COVID-19 Live Updates: Federal Judge Denies Release Of Dallas County Inmates

KERA News

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 25,300 cases and 666 deaths have been reported across the state. In North Texas: Cases in Dallas County: 3,105; Tarrant County: 2,088; Collin County: 676; Denton County: 725. There have been at least 174 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.

Tarrant County Reports 5 Deaths, 69 New Cases

Tarrant County Public Health is reporting five COVID-19 deaths. They include two Fort Worth men in their 60s, two Arlington women — one in her 90s and one in her 70s — and one Grapevine man in his 80s. These deaths bring the county's total to 58.

Tarrant County is also reporting 69 news cases, which brings the total to 2088.

Federal Judge Denies Release Of Dallas County Inmates

A federal judge has said no to releasing inmates from the Dallas County Jail amid an outbreak of coronavirus — 153 inmates have tested positive so far.

Lawyers for the nine plaintiffs told The Dallas Morning News they hope a forthcoming explanation from U.S. District Judge Ada Brown will explain that decision.

The lawsuit said Dallas County inmates can't physically distance themselves from others and have little access to soap or face masks. Mostare being held on drug-related charges and have underlying health issues.

The sheriff last week in court argued new sanitation and isolation policies in the jail were working, and that granting the inmates’ requests to release inmates would harm public safety.

Read the full story from The Dallas Morning News.

Critical Care Decontamination System Coming To Fort Worth

Fort Worth will be home to a N95 filtration mask decontamination unit. It will be a regional hub serving Texans from East Texas to the Panhandle by inspecting and decontaminating up to 80,000 masks every 24 hours.

Battelle Memorial Institute, a private nonprofit science and technology development company, was approved by the FDA to clean N95 masks to help maintain inventory. Battelle is working in conjucntion with the Department of State Health Services, the North Central texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council and the city of Fort Worth.

McKinney Man, 90, Dies From COVID-19

A 90-year-old McKinney man with underlying health conditions and COVID-19 died this morning at an assisted living center. As of Tuesday morning, Collin County Health Care Services is reporting 676 cases of COVID-19. Today's death brings the county's total to 18.

New Fund To Help Fort Worth Artists 'Heal Through Art'

A new $100,000 initiative will help cash-strapped Fort Worth-area artists by awarding grants to them to create visual artworks addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Called “The New Normal,” the fund is intended to help both Fort Worth’s creative economy and the city’s wider community by providing income for local artists and by culturally processing the current crisis. Ninety-five percent of American artists have lost income because of the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic — while two-thirds of artists have lost their jobs, period.

The grants of $2000 or $5000 will be awarded by a panel of eight judges made up of directors and curators from such institutions as the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. The creators of The fund hope their model of "healing through art" will be adapted by other cities. 

Read the whole story at Art & Seek.

3rd Trinity Metro Bus Driver Tests Positive

A third bus driver for Trinity Metro in Fort Worth has tested positive for coronavirus.

The driver's been under self-quarantine since April 2.

The transit agency said in a statement the driver operated on Route 14 on April 5 and 6, April 10-12 and April 16-20.

Any passengers who rode Route 14 on these dates should monitor themselves for possible symptoms, contact their healthcare provider if any symptoms develop, and self-quarantine to avoid possibly exposing others.

A second Trinity Metro bus operator tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday.

The first driver began self-quarantining March 22. He's fully recovered and is back at work.

Restaurants, Malls, Retail Stores Can Reopen May 1, Gov. Abbott Says

Retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls can reopen Friday provided they limit occupancy to no more than 25%, Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday.

Reopening must occur in phases, he said. "We're not just going to open up and hope for the best."

Abbott said it was not yet safe for salons, barber shops, bars and gyms to open, but that if the community continues safe distancing practices to tamp down new COVID-19 cases, they could be allowed to open in mid-May.

The governor's order supercedes all local orders. He noted, however, that whether businesses reopen is up to them; it is not mandatory. 

Denton County Public Health Announces 12 New Cases 

Denton County Public Health reported 12 new cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide total to 725. 

The number of infected residents at the Denton State Supported Living Center remains at 54 and the total countywide long-term care facility residents remains at 19. 

Collin County Reports 13 New Cases 

Collin County Public Health announced 13 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 676. 

There have been 17 confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 in the county. 

Dallas County Reports 2 More Deaths, 91 New Cases

Two more people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Dallas County have died, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to 84.

County health officials report the additional deaths include a Dallas man in his 40s and a Richardson woman in her 70s who lived at a long-term care facility.

Of the deaths reported to date, about 40% have been associated with long-term care facilities.

There are 91 additional positive cases of the disease in the county today, bringing the total case count in Dallas County to 3,105.

“Today’s numbers do not take into account any cases from labs that were closed on Sunday. After we see numbers for tomorrow and Wednesday, we should get a glimpse into which way this week is trending,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. “I’m hopeful the Governor’s announcement of the additional businesses he wants to open will be in alignment with the CDC, Public Health Authorities and the Epidemiology and Infectious Disease Departments of DFW, Harris County and other Texas urban area hospital systems.” 

Tarrant County Reports 72 New Cases

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tarrant County is now 2,019 after county health officials reported 72 new cases of the disease Monday. There have been 53 deaths related to the disease in the county.

The largest share of cases in Tarrant County have been in Fort Worth. There have been 847 cases reported in the city and 31 deaths. Arlington has reported 384 cases and four deaths.

Tarrant County Launches Self-Screening Online

Tarrant County has launched a new COVID-19 self-screening website it’s piloting this week.

County residents can visit the site and answer screening questions — including questions about symptoms and whether or not you’ve come in contact with a person who’s tested positive for COVID-19. 

If the assessment meets certain criteria, the online tool will set up a testing appointment at the closest available in-person testing site. This week, the county says appointments will be “very limited” as they work on upping testing capacity and make sure the tool’s functioning properly.

Over the next several weeks, Tarrant County says it plans to open more testing sites and increase available appointments.

In a news release Sunday, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said “As we begin planning for reopening, it’s vitally important that we have more testing. These sites are going to be critical to helping us open up the county.”

Despite Economic Blow, Texas Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Of Business Closures, Stay-At-Home Orders

According to the latest Univ. of Texas and Texas Tribune poll, two-thirds of Texas voters agree with decisions by Gov. Greg Abbott and local officials to close nonessential businesses. 

Over three-quarters of voters surveyed support stay-at-home orders except for essential activities. 

The poll's findings come as Abbott is expected to make an announcement today on the state's next steps in reopening the economy.

Read the full story from The Texas Tribune.

City Of Dallas Faces Budget Shortfall Due To Pandemic

The city of Dallas is projecting a big budget shortfall due to the coronavirus outbreak. That will likely lead to cuts in staff and services.

Officials say they’re $25 million under budget, in part due to plummeting sales tax revenues.

Visit Dallas, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, has slashed its budget forecast for the year by 42% after several big events were cancelled due to the outbreak.

Fort Worth’s Plan To Adapt Summer Programs Due To COVID-19

Fort Worth officials say their summer programming will look different because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The city will not hold its nine-week Summer Day camp – but officials are planning for alternative experiences, like mini-camps, once stay-at-home orders are lifted.

The Mobile Recreation program will be offered at two sites instead of four. And participation will likely be limited to 50.

Pools at Forest and Marine Park will remain closed. Officials say it’s possible they’ll reopen later this summer. 

Summer leagues for both adult and youth sports – have been suspended for now. Events planned in August, like The Fort Worth Cup soccer tournament and the Fort Worth Classic softball tournament, are still on the schedule for now.

The Mayor's Summer Reading challenge will be offered online, as well as library services including computer courses and Spanish classes.

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


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