“This means if you are vaccinated and boosted and you don't have an extenuating circumstance ... you can resume all activities,” Jenkins said. “Going to the concert, going to the restaurant, going to whatever the event is is considered to be low risk for fully vaccinated and boosted up to date ... individuals.”
This shift in policy is a result of the low number of new COVID cases over the last few weeks, according to Dr. Phillip Huang, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.
“When we look at the number of confirmed patients [with COVID], they're at some of the lowest levels that we've seen since the beginning of the pandemic,” Huang said.
Huang said Dallas County has reached a seven-day trailing average of about 68 patients, which is the lowest since the county started tracking cases. In comparison, Dallas County previously reported a four-day total of 9,381 new cases of coronavirus on Jan. 19 after a spike caused by the omicron variant.
To date, about 3.8 million doses of COVID vaccine have been distributed in Dallas County, with over 1.8 million residents having at least one shot and 583,708 people having been administered both regular shots and a booster, Huang said.
With Dallas County having a population over 2.6 million, Huang encouraged unvaccinated residents to get a shot or booster shot in order to maintain protection from the virus.
“We're very happy that the numbers are looking better, but it's a cautionary step,” Huang said. “If we're getting further away from when these people got their first doses and got boosted, we know that the protection from the vaccine starts to diminish and go down, so we're getting further diminished protection.”
Residents in Dallas County can find a location offering vaccinations by calling 1-800-232-0233, texting their ZIP code to 438829 or by visiting www.covid.gov or www.vaccine.gov.
Jenkins said even though the risk level has been reduced, it's still important for residents to continue to take precautionary measures that have proven effective throughout the pandemic, including washing their hands, keeping their distance and wearing a mask when in crowded settings.
County officials’ recommendations include trying to limit large crowds indoors and instead attending outdoor concerts and using patio space if possible.