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COVID-19 In DFW July 7-11: Texas Ed Agency Releases Safety Guidelines For the 2020-2021 School

An electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
Associated Press

Texas parents could get more schooling choices for their kids next month. The Texas Education Agency announced school-year guidelines today, and they include a combination of on-campus instruction and remote learning.

Get the latest news from our COVID-19 Live Updates page.

Saturday, July 11

Dallas County Reports Deadliest Week And Highest Daily Case Average

Dallas County ended the week with an average of 1,121 cases per day and 54 total deaths, making this past week the county's deadliest and the one with the highest daily case average.

For Saturday, Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 1,101 additional cases and four new deaths. The total death count is now 449, and the total case count — current, recovered and deaths — is now 32,626.
 
Dallas County Health and Human Services says the four deaths today were:

  • A Carrollton man in his 50s 
  • A Dallas woman in her 70s
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in Mesquite
  • A woman in her 90s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in Richardson

DCHHS says people in the 18 to 39 age range have comprised over half of cases since June 1, an increasing proportion. More than two-thirds of cases requiring hospitalization have been people under 65 years old.
There have also been an increasing number of cases associated with large recreational and social gatherings, DCHHS said.

Denton County Adds 1 New Death

One new death brings Denton County's death total to 40. The person who died was a woman over 80 years old and a resident of Dallas, according to Denton County Public Health. DCPH also reports 127 new cases, bringing the cumulative case total to 3,937.

201 New Cases In Collin County

Collin County reported 201 new cases today, including 70 cases in Plano, according to the Department of State Health Services. Total county cases — active, recovered and deaths combined — are now 4,308.

Seven new hospitalizations in the county were added. Deaths remain at 56. 

Of Plano's total 1,184 cases, here is an age-range-to-case-number breakdown:

  • Ages 20 to 29 → 259 cases
  • Ages 40 to 49 → 207 cases
  • Ages 30 to 39 → 197 cases
  • Ages 50 to 59 → 181 cases
  • Ages 0 to 19 → 110 cases
  • Ages 60 to 69 → 107 cases
  • Ages 70 to 79 → 45 cases
  • Ages 80+ → 27 cases

Friday, July 10

Federal Medical Teams Headed To Parkland

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increasing, federal medical personnel are headed to Parkland Hospital in Dallas to provide backup.

The Dallas Morning News reports both the mayor and the governor requested the support.

The reinforcements are part of the Disaster Medical Assistance Teams under the Health and Human Services department.

The agency's already sent teams to San Antonio and Houston.

Parkland officials said the additional staff would work in a “variety of roles at the health system.

Dallas County hit a record 831 hospitalizations for COVID-19 yesterday. It's also recorded more than 1,000 new cases each day since last Friday.  

1,164 New Cases And 9 More Deaths Reported In Dallas County

There are 1,164 new COVID-19 cases and nine more deaths in Dallas County today. This is the 8th day in a row with over 1,000 new cases in the county.

Today's data brings the total case count in the county to 31,525, including 445 deaths.

An increasing share of the county’s cases are being diagnosed in young adults 18 to 39. Half of all cases reported after June 1 have been in this age group. Of the cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than two-thirds have been under 65 years of age.

Of the 445 total deaths reported, about a third have been associated with long-term care facilities. 

634 New Cases In Tarrant County

Tarrant County has 634 new COVID-19 cases today. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the county to 17,334, including 262 deaths.

According to data from county health officials, 7,730 residents have recovered from the disease. 

As hospitalizations continue to rise in North Texas and across the state, Tarrant County has 1,518 of 5,814 hospital beds available — 635 are confirmed COVID-19 patients. 

Collin County Reports 204 New Cases, 3 More Deaths

There are 204 new COVID-19 cases in Collin County today and three additional people have died. The total number of confirmed cases countywide is 4,205, including 56 deaths.

According to data from officials, 197 of 2,702 hospital beds are being used in the county, and 3,318 residents have recovered from the disease.

Denton County Has 113 New Cases And 1 More Death

A Frisco man in his 40s with COViD-19 has died, bringing the total number of deaths related to the disease in Denton County to 39.

County health officials are reporting 113 new cases today. There have been a total of 3,810 confirmed cases in the county.

As Admissions Spike, North Texas Hospitals Could Turn To 'Surge Plans'

The next two weeks are a critical time for North Texas hospitals. Facilities may have to implement surge plans to increase the number of available beds, said Stephen Love, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.

"In two, two and a half weeks, our volume could be significantly higher than it is now," Love said, "which means we might have to begin surge capacity implementation on our campuses."

Learn more from KERA's Syeda Hasan.

Here's Why Masks Aren't Required At The Polls

Friday is the last day of early voting in the primary runoff election. And while face masks are in wide use at the polls, Gov. Greg Abbott isn’t requiring them. It’s one of the exceptions to his executive order to wear masks in public places

Learn more from KERA's Bret Jaspers.

Advocates Demand ICE Release Families In Detention

Physicians, faith leaders and immigrant rights advocates are demanding for Immigration Customs and Enforcement to release families in detention because of the risk for coronavirus spread.

A federal judge ordered ICE to release children in detention centers by July 17th.

But Bob Sanborn of the Texas group Children At Risk said that’s not enough. So a group of advocates will travel from a family detention center in Dilley to San Antonio today.

"The idea is to really show that as a group we really care about these kids," Sanborn said. "We really care about these families and we disagree with this policy of keeping these kids in facilities where coronavirus is a potential health hazard."

Sanborn said both parents and children should be released immediately and given a chance at seeking asylum.

Tarrant County Dog Tests Positive

A dog in Tarrant County has become the first animal in Texas confirmed with coronavirus.

After the dog's owners tested positive for COVID-19, a private veterinarian decided to test their dog as a precaution.

State Veterinarian Dr. Andy Schwartz says there's no evidence pets can transmit the virus, but they can catch it.

Schwartz advised restricting pets from contact with COVID-positive people.

Thursday, July 9

1,201 Cases Reported In Dallas County

Another 1,201 cases in the county brings the total to 30,361. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins reminded residents to wear masks and avoid certain businesses as “rampant community spread continues”:

“Today we announced another 10 deaths to COVID-19 as rampant community spread continues. Things will get worse before they get better and it’s up to all of us to wear our masks whenever around people outside of our own home. Take a mask with you when you go to walk the dog or exercise as you may find yourself around other people unexpectedly. With the amount of spread in the community, you are much more likely to come into contact with people who are infected than you were during the time when we had the Safer at Home (shelter in place) orders.”

Ten deaths have been reported today:

  • A man in his 50s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Garland. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 60s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. She had been hospitalized, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 60s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 60s who was a resident of the City of Irving. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 60s who was a resident of the City of Sunnyvale. She had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. She had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 70s who was a resident of the City of Garland. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. She died in an area hospital ED, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 70s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 90s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Dallas. He expired in the facility, and had underlying high risk health conditions.

Denton County Reports 115 New Cases, 1 Death 

The death of a Denton man in his 80s brings the total number of deaths to 38. 

There were 115 new cases in the area, bringing the countywide total to 3,697. Another 32 patients have recovered from the virus, increasing the countywide recovery total to 1,322. 

160 New Cases In Collin County

There are 160 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 4,108. In the area, there have been 56 deaths and 190 people hospitalized. 

Tarrant County Reports 520 New Cases

An additional 520 cases raises the countywide total to 16,700. There have also been 259 deaths and 7,490 people who have recovered from the virus in the area. 

More Kids Getting Sick With COVID-19 In Dallas County

The number of children getting sick with coronavirus is increasing in Dallas County.

Dallas County Health and Human Services data reported more than 15-hundred children tested positive for COVID-19 last month — more than twice the number in May.

About 60 children have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since March.

This comes as parents, teachers and public officials debate about the best way to reopen schools in the fall.  

Despite TEA Guidelines, Dallas Parents Aren't Confident In Sending Kids Back To School

The Texas Education Agency on Tuesday outlined procedures intended to allow kids and teachers to safely learn together when school begins next month.

The agency says some learning will happen online, but the leader of the largest teacher organization in Dallas thinks perhaps all learning should be online at first.

Rena Honea of Alliance AFT said a fifth of Dallas school district parents last week wanted their kids to stay home. Now, with more COVID-19 cases, it’s 50% of parents.

"Who knows in another week if the positive cases continue on the uptick like they are right now there may not be any parent or students who’ll send students to the classroom buildings," Honea said.

Honea said her members consider the Texas Education Agency hypocrites.

"Many people are very angry that TEA is saying school needs to open knowing the TEA workers are working remotely themselves," Honea said.

Honea said her members are surprised and disgusted by TEA guidelines they consider dangerous.

Bed, Bath & Beyond Closing 200 Stores

No word yet on how North Texas fits into plans by Bed, Bath & Beyond to shrink its store base as it struggles with the pandemic.

The home goods retailer yesterday said it will close 200 of its more than 950 stores over the next two years in a bid to cut costs.

CEO Mark Tritton told Bloomberg it will try to place associates in surrounding stores when possible. He said more details will be released in October.

Bed Bath and Beyond has 21-namesake stores in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Wednesday, July 8

123 New Cases In Collin County

There are 123 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 3,948. In the area, a total of 53 people have died and 3,101 patients have recovered from the virus. 

Tarrant County Reports 595 New Cases 

An additional 595 cases in the county raises the total to 16,180. There have been 254 deaths and 7,018 people who have recovered from the virus in the area. 

123 New Cases In Denton County

Another 123 cases in the area brings the total to 3,582. There are also 22 patients who have recovered, increasing the countywide recovery total to 1,290.

Dallas County Reports 1,029 New Cases

There are 1,029 new cases in the county, bringing the total to 29,160. As hospitalizations and case numbers continue to rise, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said it’s an “extremely critical time” in the fight against COVID: 

“Today for the sixth day in a row we are over 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 in Dallas County and unfortunately, we're reporting 16 deaths, including a woman in her 20's and a man in his 40's without underlying high-risk health conditions. This is an extremely critical time in our battle against COVID-19. We expect to see more cases in the coming days and how high this surge goes is dependent on each of us doing our part.

Sixteen deaths have been reported today:

  •  A woman in her 20s who was a resident of the City of Grand Prairie. She had been critically ill in an area hospital, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 40s who was a resident of the City of Grand Prairie. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 40s who was a resident of the City of Farmers Branch. She had been hospitalized, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 50s who was a resident of the City of Garland. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 50s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Dallas. She died in the facility, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 50s who was a resident of the City of Grand Prairie. She had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 60s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He had been hospitalized, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 60s who was a resident of the City of Coppell. She died in area hospital ED, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 60s who was a resident of the City of Grand Prairie. She had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. She had been hospitalized, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Grand Prairie. She had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 70s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. She had been hospitalized, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 80s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Dallas. He died in the facility, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 80s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Mesquite. She had been hospitalized, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 80s who was a resident of the City of Garland. She had been hospitalized, and had underlying high risk health conditions.

Texas In-Person GOP Convention Will Feature Video Speeches

The Texas Republican Party's still holding an in-person convention in Houston next week, but executive director Kyle Whatley said state GOP leaders have changed their minds about participating.

"All the elected officials are switching from a live, in-person speech to videos, to delivering short videos,” he said. 

The party's faced growing calls to cancel the in-person convention as coronavirus surges in Texas.

The Texas Medical Association has withdrawn its sponsorship of the event.

Southwest Airlines Will Stop Accepting Cash

Southwest Airlines is following the lead of other carriers who don't accept cash for ticket purchases, upgrades or extra luggage.

The Dallas Morning News reports the Dallas-based carrier didn’t specify why it won't accept cash anymore.

Many businesses are trying to eliminate the burden of paper money, especially now as a way to cut down on disease spread during the COVID-19 pandemic.

None of the major airlines allow cash payments — Fort Worth-based American Airlines stopped accepting cash at DFW International Airport in 2017.

Executions In Texas Could Resume Wednesday 

A five-month delay in executions in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic could end tonight.

Billy Joe Wardlow faces a lethal injection for a 1993 murder and robbery in Cason.

His attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a delay. If the high court says no, the execution would be the first in the state since February 6.

Tuesday, July 7

Texas Education Agency Releases Safety Guidelines For the 2020-2021 School Year

Texas parents could get more schooling choices for their kids next month. The Texas Education Agency announced school-year guidelines today, and they include a combination of on-campus instruction and remote learning.

The guidelines say:

• Daily on-campus learning will be available to all students, however parents will have the option to choose remote learning for their children, either initially or at any point during the school year.
• Parents who do choose remote instruction could be asked to commit to it for a full grading period, such as six or nine weeks. So parents can make a decision based on the latest public health information, they will not have to make that commitment more than two weeks in advance.
• School districts will have the option to establish a phased-in return to on-campus instruction for up to the first three weeks of the school year.

Certain health procedures will be mandated on all campuses, such as:

• All students, teachers, staff, and visitors coming to campus must be screened before being allowed on campus.
• Assuming the governor's mask order is still in place, masks will be required while in school buildings, with certain exceptions made, and schools will be required to follow any future executive orders.

The resources TEA says it is providing school systems with include:

• Reimbursement for extra COVID-19-related expenses
• Tens of millions of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies provided free to school systems
• Free online, TEKS-aligned learning tools to deliver remote education
• Free teacher training

The release also said TEA will provide "statewide efforts to help bridge the digital divide for students at home," but did not include details on those efforts.

Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Paredes Scribner issued a statement after TEA released its guidelines.

"The guidance we received today from the Texas Education Agency is right in line with the plans we have been making for the 2020-2021 school," it reads. "In addition to PPE available for staff and students and day-long cleaning activities to keep down the potential exposure to any virus, we are also offering parents the choice of in-person or virtual instruction. The health and safety of our students and employees remain a top priority."

Dallas County Reports 1,077 New Cases 

Another 1,077 new cases in the county brings the total to 28,131. As the number of hospitalizations continue to rise rapidly, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins urged residents to take “targeted action” by wearing masks and avoiding certain businesses: 

“Today’s numbers include nine deaths, most of whom did not have underlying high-risk health conditions. We continue to see wide community spread and the need for more targeted actions to keep our community safe. Doctors strongly discourage in-restaurant dining and going to the following businesses: bowling alleys, arcades, amusement parks, concert venues, sporting arenas, movie theatres, gyms (to include yoga and spin studios, etc.), and public pools. Please wear your mask whenever around people outside your family and please take a face covering with you, even when going out to exercise as you may find yourself bumping into other people or unexpectedly around others.”

Nine deaths have been reported today:

  • A man in his 60s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 60s who was a resident of the City of Mesquite. He died in an area hospital ED, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of DeSoto. She had been critically ill in an area hospital, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 70s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Dallas. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 80s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. She had been critically ill in an area hospital, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 80s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of DeSoto. He had been hospitalized, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 80s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of DeSoto. He died in an area hospital ED, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 90s who was a resident of the City of Mesquite. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 90s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Mesquite. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions. 

56 New Cases In Denton County

There are 56 new cases, raising the countywide total to 3,459. Another 11 recovered patients raises the countywide recovery total to 1,268.

Collin County Reports 118 New Cases 

An additional 118 cases brings the countywide total to 3,825. There have been 50 deaths in the area related to the virus.

757 New Cases In Tarrant County

There are 757 new cases in the county, raising the total to 15,585. There have been 248 deaths and 6,686 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.

Texas State GOP Convention Will Proceed In-Person In Houston Next Week, With New Precautions

Houston Mayor Sylvester Johnson has asked the state GOP to reconsider its in-person convention next week in his city, the state's biggest coronavirus hotspot. But Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey says it will go on as planned.

“I do not think it is wise or prudent to hold a convention of 6,000 or more,” Turner wrote among a series of tweets. “I am asking them to have a virtual event.”

On Thursday, the State Republican Executive Committee voted 40-20 to proceed with the in-person convention. 

Thursday's SREC vote came right after Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mask mandate. Dickey said that meant that masks would be required for most of the convention, anyway.

On Monday, Turner announced strict rules for the convention beyond the mask mandate. City health inspectors could shut it down if the requirements aren’t enforced, he said.

Dickey said safety measures, such as thermal scans, hand sanitizer stations and handing out masks were discussed with Turner on Monday and would be implemented at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

The Texas GOP convention is scheduled for July 16 to 18. The Texas state Democratic convention was held entirely online in June.

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

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