COVID-19 Live Updates: Dallas County Extends Stay-At-Home Order Until May 15

Get live updates throughout the day on how COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is affecting North Texas. 

» COVID-19 totals:

In Texas: More than 20,200 cases and 528 deaths have been reported across the state. In North Texas: Cases in Dallas County: 2,512; Tarrant County: 1,333; Collin County: 570; Denton County: 598. There have been over 129 reported deaths in the region’s four largest counties.  Check all Texas counties: Use The Texas Newsroom’s interactive maps to see cases and deaths across the state.  Global: See Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 dashboard for totals in the U.S. and around the world.

Collin County Reports 26 New Cases 

Collin County Public Health announced 26 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total in the county to 570. 

There have been 14 deaths related to COVID-19 and there are currently 845 people being monitored. 

Dallas Police Department Announces 12th Officer Tests Positive

The Dallas Police Department announced on Tuesday that a neighborhood patrol officer tested positive for COVID-19. 

The officer worked at the South Central Patrol Division and their last day on the job was Tuesday, April 14. The officer noticed symptoms the following day and went for testing Saturday, April 18. 

According to a press release, the officer learned of their positive test results on Tuesday and is under quarantine for the next 14 days or longer when cleared by DPD’s medical team. 

The area where the officer worked and their vehicle will be sanitized. 

So far, 12 DPD officers and two civilians — a communications dispatcher and a public service officer — have tested positive. 

Collin County Reports Death Of McKinney Woman

An 86-year-old McKinney woman died at home this morning, according to Collin County Health Care Services. She had underlying health conditions.

She was the 14th death due to COVID-19 in the county. 

Dallas County Extends Stay-At-Home Order Until May 15

The county’s stay-at-home order has been extended until May 15.

Dallas County Commissioners voted 3-2. Judge Clay Jenkins and commissioners Theresa Daniel and Elba Garcia voted in favor. Commissioners J.J. Koch and John Wiley Price voted against.

The county’s current order was set to expire on April 30, although county officials had said they could extend it.

Price was critical of the extension.

“I still find it abhorrent that we have no plan,” he said. “Here we are, we’re a week out from our April 30th deadline, no plan. Now we’re saying we’re going to take it two more weeks, still no plan. Even if the plan had a caveat.”

Tuesday’s extension comes as public health officials are recommending the county extend its stay-at-home order until the end of May.

Dr. Philip Huang, the county’s health and human services director, said there needs to be at least 14 days of decline in COVID-19 case counts before “you start looking at opening things up.” 

Tarrant County Reports 84 New Cases

After issues sharing data with county health officials Monday limited information, Tarrant County reported 84 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. There have now been 1,333 positive cases of the disease reported in the county and 42 deaths related to the coronavirus.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price To Be Tested For COVID-19 Tuesday

On a Facebook livestream she hosted from her home yesterday, Price says she had been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive.

“I will not be releasing details of who it was that I was close by, but I am confident that the surroundings that we were in, were practicing the right practices,” Price said. “We had our temperature taken as we came and went. We were wearing masks, washing hands, practicing social distancing.”

Price will share her test results with the public.

She said she currently has no symptoms and is self-isolating at home with her husband. She’s taking her temperature and tracking her symptoms twice a day and urges anyone who feels sick to do the same.

Jesse Jackson Joins Dallas Advocates In Pushing For Testing, Release For Inmates

Rev. Jesse Jackson has joined efforts by criminal justice advocates in Dallas to better protect jail inmates and release those who are medically vulnerable and nonviolent.

The civil rights leader’s foundation, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, with the support of the National Medical Association representing black physicians and patients, has advocated for several responses to mitigate COVID-19 deaths, which are disproportionately affecting black Americans.

Jackson told The Dallas Morning News the legal battles in Dallas reflect injustices in the criminal justice system across the county.

He called for better protections for those who are incarcerated and don’t have access to soap and masks. He urged the use of personal recognizance bonds, a non-monetary bond, home monitoring and community release.

A lawsuit on behalf of several Dallas County inmates is one of a handful of suits pending in federal and state courts that challenge the Texas bail system.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting the release of people who don’t pay bail is pending before the Texas Supreme Court.

Read the full story from The Dallas Morning News.

Court Says Texas Can Ban Medication Abortions

A federal appeals court panel in New Orleans says Texas can now ban medication abortions.

The same 5th Circuit Court of Appeals panel last week temporarily blocked the ban.

But a two-to-one decision by the same panel yesterday said the state was within its rights to ban that and other abortion procedures to help slow use of masks, gowns and other protective medical gear.

Doctors Sue Fort Worth Demanding Most Abortions Be Banned During Pandemic

A group of doctors and dentists is suing Fort Worth to ban certain abortions during the pandemic.

The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports the lawsuit asks that Fort Worth ban abortions in its stay-at-home order, otherwise that order would be declared invalid.

Though the federal appeals court panel in New Orleans said Texas can include abortions in his ban on elective surgeries to help slow use of masks, gowns and other protective medical gear, the plaintiffs want Fort Worth to independently ban the procedure — except in cases when a mother’s life is at risk.

If a judge grants the groups’ request for a temporary injunction, the city would be blocked from enforcing its stay-at-home order unless it’s amended to prohibit abortions.

Most Texas Workers Can’t Work From Home

A new report finds 37% of full-time workers in Texas can work from home.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says that’s two points lower than the national average.

Research economist Ychin Su reviewed data on remote working and found disparities based on race and ethnicity:

Asian Americans are most likely to have the option to work from home, about 50%,” Su said. “For white it’s about 47%, and for African Americans it’s about 33% — which is much lower than Asian and white. For Hispanics it’s even lower; it’s 23%.”

Su says Texas workers with college degrees and those whose annual salaries are more than $60,000 are far more likely to be able to work remotely.

Among Texas metro areas, Austin has the largest percentage of workers with remote-working options, 48%. For Dallas-Fort Worth, it’s 42%. Houston’s at 40%. San Antonio’s at 37%.

Texas Asks USDA To Include Online Groceries In SNAP Benefits

Texas is asking the USDA to allow those on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to order groceries online.

The demand for grocery delivery has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. But the Fort Worth Star Telegram reports those with SNAP benefits, also called food stamps, can only purchase food in stores.

About 231,000 Texans applied for SNAP benefits last month — more than double the number of applications from the same time a year ago.

City Of Dallas Announces New Alphabetical Guidelines To Ease Katy Trail Congestion 

Dallas Park and Recreation announced it is implementing a trail management strategy that will limit usage of the Katy Trail based on users’ last names.

Starting Thursday, April 23, users whose last names begin with A through L will be asked to use the Katy Trail only on Thursday and Saturday. Users with last names that begin with M through Z will be asked to use the trail on Friday and Sunday. 

The public will have normal access to the Katy Trail on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

“We cannot allow this amenity to become a health hazard,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said. “We have to be willing to adjust our practices and behaviors and take personal responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19 so that we can save lives and get through these challenging times as quickly as possible.”

Denton County Reports 1 Additional Death, 5 New Cases 

Denton County Public Health announced the 17th death due to COVID-19 and five new cases of the virus, bringing the total case count to 598.

The patient who died was a Dallas man in his 70s who was hospitalized. He was a case of local transmission. 

Collin County Reports 17 New Cases 

Collin County Public Health reported 17 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in the county to 544. 

There are currently 1,076 people under monitoring in the county and there have been 13 confirmed deaths.

Dallas County Reports 84 New COVID-19 Cases

Dallas County is reporting 84 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in Dallas County to 2,512. Officials say, of cases requiring hospitalization, most have been either over 60 years old or have had at least one known high-risk chronic health condition. 

“In looking at Monday’s numbers, remember a few private labs are closed on Sunday,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. “We continue to scrap and claw for more testing and you must continue to exercise good personal responsibility decisions, limit essential business trips and wear a cloth covering when you go to essential businesses.” 

Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19, according to officials. Of the 60 total deaths reported to date, 38% have been associated with long-term care facilities.

Dallas Community Testing Sites To Offer Tests To Frontline Workers With No Symptoms

Both community-based testing sites in Dallas will open the criteria to include testing for any frontline worker, even if they have no symptoms.

Starting Monday, first responders, DART drivers, healthcare workers, grocery store and essential retail store workers can get tested for COVID-19 regardless of their age or if they have symptoms or underlying health conditions.

The sites, at the American Airlines Center and Ellis Davis Field House, operate daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Criteria for testing sites are as follows:

Anyone with a temperature of 99.6 or higher and shortness of breath or cough Anyone 65-years-old or older Anyone with chronic health issues (diabetes, asthma, heart issues, etc.) Any first responders, DART drivers, healthcare workers, grocery store and essential retail store workers

Texas U.S. Rep. Colin Allred Hosting COVID-19 Town Hall Tonight

Tonight at 6:30, Rep. Colin Allred (TX-32) will host a telephone town hall and briefing on the coronavirus outbreak. 

Allred will be joined by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Dr. Julie Trivedi, a UT-Southwestern infectious disease specialist, to discuss the latest on the coronavirus and resources for the public. The call will include resources available to individuals and small business owners, according to Allred’s office. 

Listen and RSVP.

Arlington ISD Closes Meal Pick-Up Location After Worker Contracts COVID-19

The Arlington school district has closed one of its 24 meal distribution centers after a food service worker contracted COVID-19.

A district release said the employee prepared meals at Swift Elementary School, but did not make direct contact with families picking up meals curbside.

The district said the closure won’t cause interruptions to other meal distribution centers.

Those who picked up meals at Swift Elementary School are advised to visit another location.

Texas Reopens Most State Parks Monday

Most state parks reopen today – but with changes.

Day trips only – no overnight camping is allowed. You also can’t pay fees at the parks. All reservations have to be made in advance and purchased online.

Face coverings are now required at state parks, and groups larger than five can’t gather.

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo yesterday said two popular state parks in the El Paso area won’t open today when others do.

El Paso’s exceptions hint that future openings of government services and businesses will be fraught with stipulations based on local conditions.

While the parks were closed, staffers were working on landscaping, deep cleaning, painting and inventory.

Sales Tax Holiday for Emergency Supplies Coming This Weekend

Amid COVID-19 limits on bricks and mortar shopping, there’s a sales tax holiday weekend coming.

Saturday, April 25 through Monday, April 27, Texans can save money on emergency supplies such as household batteries, flashlights, first aid kits and fuel containers that cost less than $75.

The Texas Comptroller’s website says the measure is intended to help Texans prepare for events like hurricanes and turbulent spring storms.

The department also has a full list of eligible items.

Read More: A Timeline Of COVID-19’s Spread In North Texas 

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