Get live updates throughout the day on how COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is affecting North Texas.
» COVID-19 By The Numbers:
What should I know about coronavirus? Get information from the CDC. What’s been happening locally, statewide and nationally? Check out special coverage from NPR, PBS and the public radio stations in The Texas Newsroom: KERA for North Texas (including quick daily updates below); KUT in Austin; Houston Public Media; Texas Public Radio in San Antonio; and Marfa Public Radio. How’s coronavirus affecting North Texans on the financial edge? Take an in-depth look at our new series, “One Crisis Away: Coronavirus And Life On The Financial Edge.” In Texas: More than 53,000 cases and 1,460 deaths have been reported. More than 30,340 Texans have recovered. In North Texas: Cases in Dallas County: 8,273; Tarrant County: 4,803; Collin County: 1,118; Denton County: 1,188. There have been at least 402 reported deaths in the region’s four largest counties. Counties across Texas: Use The Texas Newsroom’s interactive maps. Global: See Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 dashboard.
New Lawsuit Seeks Release Of Medically Vulnerable In Dallas County Jail
A new lawsuit seeks the release of medically vulnerable people detained in the Dallas County jail. Several hundred inmates there have tested positive for COVID-19.
Henderson Hill is with the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit today. He said yesterday social distancing is impossible within the facility.
”People are crammed in like so many canned sardines,” Hill said. “There’s no way to practice physical distancing in the Dallas County jail.”
Henderson says they’re asking Dallas County officials to ensure that the jail adopts health protocols, like regular testing, social distancing, and free access to soap and masks.
The Dallas Morning News reports the lawsuit was filed against County Sheriff Marion Brown on behalf of inmates David Daniels, Jodie Campbell and Keilie McCullar, who are detained in the jail.
Attorneys for the inmates are also representing at least nine inmates in a federal court case against the jail. U.S. District Judge Ada Brown denied their motion for temporary restraining order, which would have granted their release.
Pier 1 Going-Out-Of-Business Sales Starts Today
Fort Worth-based Pier 1 Imports begins going-out-of-business sales today.
That’s ahead of plans announced earlier this week to wind down operations after an unsuccessful bankruptcy reorganization.
The company had been struggling in recent years with more competition and was trying to reorganize around 450 stores or find a buyer, but the pandemic thwarted those prospects.
Collin County Holds Online Jury Trial
A court in Collin County this week held what’s believed to be the first American jury trial conducted over online video.
Monday’s non-binding, abbreviated lawsuit trial over a disputed insurance claim was an experiment in restarting parts of the justice system halted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Potential jurors connected with the court over Zoom. Jury selection streamed live on YouTube.
Matthew Pearson served as the plaintiff’s attorney. He said the experience went better than he expected.
Texas Supreme Court Justice Tests Positive
Debra Lehrmann yesterday tweeted she and her husband tested positive after showing symptoms last week. She told The Dallas Morning News the couple have “strictly adhered” to stay-at-home orders since early March. They did get visits from family, including an infant grandchild.
Greg and I have tested positive for COVID-19. We began to exhibit symptoms last week, despite diligently complying with stay-at-home rules. Thankfully, this has not interfered with #SCOTX work, as the Court is working remotely. We are grateful for your thoughts & prayers. #SBOT
— Debra Lehrmann (@JusticeLehrmann) May 21, 2020
Lehrmann said her health has not interfered with her job, because the state Supreme Court is working remotely.
Lehrmann’s the highest-ranking state official known to have contracted COVID-19.
Tarrant County Reports 92 New Cases
Tarrant County Public Health announced 92 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in the county to 4,803.
There have been 139 deaths related to COVID-19 in the county.
27 Additional Cases, 1 New Death In Denton County
Denton County Public Health announced 27 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in the county to 1,188. The county also reported one additional death of a Denton County community member, raising the total deaths to 29.
The patient was a previously reported hospitalized female in her 70s who was a resident of Denton Rehabilitation Center.
Collin County Announces 28 New Cases
Collin County Public Health reported 28 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 1,118.
There have been 31 deaths associated with COVID-19 in the county. According to public health officials, 754 people have successfully recovered from the disease.
183 Additional Cases In Dallas County
Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 183 new cases of COVID-19, raising the total case count in the county to 8,273.
There have been 203 deaths related to COVID-19 in the county. The additional seven deaths being reported today include:
A man in his 50s who was a resident of the City of Lancaster and had been hospitalized. A woman in her 50s who was a resident of the City of Dallas and had been critically ill in an area hospital. A man in his 60s who was a resident of the City of Dallas and was found deceased at home. A man in his 80s who was a resident of the City of Dallas and had been critically ill in an area hospital. A woman in her 80s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Mesquite and had been hospitalized. A woman in her 90s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Dallas and had been hospitalized. A woman in her 90s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Dallas and expired at the facility.
Some State Agencies Face 5% Budget Cuts
Several state agencies have been told to find ways to cut their budgets due to the coronavirus pandemic. The cuts come as sales tax revenue — the state’s largest source of funding — dropped about 9% in April compared to the same month last year.
State leaders are telling agencies to come up with plans to cut budgets by 5%.
That includes higher education institutions.
Letters went out Wednesday – signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. They say agencies need to prepare for an economic shock, and it will take months until the state knows the true extent of the economic ramifications of COVID-19.
Certain agencies are exempt — those include the Texas Workforce Commission, public safety, and Child Protective Services, school districts, as well as the state health department and behavioral health science programs.
CARES Act To Give DART Over $200 Million In Relief
Dallas Area Rapid Transit will receive $229 million from the federal CARES Act.
The Dallas Morning News reports DART officials have known about the money since last month, but the President’s announcement about it yesterday caught the agency by surprise.
His tweet called the money “critical to economic recovery.”
Mark Ball with DART said the money will help offset budget losses from decreased tax revenue. It also will help reimburse the transit authority for expenses incurred “to protect passengers and employees” during the pandemic.
CVS To Open 44 New Drive-Through Test Sites In Texas
Friday, CVS will open 44 new COVID-19 test sites at drive-through pharmacy locations across Texas. In a statement, the company said the new sites will use self-swab tests and they expect to have up to 1,000 locations across the country offering this service by the end of May.
The self-swab tests will be available to people meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, in addition to age guidelines. Patients must register in advance at CVS.com where there’s a complete list of testing sites.
Patients will be required to stay in their cars and directed to the pharmacy drive-through window where they will be provided with a test kit and given instructions, and a CVS Pharmacy team member will observe the self-swab process to ensure it is done properly. Tests will be sent to an independent, third-party lab for processing and the results will be available in approximately three days.
UT-Austin Campus To Reopen For Fall Semester
The University of Texas at Austin says students will return to campus for the fall semester.
That’s from August 26 to Thanksgiving. Students won’t return to campus after the holiday and will instead take their finals online.
When the campus opens, UT-Austin will have its own coronavirus testing material. The university anticipates needing to conduct more than 500 tests a day.
Texas State Parks Take Revenue Hit Due To Pandemic
The head of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says state parks are experiencing a drop in revenue because of temporary shutdowns and restricted capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic.
”If you look to the end of April, we’re about 11% behind where we were last year,” Carter Smith said while speaking with members of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. “We should probably just expect that to grow at least through May and probably end of June.”
State parks were allowed to reopen for day-use April 20. All but one state park have welcomed back visitors.
Limited camping resumed Monday.
North Texas Zoos To Reopen May 29
Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan for the second phase of reopening the Texas economy allows zoos to welcome back visitors on May 29. Both the Dallas and Fort Worth Zoos are reopening that day with a slew of safety precautions in place.
Reservations will be required for all guests, wearing a face mask is encouraged, and certain exhibits will remain closed. Alexis Wilson is with the Fort Worth Zoo, she says they have added a lot of hand washing stations among other precautions.
“We have a designated clean team that will be cleaning hard surfaces, recently touched surfaces throughout the zoo,” Wilson said. “That is their sole responsibility everyday all day long.”
The governor’s order allows zoos to begin operating at 25% capacity. The directive allows aquariums in the state to open a week earlier than zoos starting tomorrow.
Federal Appeals Court Temporarily Blocks Voting-By-Mail Expansion In Texas
A federal appeals court in New Orleans has put on hold a ruling for expanding of mail-in voting in Texas.
Yesterday’s decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals came less than 24 hours after a federal judge in San Antonio ruled Texas must give all its registered voters the option to mail-in their votes during the coronavirus pandemic.
That option ‘s now limited to those 65 or older or to those with a “sickness or physical condition” that prevents voting in person.
Read the full story from The Texas Tribune.
Read More: A Timeline Of COVID-19’s Spread In North Texas
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