Coronavirus live updates: Gov. Abbott says Texas appears to be flattening the curve

Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday afternoon that Texans appear to be flattening the curve on the spread of the new coronavirus. 

Abbott pointed to a slowing rate of new cases across the state as a result of people staying at home and using social distancing practices. 

But the governor urged caution saying it is “too early to declare” success. He said that the possible slowing of COVID-19 could mean that businesses will begin to reopen. 

He announced that he plans to issue a new executive order next week regarding how Texas businesses can plan to reopen. 

RELATED: Executive order regarding Texas businesses reopening could be coming next week, Gov. Greg Abbott says

North Texans are encouraged to stay home and only leave for essential activities during the Easter weekend to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Confirmed cases across the Dallas-Fort Worth area have exceeded 3,000 and there are at least 60 confirmed deaths. 

Top updates for Friday, April 10:

Collin County health officials reported the death of a 90-year-old man who had COVID-19.Places of worship across the Dallas-Fort Worth area are preparing for Easter weekend. Dozens are streaming Good Friday services online. A list can be found here.Local officials have announced the closure of some parks and additional bans on gatherings ahead of the holiday weekend in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Some parks will close Friday evening and won’t reopen until Monday morning. The coronavirus outbreak has impacted air travel more than 9/11, according to the CEO of DFW International Airport.Dallas County reports 3 more deaths 

Dallas County has reported 25 deaths connected to the novel coronavirus, including three more reported Friday. 

A woman in her 90s who was a resident at a long-term care facility has died, and two men in their 80s. All three were Dallas residents, according to health officials. 

Each had been hospitalized and had underlying medical conditions. 

Dallas County health officials report that nearly 70% of those who have been hospitalized with the disease are over 60 years old or have a least one chronic condition. 

Those with diabetes make up about 30% of hospitalized cases. 

In total, there have been 1,537 reported positive cases of COVID-19 in Dallas County. 

Tarrant County reports 21st death

Friday afternoon, Tarrant County health officials confirmed another person died from coronavirus.

The patient was a Lakeside man in his 80s who had underlying health conditions, officials said. So far, 21 people in Tarrant County have died from COVID-19. 

Heading into the weekend, Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja is urging all residents to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing guidelines. 

“Right now, that is the best way to protect against this virus,” he said. “The measures we’re following are working, so everyone needs to stay the course.”

11 D-FW postal employees test positive for coronavirus

Eleven employees at the U.S. Postal Service’s North Texas Processing and Distribution Center have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The facility is in Coppell. 

The postal service says it is providing masks, gloves and sanitizing products at its more than 30,000 locations. 

Officials said updated leave policies ensure employees can take time off when they’re sick or have to care for a dependent. 

“We have entered into agreements with our unions to provide 80 hours of paid leave to non-career employees for issues related to COVID-19,” according to the postal service. 

24 VA employees, 13 patients test positive in North Texas

The VA North Texas Health Care System in Dallas confirmed Friday that 24 employees and 13 patients have tested positive for COVID-19.

VA officials have cited privacy concerns in declining to disclose the specific positions of the infected employees.

They said employees who test positive for COVID-19 are sent home in isolation to limit the further risk of transmission to other patients and staff.

Last week, the VA North Texas Health Care System confirmed that nine employees had tested positive for the virus. Their response came after WFAA received a tip that seven nurses had tested positive for COVID-19.

The VA also has disputed claims the past week that VA nurses and staff lacked masks and were forced to make their own from cloth.

In fact, one veteran told WFAA that he was offered a mask this week when he came in for a check-up. The Dallas-centered facility and surrounding outpatient clinics are the Veteran Administration’s second-largest health care system, with 4,700 employees.

It serves more than 113,000 veterans in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma, VA records show.

Dallas drive-thru testing sites will be closed Sunday

Both Dallas drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites will be closed on Easter Sunday, officials announced Friday. 

The testing locations at the American Airlines Center and Ellis Davis Field House will reopen at 8 a.m. Monday. 

UNT Dallas, NTFB launch second drive-thru pantry

The University of North Texas at Dallas and the North Texas Food Bank are working together to launch a second drive-thru pantry.

From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. April 14 a free drive-thru service will be open for all community members at the UNT Dallas campus.  

Anyone in need of food will complete an intake form in their car and then personnel from the Texas National Guard will be on-site to load a box of shelf-stable food in the trunk.  

UNT Dallas officials say there has been a high demand for food in the southern Dallas community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: UNT Dallas, North Texas Food Bank launch 2nd drive-thru pantry

Mark Smith contributed to this report.


Health experts recommend taking the following actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.Practice “social distancing” and stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid large public gatheringsAvoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Stay home when you are sick.Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.Consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the U.S.
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