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Clay Jenkins lowers Dallas County COVID-19 threat level to yellow as metrics improve

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

The county judge said that the latest numbers showed that the coronavirus was creating less pressure on the county’s health care system.

Judge Clay Jenkins
Judge Clay Jenkins File photo. (Elias Valverde II / Staff Photographer)

By Nataly Keomoungkhoun

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Wednesday afternoon that the county’s public health committee had lowered its COVID-19 threat level from orange to yellow, which advises residents to “proceed carefully.”

Jenkins said that the latest metrics showed that the coronavirus was creating less pressure on the county’s health care system, including fewer cases and hospitalizations.

But Jenkins urged people to continue taking precautions against spreading the virus.


“We do want to continue to remind people to get vaccinated and boosted and to wear masks and distance so that these trends continue,” Jenkins said on Twitter. “We may not be out of the woods yet.”

On Wednesday, Dallas County reported 459 new coronavirus cases and 18 deaths from COVID-19.

The county has reported an average of 430 cases per day over the past two weeks; it reported 441 per day in the previous 14-day period. There are 133 people hospitalized with the coronavirus in the county.

A total of 573,944 cases have been reported in Dallas County, including 472,799 confirmed and 101,145 probable. The death toll is 6,117.

Dallas County’s public health committee is a group of hospital leaders and other public health officials who informally advise Jenkins on health-related matters. The county introduced its color-coded threat level early during the pandemic as a public information tool to inform residents about the virus’ spread.


But some critics — including J.J. Koch, the only Republican on the county’s Commissioners Court — have said the threat levels are vague and that the public health committee isn’t transparent.

“We’ve got this body that meets in secret,” Koch said. “I don’t question their competency, I question their transparency.”

The county lowered the threat level from red to orange in late February following a surge in cases late last year caused by the omicron variant.

While there has been a recent decrease in COVID-19 cases, Jenkins said influenza cases and hospitalizations have increased.

Internationally, coronavirus case numbers are spiking in Europe and Asia, led by omicron subvariant BA.2. Texas health experts say there’s little concern the BA.2 variant will lead to a dangerous spike in the state.


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