Coronavirus

Dallas County Debuts Color-Coded Coronavirus Threat-Level System

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins wants you to stay home, no mater what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins wants you to stay home, no mater what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says. Mikel Galicia
As if things weren't bad enough, get ready to have some intense Global War on Terror flashbacks.

Monday afternoon, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins unveiled the county's new, color-coded COVID-19 threat level chart. It's a look, and a format, that should be familiar to anyone who remembers the days and years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The idea with the chart, made with the help of regional public health experts, is to help people know what is, and what isn't, safe to do, given the current risk posed to North Texas by the novel coronavirus at the state continues to allow businesses to reopen.

For now, the judge said, the county remains at coronavirus threat-level purple — or maybe it's fuchsia — which means that residents should continue to stay home as much as possible. Dallas County, according to Jenkins, will lower its threat level to red or "extreme caution" once it's met the CDC's recommendations of declining COVID-19 cases in need of intensive care.

"People can disregard this and go do the opposite of what the doctors tell them to do." — Clay Jenkins

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Further moves on the chart will be based on the county continuing to limit the spread of the virus. As the county moves from purple to red, Jenkins said, it might become more reasonable to dine out at a restaurant that is taking appropriate precautions against the virus.

As things stand, Dallas County residents should limit their shopping trips to once-a-week jaunts for necessities.

Traveling or taking a vacation shouldn't be considered until the county jumps down at least two levels, to orange, or "proceed carefully," Jenkins said.

"It's not some elected official's opinion as to what you should do," Jenkins said. "It's your decision. This is a guidance. These are recommendations from doctors, these aren't orders. People can disregard this and go do the opposite of what the doctors would tell them that they (should) do."
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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