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Health & Wellness

COVID-19 Live Updates: Coronavirus Restrictions Have Been Lifted Almost Everywhere, Except Jails

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Get live updates throughout the day on how COVID-19 is affecting North Texas.

» COVID-19 By The Numbers:

  • In Texas: More than 2.9 million cases and more than 51,700 deaths have been reported.
  • Cases In North Texas: Tarrant County: 261,719; Dallas County: 261,512; Denton County: 76,479; Collin County: 75,111. There have been at least 9,068 reported deaths in the region's four largest counties. (Data as of June 11)
  • Counties across Texas: Use the Texas Newsroom's interactive maps.
  • Global: See Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 dashboard.

Friday, June 11

The Release Of People From Texas County Jails Is Still Being Restricted

Gov. Greg Abbott has been saying for months that Texas is no longer restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. Face mask mandates are gone, and people are crowding back into businesses and public places.

But there is one crucial government function the Republican governor has kept limited since he declared a public health disaster last March: the release of people from Texas county jails.

Abbott’s controversial order aims to stop the release of any criminal defendant accused or previously convicted of a violent crime on a no-cost bond, meaning such defendants would only get out of jail in the pandemic if they could afford money bail. It also disallowed those serving short, misdemeanor sentences from being released early for good behavior, a common practice in county jails. The order’s legality has long been questioned, and at least several local courts have found it unconstitutional — leading to a patchwork implementation.

Still, at least in parts of the state, the order continues to keep people in jail who may have otherwise been released before the coronavirus ravaged Texas. It is the governor’s only emergency order aside from requiring collection of medical data on the coronavirus that he has kept in place for more than a year.

Abbott issued his emergency order last March as Texas counties sought to combat the pandemic by lowering their jail populations — where the risk of the coronavirus was particularly high given poor sanitary conditions and close quarters. At the time, Abbott said the order was to prevent mass releases from jails.

A spokesperson did not answer repeated questions in the last month asking why the governor has continued the order.

Read more from the Texas Tribune.

Dallas County Reports 104 New Cases

Another 104 cases brings the total to 261,512. Of the cases reported, 91 are confirmed. Three deaths were reported including:

  • A Dallas man in his 80s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 80s.
  • A Rowlett man in his 80s.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins urged residents to get vaccinated as summer arrives.

“With the summer months heating up and more and more people being inside, if you or your loved one hasn’t had a vaccine yet, now is the time to get vaccinated as more and more people will be around one another in indoor settings,” he said.

84 New Cases In Tarrant County

An additional 84 cases increases the total to 261,719. There have been 3,538 deaths and 256,226 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.

Denton County Announces 28 Additional Cases

There are 28 new cases in the county, raising the total to 76,479. There are also 67 newly-recovered cases in the area, increasing the countywide recovery total to 73,723.

Nonprofits Want To Help Dallas Residents With Housing Costs

The most recent Census Bureau survey of American financial wellbeing shows that Texans are still having a harder time paying for housing costs than before the pandemic.

Nearly 1 in 10 homeowners with a mortgage said they were behind on payments and nearly 2 in 10 renters had already missed rent.

"People have told me I lost my car, I already exhausted all my savings, I don't have anybody that will lend me money, so I'm here. So it's tough," said Samanda Gronstal, who runs the housing assistance program for the Community Council of Greater Dallas.

The nonprofit has millions of federal dollars to help Dallas residents with up to six months of housing costs. CEO Sharla Myers says evictions can be devastating.

"Once a tenant is evicted, it's going to be extremely difficult for that tenant to get another apartment, because they're going to have that eviction on their record," Myers said. "They are much more likely to end up staying homeless for a longer period of time."

Unlike a lot of programs, people who are undocumented can also get help the Community Council.

Thursday, June 10

Texans On Unemployment Can No Longer Cite COVID-19 As A Reason To Refuse A Job Offer Or As A Reason Not To Search For A Job

Texans receiving unemployment benefits will no longer be able to cite COVID-19 as a reason not to search for work or refuse a job offer. The Texas Workforce Commission said this week the rule suspension is no longer needed due to declining cases and increasing vaccinations. Spokesman Cisco Gamez says Texas is also soon opting out of a federal pandemic unemployment benefits program.

“If you’re on regular unemployment, the additional $300 benefits will end June 26, 2021," Cisco said. "But, TWC will continue to pay you regular benefits after that date, as long as you remain eligible and have not exhausted your state benefits.”

​​The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that just under 18,000 Texans filed initial jobless claims last week — the lowest level since mid-March 2020.

Dallas County Reports 127 New Cases

There are 127 additional cases, increasing the total to 261,421. Of the cases reported today, 87 are confirmed.

Four deaths were reported today including:

  • A Dallas man in his 30s.
  • A Garland woman in her 50s.
  • A Garland woman in her 50s.
  • A Garland woman in her 80s.

So far, over 487,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given out at the Fair Park mega-vaccine site.

128 Additional Cases In Tarrant County

Another 128 cases bring the total to 261,635. There are 3,533 people who have died from the virus and 256,118 residents who have recovered in the area.

The community spread level is “moderate.”

Denton County Announces 18 New Cases

There are 18 new cases in the county, 17 of which are active cases. This raises the total to 76,452. There have also been 102 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 73,657.

Wednesday, June 9

Dallas County Reports 112 Cases, Four Deaths

The four deaths give Dallas County a total of 4,081. The deaths reported Wednesday include people who ranged in age from their 60s to their 70s, and all had underlying high-risk health conditions.

As of May 29, about 52% of Dallas County residents 12 years and older received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. During the week ending on May 29, about 93% of the newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases were in residents who were not fully vaccinated.

Tarrant County Reports 66 Cases, One Death

The death was of a woman from Fort Worth in her 30s who had underlying health conditions. Tarrant County now has 3,531 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus and 256,009 people have recovered.

Denton County Reports 44 Cases

Of the 44 cases reported Wednesday, 40 were active cases. There have been a total of 604 deaths in Denton County.

Dallas Regional Chamber Launches Vaccine Awareness Campaign

The Dallas Regional Chamber is launching a COVID-19 vaccine awareness campaign to push the region toward herd immunity.

The Dallas Morning News reports the "Take Care of Business" campaign will utilize targeted advertising and a sweepstakes to try to get 600,000 more North Texans, age 16 and up, vaccinated so businesses can resume pre-pandemic levels of activity. Some of the giveaways include Dallas Cowboys tickets, and roundtrip flights on Southwest and American Airlines.

The campaign is focusing outreach on communities of color, who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

About 58% of people age 16 and older in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties had received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Tuesday.

Dallas County health director Philip Huang said the percentage needed for herd immunity may be as high as 80%.

Sensory-Friendly Vaccine Clinic Being Offered For Individuals With Autism

The Autism Treatment Center, Tom Thumb, and The Perot Foundation have partnered to provide a COVID-19 vaccine drive-through clinic and a sensory-friendly indoor clinic for people with autism or related conditions and their caregivers.

The clinic will take place on Saturday, June 12 by appointment only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Autism Treatment Center on 10503 Metric Drive, Dallas, 75243.

For individuals with autism or other developmental disability, a disability-friendly vaccination site is one where sensory stimulation is kept to a minimum and staff and volunteers are trained to work with challenging behaviors caused by anxiety and stress.

You must register by Friday, June 11 for the clinic. To register, go to the Autism Treatment Center's website or email info@atcoftexas.org, or contact Carrie Nelson at cnelson@atcoftexas.org.

Parkland Health's Ellis Davis Field House Site Temporarily Closes For Graduations

The COVID-19 testing and vaccination site at Ellis Davis Field House at 9191 S. Polk Street in Dallas will be closed on Saturday, June 12 and Saturday, June 19 because of graduation ceremonies.

The site will reopen for its regular hours, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the Mondays following the closures (June 14 and June 21).

Tuesday, June 8

Vaccine Clinic Tomorrow In Sansom Park

The Sansom Park Fire Department and MedStar are holding a community vaccine clinic on Wednesday, June 9, from 4–8 p.m. Sansom Park is just north west of Fort Worth.

Up to 250 1st and 2nd dose vaccines will be available, and anyone 12 years and older is eligible to be vaccinated.

Pre-Registration recommended but not required. You can sign up at https://usa.quickscreen.health/medstar-vaccination#/screening.

Organizers say be sure to enter your demographic information, answer screening questions, select “06/09 Sansom Park FD” as the site and select time, then take a screen shot or picture of the QR code that displays after selecting the site and time.

Dallas County Reports 103 New Cases

An additional 103 cases were reported today, raising the total to 261,256. Of the cases reported today, 73 are confirmed.

Four deaths were reported today:

  • A Garland man in his 30s.
  • A Garland man in his 50s.
  • A Richardson woman in her 60s.
  • A Cedar Hill man in his 60s.

76 New Cases In Tarrant County

There are 76 new cases in the area, bringing the total to 261,441. There have been 3,530 deaths and 255,843 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.

3 Deaths Announced In Denton County

Three deaths due to the virus were reported today:

  • A Colony man in his 40s.
  • A Denton woman over 80.
  • A Denton man in his 70s.

There are 47 new cases in the county, 45 of which are active cases. That brings the total number of cases to 76,390.

Texas Businesses Banned From Requiring Customers To Share Vaccine Status

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill into law banning Texas businesses from requiring proof of someone’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

He spoke about it in a Twitter video Monday.

“No business or government entity can require a person to provide a vaccine or passport or any other vaccine information as a condition of receiving any service or entering any place," Abbott said.

He issued a similar ban, through an executive order, for government entities in April.

The new law signed yesterday came the same day Carnival Cruise Line said it will require passengers prove they're fully vaccinated. Its first cruise departs from Galveston July 3.

Read more about the law from The Texas Tribune.

Monday, June 7

Texas Researchers Call For Booster Shot Trial Volunteers

Texas researchers are recruiting volunteers for the clinical trial of a COVID-19 booster shot. Individuals who have received the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines are all eligible.

Haná El Sahly, a professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, says it's not yet clear if a booster shot is necessary.

"Having said that, it's good to be ready,” she said. “Just in case booster shots are needed and just in case second generation vaccines are needed, we and others in the country are beginning to do the research."

Enrollment in the trial is ongoing.

Dallas County Reports 202 New Cases

Another 202 cases in the area brings the total to 261,183. Two deaths have been reported today, including an Irving woman in her 60s and a Sunnyvale man in his 80s.

There have been 4,073 people who have died in the area due to the virus.

103 New Cases In Tarrant County

There are 103 more cases in the area, raising the total to 261,365. In total, there have been 3,528 deaths and 255,740 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.

Currently, 2% of the county’s hospital beds are being occupied by COVID-19 patients.

5 Deaths, 65 New Cases In Denton County

Five people have died from the virus in the area, including:

  • A Little Elm man in his 60s
  • A Frisco woman in her 60s
  • A Denton man in his 70s
  • A Carrollton man over 80
  • A Denton man over 80

An additional 65 cases were reported in the county, bringing the total to 76,344. There have been 153 people who have recovered from the virus in the area, increasing the countywide recovery total to 73,398.

Metal Ions Help COVID-19 Virus Disguise Itself, Researcher Says

Scientists in San Antonio have uncovered how the COVID virus hides from the immune system: it uses metal ions like magnesium and calcium that circulate in everyone's body.

Dr. Yogesh Gupta, an assistant professor of biochemistry and structural biology at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, said the COVID virus looks for these metal ions.

“So, when it sees that, it immediately utilizes that environment to its own benefit,” Gupta said. “So it can efficiently modify its own RNA and the immune system cannot distinguish once the RNA is modified.”

He said this allows the virus to replicate without immune system interference, leading to more severe disease. He said the discovery may lead to the development of new antiviral medications to treat all coronaviruses.

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

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