COVID-19 live updates: Texas begins to reopen as state passes projected case peak

The reopening process begins just as Texas has hit its projected peak in cases on Sunday, said Dr. Peter Hoetz, an infectious disease expert.

Texas will begin to gradually reopen this week after Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Friday that certain sectors would be allowed to operate again under certain social distancing measures. 

State parks have already reopened to the public, though certain requirements will still need to be met. Visitors will be required to have their faces covered and be in groups of no more than five people while maintaining six feet of distance from others.

Restrictions for non-essential medical procedures will be loosened on Wednesday, allowing for some surgical procedures to resume. And on Friday, retailers will be allowed to offer “to-go” services for their goods.

The reopening process comes just as Texas hit its projected peak in cases on Sunday, according to Baylor College of Medicine dean and infectious disease expert Peter Hotez, M.D.

But the state has likely not yet hit the peak number of deaths from the disease, a model from the University of Texas at Austin shows. The state is instead likely to see death tolls rise for the next week to two weeks before it reaches that peak.

Top updates for Monday, April 20:

Dallas County testing opens to high-risk individuals, retail workers

Two COVID-19 testing sites in Dallas County will now be available to all grocery and big box store employees, as well as all other essential workers, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced Monday.

Those who are in other high-risk groups, including those over the age of 65, with underlying health conditions or first responders and health care workers, also will be able to get tested with or without symptoms. 

Anyone else will still need to have a fever of at least 99.6 to get the test. 

The testing sites are both in Dallas. They are located at:

 American Airlines Center, Parking Lot E, 2500 Victory PlazaEllis Davis Field House, 9191 S. Polk St.

Dallas County reports 84 new COVID-19 cases

Dallas County has confirmed 84 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the countywide total to 2,512 since testing began. 

Lower case counts have been reported on Mondays, something county health officials say may be due to private testing facilities being closed over the weekend. 

There have been 60 deaths linked to the new coronavirus in Dallas County, officials have said. Of those, 38% have been connected to long-term care facilities. 

The City of Dallas has been tracking hospital bed availability. The latest figures show there are 2,962 beds occupied of the 5,711 hospital beds reported. There are 501 ICU beds occupied, leaving 326 available. 

Of the 942 ventilators, there are 298 reported in use, according to data collected Sunday. 

Cases in Hunt County now up to at least 32

Two women are the latest reported cases in Hunt County, officials said Sunday. The women are both between the ages of 31 and 49. Their cases bring the county’s total to 

3 detainees test positive at Alvarado ICE facility

Three people being held at the Prairieland Detention Center in Alvarado have tested positive, federal officials report. 

The facility houses detainees of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Across the country, at least 124 ICE detainees have tested positive thus far.

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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