Fort Worth, Tarrant County urge people to stay home

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FORT WORTH (1080 KRLD) - Some local leaders are now urging -- but not mandating -- that people stay home as much as possible.

The City of Fort Worth is strongly urging people to stay home and limit their social interactions amid a major spike in COVID-19.

"While we are well-prepared for these increases in terms of personal protection equipment, mitigation strategies and working from home; medical and hospital resources are limited, and we should expect to see some tightening of occupancy limits at higher-risk establishments and activities such as food service, bars, entertainment venues and the like," says Brandon Bennett, public health director for the City of Fort Worth.

Fort Worth's recommendation comes days after Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja declared a public health emergency.

During a healthcare symposium this afternoon, Taneja said the request to stay home is just that, a request -- for now.

"Let's work together (and) drive these numbers down," says Taneja, "because we don't want to be forced into a mandate."

Taneja says he hears time and time again that COVID-19 is no less deadly than the seasonal flu.

The numbers, however, say something else entirely.

"A quarter-million Americans have died with COVID (this year since March)," says Taneja. "Every year when the flu occurs, on average, only about 36,000 deaths occur. On a real bad year, we might approach ... 70,000 deaths."

Taneja says as unfortunate as it may be, people should not travel for Thanksgiving this year.

"Celebrate the holiday with your immediate family that lives in your household," Taneja says. "Don't accept any visitors."