RHOD Resumes Filming as COVID-19 Is 'Spreading Uncontrolled in Community Areas' of Texas

The show recently "resumed production with a comprehensive health and safety plan," a Bravo spokesperson tells PEOPLE

Photo: Peter Larsen/Bravo

The Real Housewives of Dallas is gearing up for its fifth season.

Although COVID-19 cases are increasing throughout areas of Texas, the star-holding Housewives are back and filming season 5 of the Bravo reality series, which comes more than three months after TV and film productions were forced to shut down amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"The Real Housewives of Dallas recently resumed production with a comprehensive health and safety plan," a Bravo spokesperson tells PEOPLE.

"The plan was developed in accordance with CDC guidance, all state and local orders, as well as NBCUniversal's own safety guidelines. The health and safety of the cast and crew is the priority of Bravo for all of its shows," says the spokesperson.

On Thursday, the Texas Department of State Health Services announced that from July 17 to 23, the Lone Star State averaged "9,116 new cases," "10,664 current hospitalizations (as of 7/22)" and "137 new fatalities" per day.

In a video shared July 17, DSHS Commissioner Hellerstedt gave an update on COVID-19's spread in Texas, explaining that it is "spreading in workplaces, it's spreading in families, in parties and gatherings."

"Howdy Texas. It's time for us to all come together as one Texas. Really we're facing a situation right now in Texas where COVID-19 is having widespread community spread across the state. What does that mean? It means that it's in all of our cities and towns to one degree or another, and it's spreading in workplaces, it's spreading in families and parties and gatherings like that," he said.

The video explained that "community spread" is "when COVID-19 is spreading uncontrolled in community areas."

Hellerstedt said that Texans "really can't let our guard down."

"In fact, we have to put our guard up, if you will, and be even stronger in terms of fighting COVID-19," he continued.

A month before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, LeeAnne Locken — a full-time cast member on the Bravo series since its premiere in April 2016 — announced that she would not be returning to the show.

"The last four years have been a trolley-slapping good time, but after much consideration, I have made the personal decision to step away from RHOD," Locken said in a statement to PEOPLE.

"Getting to share my wedding with the viewers last year brought me tremendous joy, however, the season was very personally challenging for me," she continued. "I am looking forward to stepping away from the cameras and spending quality time with my husband and friends, traveling, but most importantly, getting back to philanthropy, which was my main reason for joining the show."

"Thank you to everyone who has laughed and cried with me along the way," Locken added. "It's been an amazing journey, and yes my pantyliner is still exhausted. There are so many exciting things on my horizon that I can't wait to share with you."

The current cast includes Kary Brittingham, Stephanie Hollman, Brandi Redmond, D'Andra Simmons and Kameron Westcott.

A premiere date for season 5 of RHOD has not yet been announced.

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Updated by Natalie Stone
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