State and federal officials are setting up a pop-up hospital at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas to help expand the number of hospital beds available as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to grow.
During a news conference Sunday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the site would include 250 beds, with capacity to expand. The Texas Military Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are looking for other sites across the state to serve as pop-up hospitals in the event that hospital capacities are exhausted, he said.
"While hospitals remain the primary location to treat and care for those in need, we are ensuring that Texas is prepared for any possible scenario in which current hospital capacity is exhausted," Abbott said. "This joint initiative with the Texas Military Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will expand the care capacity in communities across Texas."
Also during the press conference, Abbott announced an executive order mandating a 14-day quarantine for travelers coming into Texas by road or air from Louisiana, as well as air travelers from Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit or Miami, as well as anywhere in California or Washington state. That order follows a previous order requiring a two-week self-quarantine for travelers arriving by air from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or New Orleans.
A separate order, also announced Sunday, bars counties from releasing any county jail inmates who are accused of, or have a history of, offenses that involve physical violence or the threats of physical violence. Last week, a group of activists demanded that inmates be released from the Dallas County jail after several inmates tested positive for COVID-19.
On Sunday, Dallas County health officials reported there were 488 cases of COVID-19 in the county. The county also reported its 10th coronavirus-related death, a woman in her 80s who lived at a long-term care facility.
Sunday evening, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced that several nursing homes in the county had confirmed clusters of COVID-19. Jenkins stopped all visits to nursing homes and other senior-care facilities immediately, in addition to banning part-time workers from working at more than one home.
End-of-life visits are still allowed under Jenkins' order.
In addition to the new restrictions on nursing homes, the judge also placed new regulations on ongoing construction during the pandemic. Workers are required to take their temperatures at home before leaving for work. If they have a fever, they are required to stay home. Workers' temperatures are also to be checked by their supervisors when they get to work. If they have a fever, they are expected to be sent home.
Construction workers can no longer gather during their meal breaks, share a water cooler or change shifts, thereby avoiding creating additional vectors for the virus.
Dallas didn't adopt any new citywide regulations over the weekend, but it did threaten to shut down its parks and trails if residents continue to create dangerous situations by failing to maintain social distance. Some of the city's more popular parks, like White Rock Lake, have been packed since Jenkins and Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announced their shelter-in-place orders.
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