Dallas County reported 416 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, far exceeding the county's previous single-day record.
That report marks the first time the county has reported more than 400 new cases of the novel coronavirus infections in a single day. The county's previous single-day record was 345 new cases, set Saturday.
The county also reported nine coronavirus-related deaths Wednesday. Those nine ranged in age from a man in his 40s to a woman in her 90s. The county medical examiner's office is also investigating the death of a 12-year-old, which may be related to the virus, officials said.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the county's rising hospitalization rate is of particular concern. The hospitalization rate has climbed by 40% over the past two weeks.
"If these percentage increases continue, many more people will get sick and die in the coming weeks," Jenkins said.
Jenkins said he was pleased Gov. Greg Abbott agreed to allow counties to enact certain mask requirements. Abbott, who has feuded with local officials over mask requirements, gave his blessing Wednesday to a Bexar County order requiring businesses to require staff and customers to wear masks while they're on the premises.
"Once enacted in Dallas County and in other local jurisdictions, this will save countless lives," Jenkins said. "In the meantime, it's up to all of us to focus on what is safe for ourselves, our family, and our community."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.