Live COVID-19 updates: As North Texas cases near 4,000, Dallas County reports 4 more deaths

Four more people have died from COVID-19, Dallas County officials said Sunday. More than 80 people across North Texas have now died as a result of the virus. 

Three of the four had been residents of long-term care facilities. One was a woman in her 60s who had lived at a facility in Garland, another was a man in his 90s who was a resident of a Richardson facility and the third was a man in his 80s who was at a facility in Dallas. 

The fourth death was that of a Dallas man in his 60s. 

All four had been critically ill at area hospitals and each had underlying health conditions, officials said. Thirty-one people in Dallas County have now died from the disease.

Officials also announced 79 new cases of COVID-19 in Dallas County, bringing the total to 1,723.

RELATED: MAP: These are the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Dallas-Fort Worth area

Tarrant County officials reported 22 new cases Sunday as well, bringing that county’s total to 806 cases. 

North Texas as a whole has now had nearly 4,000 reported cases of COVID-19. 

Top updates for Sunday, April 12:

Gov. Abbott extends disaster declaration

Gov. Greg Abbott has extended the state’s disaster declaration for an additional 30 days, the governor’s office announced. 

Abbott originally declared a state of disaster on March 13. The declaration applies to all Texas counties and gives the state access to funds and others resources needed to fight COVID-19. 

You can read the declaration in its entirety here. 

Roughly half of Dallas hospital beds remain open, data suggests

About half of the hospital beds in Dallas are not occupied, data from Mayor Eric Johnson’s office suggests. Twenty-four hospitals reported the total number of beds, ICU beds and ventilators they had in use on Saturday. Of total hospital beds, 53% were occupied, while about 60% of ICU beds were in use. Around one-third of available ventilators were being used Saturday. 

Below are the total numbers reported to the city:

Total beds: 5,354Total ICU beds: 783Total ventilators: 863Closures create a different kind of Easter Sunday

It’s been a different kind of Holy Week and Passover for the faithful all around the world this year as millions stay home and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

In a sight many would have never predicted, Pope Francis celebrated Easter Maas in a mostly empty St. Peter’s Basilica.

Gov. Greg Abbott released a special Easter message, encouraging Texans to remember the hope that the holiday brings. 

“It is especially during times like these that we must find strength in our faith,” he said. “Together, we will make it through this challenge.”

With churches closed to the public, millions will watch Easter services online, instead of in person, to observe the holiday. Even Andrea Bocelli will hold a livestreaming event on YouTube from the Duomo di Milano to celebrate the holiday, raise money and bring hope to those affected by the pandemic.  

And while many won’t be able to be to gather in person, there are still things you can do to celebrate at home and bring everyone together.

Jenkins to join faith discussion

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins will join an imam, pastor and rabbi for a live discussion on the role faith has played in public health discussions during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The discussion will begin at 12:12 p.m. on Facebook here.

Parks, testing sites closed for Easter

Several cities across North Texas closed parks ahead of Easter weekend to prevent the spread of coronavirus. They did so in the hopes people would not gather together to celebrate the holiday with those outside their household. 

Also closed for Easter Sunday will be the Dallas drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites. Both locations will reopen at 8 a.m. Monday.

Rockwall County now up to 26 cases as North Texas reports nearly 3,800

There have now been nearly 3,800 cases of COVID-19 reported across North Texas since the outbreak began, according to local health officials. 

Rockwall County officials reported two more additional cases had been confirmed Sunday morning, bringing the county’s total to 26. 

Dallas County by far has the highest recorded case count, reporting 1,644 total cases. The county has had 27 deaths from the disease thus far, also the highest in the region, which has seen nearly 80 deaths altogether.

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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