Koch and Jenkins clash over Dallas County COVID-19 response as cases continue to fall
Koch and Jenkins clash over Dallas County COVID-19 response as cases continue to fall

Koch and Jenkins clash over Dallas County COVID-19 response as cases continue to fall

Koch, the lone Republican at the commissioner’s court, questioned the continuation of Jenkins’ mask mandate for county buildings and public schools at Tuesday’s commissioner court hearing. It was issued August last year.

“I think the public needs a greater degree of transparency in when this thing ends and how we should deal with things in the endemic phase,” Koch said.

Jenkins reiterated his decision to follow the verdict of local hospital leaders sitting on an advisory committee.

“It falls to me as the emergency director to make certain decisions,” he told Koch. ‘I choose not to use politics and stick my thumb in the air to see which way the wind blows to make those decisions. You disagree with that, which is your right. “

There is no penalty for not following the county’s mask mandate.

Back and forth came as COVID-19 measurements show a decrease in omicron cases and deaths. That 7-day case average in Dallas County has fallen over 700 cases from the previous week, and the death rate has fallen sharply since early January.

But Dr. Philip Huang, the county’s health director, said that although there is a downward trend, case numbers are still serious enough to keep the county’s transmission level at the high-risk “red” level so far.

“We will meet again later this week and will definitely review the possibility of going to orange,” Huang said.

During Huang’s presentation, Koch noted that states such as New York and Rhode Island have repealed indoor mask mandates despite higher case numbers per per capita than Dallas County. New York’s mask mandate is still in place in schools and public transport, and Rhode Island’s school mask mandate ends March 4th.

“When do we lose our credibility?” he asked Huang. Koch later referred to one revealed paper to question the effectiveness of the masks, while acknowledging the criticism of the study.

Huang noted the director of the CDC still recommend masking inside public places, despite optimism about declining cases.

“Historically, what we’ve seen is when the numbers start to drop, everyone just relaxes and things go back to normal, and then something happens and the numbers start to rise again,” Huang said.

Do you have a tip? Send an email to Bret Jaspers at [email protected]. You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

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