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Important Updates about COVID-19 from Dallas Mayor, Eric Johnson

Dear City of Dallas Partner:

Below and attached are some important updates regarding COVID-19 and the City of Dallas’ response and actions taken to slow the spread.

The updates include:

  • Information on the number of cases currently in Dallas County;
  • Information about the closure of all City of Dallas libraries, neighborhood cultural centers, recreation centers and community centers (press release);
  • Information about Atmos suspending natural gas disconnections during this time (attached);
  • Information about the proclamation I issued declaring a local state of disaster in the City of Dallas that included directives to the city manager to restrict gatherings within the city limits to no more than 500 people and to require that all public, private, and commercial labs report the number of COVID-19 tests conducted on a daily basis to the City (press release and copy of the proclamation; newsletter explaining why I took this important step);
  • Information on the order the city manager released yesterday with these directives (press release; official order attached); and
  • Information about actions members of the public can take NOW to slow the spread of COVID-19 and some frequently asked questions about the virus (attached).

To keep the public informed and ensure that we are doing everything in our power to slow the spread of COVID-19, I have called a special meeting of the Dallas City Council for next Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Various local governmental entities, including the City of Dallas, will share updates on COVID-19 response and preparations. The meeting agenda can be found here. The meeting will be live-streamed here. We are encouraging members of the public to tune in online from home.

I consider you an important partner to the City of Dallas, and I hope you will share these updates with members of your community as we handle this challenge collectively.

Please look out for more updates very soon. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, reach out to my office at (214) 670-3301.

Best regards,

      Eric Johnson
  Mayor  City of Dallas   1500 Marilla Street, 5EN Dallas, TX 75201
  O:  214-670-3301
  eric.johnson@dallascityhall.com       

**OPEN RECORDS NOTICE: This email and responses may be subject to the Texas Open Records Act and may be disclosed to the public upon request.  Please respond accordingly.**


Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council,

The following is an update on the City’s planning and preparedness efforts regarding the novel (new) coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, as of March 14, 2020. The expectation is that we will see an increase in positive cases over the next several days as testing becomes more widely available in hospitals, county and private labs.

“Presumptive positive” cases of COVID-19

  • 11 cases in Dallas County – the two most recent cases are related to international and cruise travel
  • 6 in Collin County
  • 0 in Denton County
  • 0 in Kaufman County
  • 0 in Rockwall County

Lab Reports
As of 5:20 p.m. the City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management has received a report from one lab:

  • Seven COVID-19 tests, all seven were negative

Financial Assistance

  • For Dallas Water Utilities customers that have been financially impacted due to COVID-19, a 30-day hold will be put on their account without service interruption.
  • Atmos Energy has a program, “Sharing the Warmth” to aid customers who are being financially impacted by COVID-19. To apply for the program, customers should visit https://www.atmosenergy.com/customer-service/get-help-paying-your-bill

City Operations

  • The City continues to work with contingency plans with all Tier I departments. Tier I departments are 3-1-1, Courts and Detention Services, Dallas Animal Services, Dallas Fire-Rescue, Dallas Police Department, Dallas Water Department, Department of Public Works, Equipment and Fleet Management, Information Technology Services, Office of Procurement Services and Sanitation Services.
  • DCHHS’ Older Adult Services Program will be transitioning to a drive thru meal pick-up service for seniors starting Monday. This program serves 12 locations in the city limits, two of them are at City facilities, the West Dallas Multipurpose Center and Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center. For those who are already enrolled in the program and can’t travel, DCHHS will deliver meals to their home.
  • The Office of Homeless Solutions (OHS) is taking the following actions to provide care and support to our most vulnerable population over the next 7 days:
    • A temporary, overnight shelter is being established at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (KBHCCD). This action is being taken to add bed capacity back into the system as overnight shelters have lost beds due to social distancing precautions. The shelter will open at 5 p.m., Sunday, March 15 and continue overnight sheltering operations (5 p.m. to 7 a.m.) through Saturday, March 20. OHS will utilize this time to evaluate additional options to provide care to our residents experiencing homelessness during this period.
    • OHS is contracting with BCFS to provide shelter management and hospital grade cleaning at the KBHCCD during operations. The attached quote and scope of services details the mission taken by BCFS to support this operation. BCFS is the State of Texas’ go-to vendor for emergency sheltering after emergencies and disasters and they have experience supporting homeless populations.
    • Following the guidance of Dr. Phillip Huang, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS), the shelter will have additional space for isolation and care for any persons presenting with acute symptoms. DCHHS advises that operating shelters should provide masks, additional space and handwashing stations to persons with acute symptoms. Any severe symptoms will be referred to DFR Medics for determination on transport to hospitals.
    • OHS have established a daily status call with all overnight shelters to review previous night activities and un-met needs.
    • OHS is working with vendors to provide temporary large canopy tents to service providers. With the closure of the Libraries and Park and Recreation Facilities, those experiencing homelessness will need additional day services. To practice social distancing, many of our providers are moving services outside. Due to the continued rain, the tents will provide cover from the elements and additional space for day services.
    • Additional services at the shelter are being coordinated by OHS as follows:
      • Security: Dallas Police and City Marshals’ will provide security and background checks at the center
      • Emergency Medicine: Dallas-Fire Rescue (DFR) will stage emergency medicine at the site for any emergent situations and to provide additional care.
      • Mental Health Services: The North Texas Behavioral Health Authority will provide on-site mental health support and assessment. NTBHA will also have the ability to connect sheltered guests to additional community-based services.
      • Feeding: Atmos Energy is donating dinner Sunday and Monday night. The North Texas Food Bank and Meals on Wheels have both been engaged and will support operations by providing meals at dinner time and breakfast.
      • Additional Medical Screening and Support: The Parkland HOMES bus will provide additional medical support on site each night to sheltered guests.
  • OHS is also able to provide the following information based on questions we have received to date:
    • Reimbursement: The State of Texas has advised that all costs for emergency protective measures be captured. At this point the City has no guidance on the potential for Federal or State reimbursement. OHS will continue to work through the established process by the Office of Emergency Management in the event reimbursements are allowed for the costs incurred.
    • Assistance to Service Providers: As mentioned above, OHS will be conducting a daily status call with all partners to assess needs and develop plans to support our providers as long as necessary.
    • Reimbursements for Providers: We are still awaiting guidance on reimbursements for emergency services available to providers. We will continue to message to providers to track costs for any efforts taken above normal daily operations in the event funding or reimbursements become available.
    • Testing for Persons Experiencing Homelessness: Having the Parkland HOMES Bus on site at the KBHCCD shelter location will allow for samples and laboratory testing if it is determined necessary. Shelter network partners are also increasing capacity at their on-site clinics to collect samples and provide for testing as needed.
  • Union Gospel Mission has made a request for temporary allowance of day sheltering. OHS supports this request for the duration of the disaster declaration as this will further allow for social distancing. Traditionally, UGM busses its overnight guests to the Bridge each morning for services.
  • OEM is working Dallas Fire-Rescue (DFR) on how to implement drive through testing.
  • Amid growing fears about the spread of COVID-19, City of Dallas Water Utilities Department (DWU) would like to reassure Dallas citizens and its customers that tap water is treated and safe to drink. Conventional water treatment methods including filtration and disinfection used at all of DWU’s drinking water treatment plants, removes or inactivates bacteria and viruses. COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water. We continue to test and monitor our drinking water supplies 24/7 to ensure the highest quality water for our customers. For more information on DWU’s water quality and how it meets federal drinking water standards please visit and review our annual consumer confidence report at http://dallascityhall.com/departments/waterutilities/Pages/water_quality_reports.aspx.
  • DWU will suspend minor system repair activities through March 20, to avoid service interruption for anyone who may be spending more time at home.

Closures and cancellations

  • Starting Saturday, March 14, 2020, public access is closed to all City of Dallas libraries, neighborhood cultural centers, recreation centers and community centers including West Dallas Multipurpose Center and Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center through Friday, March 20, 2020.
  • For a list of City permitted events that have been canceled visit www.dallasspecialevents.com

Emergency Declarations

  • Dallas County declared a local state of disaster for public health emergency
  • The City of Dallas issued a proclamation declaring a local state of disaster
  • Dallas City Manger has put emergency regulations in place

Additionally, below is important information you can reiterate to your constituents.

If you believe you may be at risk of infection with COVID-19 and you develop symptoms, call ahead to a healthcare provider for additional guidance. Be sure to tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact. Your healthcare professional may work with the county public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Texas Department of State Health Services has advised if you do not have health insurance, you should contact a hospital’s emergency department. You are strongly advised to call ahead to the hospital to ensure medical staff can properly isolate any potential COVID-19 cases.

For updates and FAQs on COVID-19 visit dallascityhall.com/coronavirus

For the latest news from the City of Dallas visit dallascitynews.net

We will continue to provide you updates as frequently as necessary. Please contact me or Rocky Vaz at rocky.vaz@dallascityhall.com if you have questions or need additional information.

Thank you,

Jon Fortune


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