DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang told County Commissioners Tuesday morning, it’s too early to do away with all COVID-19 restrictions.

“Just because there’s some relaxation (of policies) at the state level, that is not what our experts recommend,” Dr. Huang said before Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement it’s “time to reopen Texas 100%”

“It’s still too early,” Dr. Huang said. “We would love to be able to get back to normal, but with all the variables that are out there, we still have a lot more people that need to be vaccinated. It’s not the time to relax.”

New COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates have been trending down in North Texas and much of the state in recent weeks.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted his displeasure with Gov. Abbott’s announcement, saying, “…On the day 25 new deaths raise @dallascountytx death toll above 3k, @GovAbbott lifted all his state orders designed to protect you and those you care about from #COVID19. You should focus on what doctors, facts and science say is safe; not on what Gov. says is legal!”

The President and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, Stephen Love said in a statement:

“Governor’s Abbotts decision to remove the mask mandate in Texas is very unfortunate and could increase community spread of COVID-19 and potentially cause mutations called variants. Face masks ( worn properly ) can block respiratory droplets of COVID-19 produced when an infected person coughs. Face masks help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection in pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic people who do not realize they have the infection. Masks help protect your fellow Texans by tamping down the community spread of the virus. Wearing masks can help the economy recover by slowing the spread of the infection in business places like restaurants and bars. Through our efforts to wear masks, physical distance and wash hands we have decreased the infection rate, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in North Texas over the past 5-6 weeks. Let’s not reverse that trend because the COVID-19 virus with variants are still here and we have not achieved herd immunity.

While we respect Governor Abbott and realize he has faced enormous challenges with the COVID-19 virus and the recent winter weather issues, we strongly disagree with removing the mandatory mask requirements because the community spread increases will once again cause our exhausted healthcare heroes to diagnose, treat and save the lives of newly infected patients. If the community spread increases, the risk of mutations also increases creating an additional set of challenges. If you truly want to honor our healthcare heroes—WEAR A MASK! We hope Governor Abbott will please reconsider this decision.“

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson issued the following statement on Gov. Abbott’s annoucement:

“The people of Dallas should continue to mask up and take precautions to slow COVID-19’s spread and mutations. We are getting closer to achieving herd immunity, and now is not the time to let down our guard. Vaccines, masks, and social distancing are the best tools we have for fighting this virus, which has claimed far too many lives in the last year.”

CBSDFW.com Staff