These weekly updates will provide the latest news and information on what our community, the state, and the federal government are doing as we face an unprecedented pandemic.
Statewide Face Covering Requirement
On July 2, 2020, Governor Abbott announced a statewide face covering requirement for residents and visitors. All individuals over the age of 10 are required to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a building or indoor space open to the public or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household. Some exceptions apply, such as to those with a medical condition or disability or when consuming food or drink. The full order can be read here.
Staying Safe on July 4th
As the 4th of July quickly approaches, COVID-19 cases in Texas are increasing rapidly. It is vital that all Texans take precautions and continue social distancing to keep themselves and their communities safe. The CDC recommends staying at home and celebrating from a distance. There are many ways to celebrate from home, such as video calls with family and friends, takeout and delivery options from restaurants, barbecuing at home, and more. If you do choose to go out in public to celebrate, maintain a distance of six feet from people not in your party, wear a mask, and wash your hands regularly. Many cities prohibit the use of fireworks and firing firearms; check with your city for restrictions before celebrating.
State-Run COVID-19 Mobile Testing Sites
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in partnership with the Texas Military Department, is continuing to run COVID-19 testing locations across the state. They are also distributing four 3-ply surgical masks to every Texan who undergoes COVID-19 testing at state-run mobile test collection sites. Texans can find a testing site near them by visiting the COVID-19 Test Collection Site map.
Additional Federal Funding for Texas Hospitals
Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) today announced that $2.67 billion in federal funding has been approved to support Texas hospitals that provide care for people receiving Medicaid. The Uniform Hospital Rate Increase Program (UHRIP) is a statewide program that provides increased Medicaid payments to hospitals for inpatient and outpatient services provided to persons with Medicaid. The program aims to reduce the Medicaid shortfall for hospitals that serve people who receive Medicaid.
Local Utility Bill Payment Assistance Programs
The Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) provides utility bill payment assistance (electric, natural gas or propane) for low income (150% of federal poverty guidelines) households or families affected by COVID-19. If you need assistance paying utility bills due to COVID-19, call the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services at 214-819-1848 or visit the 2-1-1 Texas website.
COVID-19 Pandemic Food Benefits For Families Deadline Extension
Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is extending the application deadline for the federal Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer program (P-EBT) to July 31. Extending the deadline will help ensure eligible families have time to apply for this one-time food benefit. Visit hhs.texas.gov/pebt to learn more about P-EBT. For questions regarding eligibility or to learn more, people may also contact the P-EBT Call Center at 833-613-6220, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Standard Time. When applying, it is especially important to include a valid phone number on their application.
Dallas County Elections Health Protocols for Voters
Early voting for the July 14th, 2020 election is currently happening. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that you remain protected while voting. Dallas County poll locations will be equipped with sanitation stations, sanitized stylus for voting, and social distancing measures and markers. Dallas County will also provide curbside voting options for those exhibiting COVID symptoms or that are unable to enter polling locations. More information about voting options and safety precautions can be found here.