DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas County has officially raised the COVID-19 risk level to red, which means health officials believe the risk of transmitting the virus in the community is high.
The county's public health committee voted unanimously Tuesday night, August 3 to upgrade the level to the highest one possible, as the more contagious delta variant continues to take its toll.
"That means, let's get vaccinated today," said Christian Grisales with Dallas County Health and Human Services. "If you have been vaccinated, you need to mask up if you're indoors."
Putting the threat level back at red doesn't trigger any new restrictions, but DCHHS hope it sends a very strong message.
"This situation right now, it's just skyrocketing right, and that's affecting a lot of people," Grisales said.
There are more than 1,900 COVID-19 patients in area hospitals right now, according to the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, which is nearly five times the amount it was a month ago.
Under level red, those who haven't been vaccinated are urged to stay home as much as possible.
Those who are fully-vaccinated are encouraged to wear masks indoors and avoid high-risk gatherings.
"We're still going to wear our masks anywhere we go," said Raquel Ramos, whose family has been vaccinated.
They won a $1,500 gift card for the decision to get the shots through Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson's vaccine raffle.
That incentive campaign just ended, but the mayor's mission to get more people vaccinated is far from over.
"We're in a race against time, and we can't afford to lose," he said.
Ten-thousand kids are signed up to receive free school supplies at the annual Mayor's Back-to-School Fair on Friday at Fair Park.
"This effort is going to help us protect our students, our educators, and all of our families during what our children desperately need to be a much more normal school year this year," said Mayor Johnson.
It's not just for the families going to event. Mayor Johnson says anyone can show up and get the vaccine that day.
The county also plans to reopen the vaccine clinic at Fair Park on Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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