Dallas County judge criticizes Collin County leaders over coronavirus response


DALLASDallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is criticizing Collin County’s leaders who have ordered a less strenuous stay-at-home order than other counties in the area.

Unlike in Dallas County, Collin County Judge Chris Hill said all businesses are considered “essential” for the county’s financial health. They may remain open if they comply with the county’s ban on gathering over 10 people.

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“All businesses, jobs and workers are essential to the financial health and well-being of our local economy and therefore are essential to the financial health and well-being of Collin County citizens,” the order said.

The seemingly contradictory order said people should stay home, except for “essential” activity.

Jenkins said not having all counties in the Dallas – Fort Worth area on the same page could cost lives.

“I’m getting more blunt with people because every day gets us closer to that day when we don’t have enough beds,” he said.

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Jenkins said the CEO of Baylor Scott and White Health had a call recently with the leaders of 10 area counties. Collin County was not on the call.

“We’ve got to listen to science. We’ve got to take those calls from the hospital CEOs when they are pleading with us to put public health first. So yes, I very much want them to join me and join now all of us working as a unit. Now every county in North Texas is working on this together,” he said.

Judge Hill responded to the criticism in a statement. He said there were three regional calls. He was not on one and Judge Jenkins was not on the other two.

“I participated in two particular regional calls, one with county judges from north-central Texas and one with county judges from urban counties across Texas,” Hill said. “Unfortunately, Judge Jenkins wasn’t able to join us for either one of those calls. I feel like that was a missed opportunity for us to work together on regional solutions.”

Jenkins there are currently about 4,000 hospital beds and 400 ICU beds available in DFW. He’s also working on plans for a 250-bed mobile hospital for the county.

The Texas National Guard is being mobilized to help handle the medical challenges that come with an increase in serious coronavirus cases. Jenkins encouraged people who see members of the guard helping out not to worry.

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