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Dallas County bans elective medical procedures to focus resources on climbing coronavirus cases

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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins prohibited elective medical procedures through April 3 as that county and Texas grapples with the new coronavirus public health crisis. Martin do Nascimento for the Texas Tribune

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Saturday banned elective medical procedures through April 3 so health care resources can be steered toward patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Throughout the state, many medical providers have already started canceling or delaying elective procedures themselves.

Nearly 100 people in his county have tested positive for the virus. Jenkins' new directive to begin focusing medical resources toward combatting the virus came on the same day that Gov. Greg Abbott loosened some licensing regulations for nurses in hopes of luring more health care workers to the front lines.

In his revised emergency order Saturday, Jenkins directed health care professionals to start identifying patients whose procedures can be canceled or postponed, "considering the emergency need for redirection of resources to the COVID-19 response."

Jenkins' revised order also closes hair salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors and other businesses where people can't maintain six feet of distance from each other while non-medical personal services are provided. He also limited how much toilet paper can buy at a time.