The Latest Dallas judge says masks required in courthouses
DALLAS — An administrative court judge has ordered that anyone entering a Dallas County courthouse should be wearing a disguise to be admitted.
The order Friday by Administrative District Judge Marcela Moore requires masks to be worn in the most popular aspects of the George Allen Courthouse, which houses the county’s civil courts; the Frank Crowley Courthouse, which houses its criminal courts; and the Henry Wade Building, which houses its juvenile courts. Those refusing could be barred from entering the buildings.
Gov. Greg Abbott repeated his order banning any mask mandates by any state, county, or local government entity. However, it cites as its authority a Texas Supreme Court order “that confirms the judiciary’s authority to take reasonable actions to avoid exposing court proceedings and participants to the threat of COVID-19.”
Also cited is an opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office upholding broad judicial authority to manage orderly court proceedings.
The order is effective starting Monday. A note to Abbott’s office seeking comment was not immediately returned.
The order came as COVID-19 was on a renewed rampage across their state, fueled by the highly contagious delta variant. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 15,893 new cases Friday, the absolute most since Feb. 3. Of these, 726 new points originated from Dallas County. Over the past fourteen days, the rolling average of daily new cases has risen by 183% to 5,100.
By Thursday, the most recent day reported by state health officials, 5,846 everyone was in Texas hospitals with COVID-19, the absolute most since Feb. 26. Fifty-seven new COVID-19 deaths were reported Friday, five of these in Dallas County.
Texas had almost 44% of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday, in line with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s well below the national average of 57.2%.
HONOLULU — Hawaii officials announced 622 new COVID-19 cases, the most significant number of confirmed infections because of the pandemic’s start.
The total included cases from lab reporting delays from days gone by three days, officials said. Still, the quantity continues to be a substantial spike for their state of about 1.4 million people. The seven-day positivity rate has become 5.1%, and officials said the average daily case count within the last three days had become over 300.
Previously, the record-high total for confirmed cases in one day was 355 set in August 2020.
Officials said the surge is related to the highly contagious delta variant. Just over 60% of Hawaii residents are fully vaccinated.
ATLANTA — Local officials in Georgia are scrambling to improve vaccination rates while more schools continue telling students and employees to wear masks in the face area of rising COVID-19 infection rates.
At the least 23 districts statewide, covering nearly a third of the public school population, now say they will require everyone to wear a mask. Dooly County had already started class on Wednesday, and someone at the 1,200-student district’s senior high school tested positive for the respiratory illness, prompting a disguise mandate.
On Friday, the Montgomery County school district delayed its start date by a week until Aug. 10, saying it’d be a staff shortage because too many teachers had been quarantined after the experience of COVID-19.
That’s despite skyrocketing coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the state. The Republican governor says it must be around parents to decide whether the youngster must be masked. He says he’s seen no studies that report mask-wearing lowers the chance of outbreaks in schools. He didn’t say when he would issue the order.
This week, the Broward County school district in Fort Lauderdale voted to require masks. Other communities and colleges around their state were considering covers because the confirmed cases grew nearly tenfold last month.