Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued an amended order prohibiting community gatherings, public or private, or 50 or more people, which was previously 500 or less. It’s also been ordered that restaurants with or without drive-in or drive-through services and microbreweries, micro-distilleries, or wineries may only provide take out, delivery or drive-thru services. Bars, lounges, taverns, or arcades and private clubs are to be closed.

Additionally, the Dallas County Judge’s Offices and Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services (Health Authority) are still urging organizations that serve high-risk populations to cancel all gatherings until further notice. People are also urged not to attend non-essential gatherings during the duration of this order in effort to help slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

These recommendations are based on social distancing practices as suggested by the Dallas County Judge’s Office and the Health Authority.

For clarity purposes, a “community gathering” does not include the following so long as visitors are generally not within six feet of one another for an extended period: spaces where 50 or more individuals may be in transit or waiting for transit such as airports, bus stations or terminals, office space, schools, or residential buildings , grocery stores, shopping malls, or other retail establishments, not including restaurants with and without drive-in or drive-thru services, microbreweries, micro-distilleries or wineries, bars, lounges, or taverns, and private clubs, where large numbers of people are present but it is unusual for them to be within six feet of one another for extended periods; and hospitals and medical facilities. In all such settings, the Office of the Dallas County Judge and the Health Authority recommends following the social distancing recommendations, and personal hygiene measures such as hand sanitizer and tissues should be provided when possible.

“I know these are uncertain times for our community but there is some good news, today (March 16), we open drive-thru testing for first responders, health workers and Parkland patients at a facility at Parkland,” Jenkins said. “In the coming days we will open two large testing facilities, one in Grand Prairie at the former Verizon Theater and one at the American Airlines Center in a parking garage that will allow for drive-thru.”

Jenkins said once opened, these facilities will allow testing of up to 5,000 people a week.

 The judge also noted that the first two COVID-19 patients in Dallas County went home “well,” and getting the virus does not necessarily lead to “long term impairment or death in every person.”

As of Monday, the number of Dallas County residents who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 is 15.

Original story:

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Thursday said the COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, is now a "community spread" and enacted an emergency order that prohibits community gatherings of 500 people or more in the county beginning 11 a.m. Friday and extending until 11 a.m. March 20.

This is in response to five more presumptive positive cases of coronavirus being reported in the county.

Jenkins also filed a declaration of local disaster for public health emergency.

Jenkins said the five cases are in addition to the three presumptive cases that were previously announced.

He said four of the individuals live in the city of Dallas, and one lives in Balch Springs.

He said the cases involve a woman in her 70s, a man in his 40s, a man in his 50s, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 60s.

Jenkins said one of the patients had no travel history, domestic or international.

“This indicates that we have community spread of COVID-19 in Dallas County,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said two of the five are hospitalized, and three are quarantined at home.

Jenkins said he, county officials and health officials encourage following social distancing protocols such as avoiding, canceling or rescheduling gatherings of 250 people or more. They also encourage people considered high risk to avoid, cancel or reschedule events that will have 10 or more people.

Also Thursday a presumptive case of coronavirus has been reported in McKinney. The patient is not believed to be related to the three Frisco residents who have confirmed cases.

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