As officials continue to monitor the state of the COVID-19 pandemic and school season creeps around the corner, there is much to keep up with. Here are today’s bullet points:
- Dallas County reports 537 additional COVID-19 cases and 6 additional deaths;
- Extended flexibilities for medicaid, CHIP providers during COVID-19 response;
- Extension of emergency SNAP benefits for the month of August;
- TEA will offer free learning management system to Texas schools for two years;
- Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church hosts giving initiative.
Dallas County Reports 537 Additional COVID-19 Cases; 6 Additional Deaths
Dallas County Health and Human Services Thursday reported another increase in new COVID-19 cases at 537 additional positive cases, bringing the total case count in Dallas County to 49,269, as well as an additional six deaths.
The six deaths include a man in his 50’s, a woman in her 60’s, a woman in her 70’s, a man in his 70’s and two women in their 90’s. All except one had underlying health conditions. That brings a total of 664 confirmed deaths.
Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Of the 664 confirmed deaths reported, about a third have been associated with long-term care facilities.
Since July 1, over 1,800 children under the age of 18 have been diagnosed with confirmed COVID-19. Since then, 38 children have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 and four of them admitted to intensive care units. More than two-thirds of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization have been under the age 65.
“Today our number of new cases continued on a positive trend and our number of COVID-19 hospitalizations went up slightly. We announced the death of another six Dallas County residents to this disease. I’d like to remind everyone of the importance of six foot distancing, mask wearing outside the home and limiting trips outside the home to work and absolute necessities. It’s up to all of us to get the numbers down so less people become infected, our economy gets stronger, and our kids can return to school.
If just a few of us loosen our resolve and give in to our selfish desires to do things not recommended by the doctors, we will find ourselves in a much worse position than we have been in before. There is still rampant community spread and continued vigilance on all of our part will be necessary to bring it under control. I’m proud of the response of ordinary North Texans as they continue to make good choices to protect their families and their community and honor the service of our essential workers by wearing their masks when going into businesses. I’d like to remind everyone that while doctors do not recommend in-person dining, I am requesting that those who are able to, order take-out and delivery from your favorite neighborhood restaurants. They and their employees need your help. If we want our restaurants to survive the COVID-19 economic downturn, then we need to frequent them for take-out and delivery,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson shared Thursday bed and ventilator capacity statistics as reported by 25 hospitals in Dallas. Of 5,973 total beds, 4,185 (70%) were occupied, of 957 total ICU beds, 688 (72%) were occupied, and of 1,001 total ventilators, 396 (40%) were in use.
Extended Flexibilities For Medicaid, CHIP Providers During COVID-19 Response
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is extending flexibilities to Medicaid and CHIP recipients and providers through October 23rd, 2020. These flexibilities will minimize face-to-face interactions and ensure continuity of care for clients during the COVID-19 response.
“The State of Texas is working to ensure continuity of care for CHIP and Medicaid recipients as we respond to COVID-19,” said Abbott. “The flexibilities the state is providing will protect access to important care and resources that many Texans rely on for their health and safety.”
Services are being provided to clients using telemedicine and telehealth including medical, behavioral health, case management, professional and specialized therapy services, and certain components of Texas Health Steps medical check-ups.
“To protect their health and safety, it’s critical we ensure Medicaid and CHIP clients continue to have access to the services they need in the most effective and safe manner during the COVID-19 public health emergency,” said State Medicaid Director Stephanie Stephens.
More information on Medicaid and CHIP flexibilities can be found here. Texans in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP and Medicaid, at YourTexasBenefits.com or use the Your Texas Benefits mobile app to manage their benefits.
Extension Of Emergency SNAP Benefits For The Month Of August
In addition to Thursday’s announcement of extending flexibilities to Medicaid and CHIP recipients, Abbott announced that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will provide approximately $185 million in emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits for the month of August.
HHSC received federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend the maximum, allowable amount of SNAP benefits to recipients based on family size. The emergency August allotments are in addition to the $835 million in benefits previously provided to Texans between April and July.
“By extending this emergency SNAP funding, the State of Texas is helping to ensure families can continue to put food on the table,” said Abbott. “I remain grateful to our partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their ongoing support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The additional SNAP benefits will help Texans purchase foods that provide nutrition to their families,” said Texas HHS Access and Eligibility Services Deputy Executive Commissioner Wayne Salter. “Continuing these allotments is an important component of our continued response to COVID-19.”
More than 961,000 SNAP households will see the additional amount on their Lone Star Card by August 15. Texans in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP and Medicaid, at YourTexasBenefits.com or use the Your Texas Benefits mobile app to manage their benefits.
TEA Will Offer Free Learning Management System to Texas Schools for Two Years
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) launched Texas Home Learning 3.0 (THL 3.0), a comprehensive initiative to support school systems, teachers, parents, and students during the public health crisis and beyond. With high-quality instructional materials, technology solutions, and professional development resources, this new offering will save school systems up to $40M, and reduce total taxpayer cost up to $22M.
As part of THL 3.0, TEA announced that it will offer all Texas school systems a world-class Learning Management System (LMS) from PowerSchool’s Schoology for two years at no cost. Like other THL 3.0 offerings, the use of Schoology LMS will be optional for Texas school systems.
“Texas schools are working mightily to meet the educational needs of millions of kids who will participate in school remotely given the public health situation. TEA is working to provide as much support to school systems as possible, including fully funding schools for remote instruction and providing schools with free, high-end teaching technology so that the remote education experience is effective for our students,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “This Learning Management System allows teachers to seamlessly communicate with their students and helps their students stay focused on their lessons while learning from home and will go a long way toward ensuring Texas students continue making major academic gains even during the pandemic.”
For more information on Texas Home Learning 3.0, click here.
For more information on how to sign up for PowerSchool’s Schoology Learning Management System, click here.
Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church Hosts Giving Initiative
Through the month of August, Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church will be hosting a giving initiative. The church currently has two generous donors who are matching gifts up to $100,000. This money will then go toward helping people through the COVID pandemic.
All gifts will be given directly to three ministry partners, Cornerstone Baptist Church, the Joy Empowerment Center of Abundant Life AME Church and Literacy Achieves. By giving, you are helping those affected by COVID-19 by offering rent and utility relief, food assistance and more.
You can give at www.phpc.org/give
More information visit: https://www.phpc.org/loavesandfishes/