Statement from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins
Normally warnings about New Year’s Eve celebrations would revolve around not driving under the influence and using caution with fireworks. However, this year add the danger of COVID-19 to the equation. With area hospitals straining, and ICU availability low, Dallas County Judge Jenkins urges residents to celebrate the New Year safely.
“As we approach the New Year’s holiday, I ask all Dallas County residents to please reconsider their plans if they involve spending time with individuals outside their household. While this is traditionally a joyous time when we gather with our friends and families to celebrate and usher in the New Year, we are in a very dangerous situation with COVID-19 in our county and region.
This past week has brought record high hospitalizations across Dallas County and the region. We have limited ICU bed availability for a county of 2.7 million residents, and these beds are not solely for COVID patients, but other acute illness, traumas, and acute surgery recovery. UT Southwestern projects a 20 percent increase in hospitalizations by January 5 and our hospital and public health officials are extremely concerned about additional increases following the holidays. Hospitals are our last line of defense and they are being stretched. Our healthcare heroes need your help.
Please take personal responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19 by following public health guidance and avoiding indoor New Year’s Eve celebrations such as at bars, clubs or restaurants. These are particularly high-risk settings. The safest way to celebrate is at home with your household. You may not feel your personal risk from COVID-19 is high, but given the high possibility of exposure in a bar or party setting, including house parties with people you don’t live with, you pose a risk to those around you if you can’t properly quarantine following potential exposure. Your actions could have potentially fatal implications if you contribute to the spread of COVID.
Attached is additional information on the risk of COVID-19 in a restaurant or bar setting from the Public Health Committee and you can find the full list of recommendations from local public health experts at https://www.dallascounty.org/covid-19/ by downloading Dallas County COVID-19 Health Guidance for the Public.”
CDC states restaurants and bars pose a higher risk due to enclosed spaces. From the CDC:
COVID-19 is mostly spread when people are physically near (within 6 feet) a person with COVID-19 or have direct contact with that person. When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe, they produce respiratory droplets. Infections occur mainly through exposure to respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away. This is called airborne transmission. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Available data indicate that it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has COVID-19 than through airborne transmission.