, party or family get together, you are likely around others with the infection,” Dr. Huang warned.

Dr. Huang also said Dallas County will likely see the results of Coronavirus spread tied to the Thanksgiving holiday travel period within the next week.

“We’re not saying you can’t go out, but we know what to do, and we need to do it.”

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