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Coronavirus in DFW July 26-Aug. 1: Gov. Abbott Extends Early Voting For November Election

Voting site at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Fort Worth.
Keren Carrión
/
KERA News
Voting site at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Fort Worth on primary runoff Election Day 2020.

Gov. Abbott issued a proclamation this week, extending early voting by six days for the November 3 election. Early voting will begin on October 13 and continue through October 30.

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

Saturday, August 1

Dallas County Reports 7th Day Of Daily Case Numbers Under 1,000 

There are 614 additional cases in the area, bringing the total to 50,590. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said today is the seventh day of daily case numbers under 1,000. He said it’s still “imperative” residents continue taking precautions: 

“Today’s numbers mark the seventh day that we’ve been below 1,000 new cases per day. For the week, we had an average of 654 new cases per day, down from 827 the week before, and a total of 77 deaths making this the second deadliest week thus far of the COVID-19 outbreak. Your efforts at wearing a mask, maintaining six foot distance, using good hand hygiene, and avoiding unnecessary trips outside the home are leading to a reduction in cases.”

Another 10 deaths were reported today:

  • A Dallas man in his 20s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 30s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 40s. 
  • A Dallas woman in her 50s. 
  • A Dallas man in his 60s. 
  • A Dallas man in his 60s. 
  • A Dallas man in his 80s.
  • A Dallas man in his 80s. 
  • A Dallas woman in her 80s who was a resident of a long-term care facility. 
  • A Lancaster man in his 80s.

Collin County Reports 50 New Cases

There are 50 new cases, raising the total to 6,400. There have been 83 deaths and 4,825 people who have recovered from the virus in the county. 

91 New Cases, 1 Death In Denton County 

Another 91 cases brings the total to 6,894. A Dallas woman in her 70s died today, raising the total deaths to 55. 

Friday, July 31

Dallas County Reports 707 New Cases, 7 Deaths 

There are 707 new cases in the area, bringing the total to 49,976. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said while daily case numbers are lower than before, they’re still four times higher than when the state first reopened. He urged residents to wear their masks, socially distance and avoid unnecessary trips outside: 

“While the numbers this week are shaping up to be lower than they were at our high point reached earlier this month, they are still over four times higher than the average when the Governor’s Open Texas plan started. It’s imperative that everyone continue to use masks when around other people outside their home. Take your mask with you even if you don’t think you’ll be around other people and put it on if you come into contact with others.”

The seven deaths reported today include:

  • A Dallas woman in her 40s. 
  • A Garland woman in her 60s. 
  • Two Dallas men in their 60s. 
  • A Lancaster woman in her 60s. 
  • A Grand Prairie man in his 60s. 
  • A Dallas man in his 70s. 

122 New Cases, 1 Death In Denton County 

There are 122 additional cases, raising the total to 6,803. One death of a Carrollton man in his 70s who lives at Avalon Memory Care was reported today. The additional death brings the total deaths to 54.

587 New Cases In Tarrant County

Another 587 new cases in the area brings the total to 28,410. There have been 381 deaths and 14,397 people in the area who have recovered.

Collin County Reports 101 New Cases

There have been 101 additional cases in the county, raising the total to 6,353. There have been 83 deaths due to the virus.

State Says Cases In Texas Juvenile Justice Facilities Are Declining

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) says it’s seeing a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases at its five lockups for young people between the ages of 11 and 18. 

The agency began testing the approximately 700 youth and 1,700 staff members at the secure facilities earlier this month. Spokesperson Brian Sweany said most of the young people who have tested positive have been asymptomatic. He describes the safety precautions that are in place. 

"All staff are required to wear masks at all times while they are on campus and all of the youth have been provided masks as well,” Sweany said. “We do find that is one of the most important aspects of the staff protecting the youth from a potential infection." 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 172 detainees and 158 employees at TJJD's secure facilities have tested positive for COVID-19. One staff member has died. 

New York Times Says UT-Austin Has More Cases Than Any U.S. College

The New York Times has given UT-Austin the distinction of the U.S. university with the most COVID-19 cases. 

This comes just as the university decided to publish data about all of its known cases in an online dashboard for the community. 

A spokesperson for UT-Austin told The Texas Tribune the Times' survey relied on volunteer participation and therefore was not a comprehensive look at all U.S. universities. 

In the survey, 1,000 U.S. colleges were asked to self-report cases. Only 270 responded. 

Tarrant County Health Officials Warn West Nile In Mosquitoes Is At Record High Levels

Tarrant County Public Health issued a warning Thursday that West Nile Virus in mosquitoes is at record high levels. The health department is increasing ground spraying to reduce the mosquito population — and urging residents to take precautions.

Health officials say people should always use an EPA-approved mosquito repellent and wear long sleeves and long pants when they go outside – even in the hot summer. They advise cleaning up standing water, too – that’s where mosquitoes breed — and urge people to remember the insects bite all day long, not just in the evenings. 

Earlier this month, the county saw its first death from West Nile Virus in two years. One-in-five people infected with the virus will experience fever and other symptoms, including head and body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea and rash. Most people recover, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. 

Thursday, July 30

Fort Worth ISD Approves Later Start To School Year 

By an 8 to 1 vote Thursday, the Fort Worth school board approved a later start to the upcoming school year. Claases will now begin September 8, three weeks later than planned. Before trustees voted, they heard dozens of opinions expressing the pros and cons of in-person versus online-only learning. Most of the speakers were teachers and parents who said school should not open yet for in-person learning. 

Read the full story here

Dallas County Reports 537 New Cases, 6 Deaths

An additional 537 cases raises the total to 49,269. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said while there’s a trend of lower case numbers, there needs to be “continued vigilance”: 

“Today our number of new cases continued on a positive trend and our number of COVID-19 hospitalizations went up slightly. We announced the death of another six Dallas County residents to this disease. I’d like to remind everyone of the importance of six foot distancing, mask wearing outside the home and limiting trips outside the home to work and absolute necessities. It’s up to all of us to get the numbers down so less people become infected, our economy gets stronger, and our kids can return to school.”

The six deaths reported today include:

  • A Dallas man in his 50s. 
  • A Richardson woman in her 60s. 
  • A Dallas woman in her 70s
  • A Dallas man in his 70s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 90s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 90s. 

Collin County Reports 86 New Cases 

There are 86 new cases in the area, bringing the total to 6,253. There have been 4,741 people who have recovered from the virus and 82 deaths. 

672 New Cases In Tarrant County

Another 672 new cases raises the total to 27,823. There have been 363 deaths and 13,648 people who have recovered in the county. 

Denton County Reports 188 New Cases 

There are 188 new cases in the area, bringing the total to 6,681. There have been 107 newly-recovered cases, increasing the countywide recovery total to 3,588.

YMCA Of Metropolitan Dallas Announces New In-Person Program 

The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas’ new face-to-face program will help support students who are remote learning for school. 

The academy will be run by a certified teacher and start on August 17 in Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Coppell and other locations.

Jodi Newman, School Age Services executive director of YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, said the academy will help support students and parents as they navigate school during the pandemic. 

“We recognize there are many parents who must go to work in-person or cannot teach their children at home during the day,” Newman said. “The YMCA’s Learning Academy will be an all-day (7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.) option (Kindergarten to 5th Grade) to help guide students through curriculum, but also will address their physical needs and mental health as we continue to navigate through these challenging times in a fun, safe, controlled environment.”

Dallas Employees To Remain Furloughed For Another Two Months

Hundreds of Dallas city employees furloughed since May face another two months without a paycheck.

The Dallas Morning News reports the city this week told 415 employees across several city departments will remain out of work until September 30.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the city budget has forced continued closures of libraries, recreation centers and other services.

Catherine Cuellar with the city said the furloughs will not disrupt essential services.

The city manager’s office furloughed 472 workers in May amid a $25 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.

Some employees have since returned to their normal work. Others have been shuffled around to other city departments.

Texas Colleges Take Extra Precautions For Start Of School Year In Fall

Two Texas colleges are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus when classes resume in the fall.

Officials at UT Austin want students to quarantine for two weeks before coming back - or at least before their first on-campus activity.

Baylor University this week said students have to test negative for COVID-19 before they're allowed on campus.

Baylor will send home testing kits to students' homes beginning next week, but the CDC said there's “limited usefulness” to a blanket round of testing. 

Wednesday, July 29

Dallas County Reports Record High Of 36 Deaths 

There are 704 new cases in the area, bringing the total to 48,732. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said today’s record of 36 deaths is “a somber reminder of the seriousness of the outbreak.” He said everyone needs to continue precautionary measures: 

“Today’s 36 deaths is a new single day reporting record and is a somber reminder of the seriousness of this outbreak. We must continue the spirit of sacrifice for the community good that has led people to forgo unnecessary trips, stay home as much as possible, maintain six foot distancing, and always wear a mask around people outside their homes. This along with good hygiene principles will lead to a continued decline in cases. If only a few people loosen their resolve for personal and community safety, we can find ourselves in a quickly worsening position.” 

There have been a record number of 36 deaths:

  • A Dallas man in his 40s. 
  • Three Dallas men in their 50s.
  • A Carrollton man in his 50s.
  • A Duncanville man in his 50s.
  • A Seagoville man in his 50s. 
  • A Dallas woman in her 50s. 
  • Two Dallas men in their 60s. 
  • Two Cedar Hill women in their 60s. 
  • Two Dallas women in their 60s. 
  • A Garland man in his 60s. 
  • Three Dallas men in their 70s. 
  • Four Dallas women in their 70s. 
  • A Lancaster man in his 70s. 
  • Six Dallas men in their 80s. 
  • An Irving woman in her 80s. 
  • A Seagoville woman in her 80s. 
  • Three Dallas men in their 90s. 
  • A Mesquite woman in her 90s. 

836 New Cases In Tarrant County 

Another 836 cases in the area raises the total to 27,151. There have been 355 deaths and 13,613 people who have recovered from the virus. 

162 New Cases, 2 Deaths In Denton County 

An additional 162 cases in the area brings the total to 6,493. There have been two deaths reported today, increasing the total to 53. 

Collin County Reports 77 New Cases 

There are 77 additional cases in the county, raising the total to 6,177. There have been 81 deaths and 4,701 people who have recovered. 

Denton County Jail Under Investigation For Living Conditions

Some private attorneys are investigating questionable living conditions at the Denton County Jail.

The Denton Record Chronicle reports lawyers from the Scott H. Palmer firm launched their probe after photos posted to social media last week - photos showing women living in a quarantine pod with mold, clogged toilets and trash piled up.

The images also show inmates using thin, paper masks rather than the cloth variety local volunteers donated to the jail.

Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree denies the allegations against the jail.

So far, 44 inmates and 16 employees at the jail have tested positive for COVID-19.

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Suspends Liquor Licenses For State Bars

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has suspended liquor licenses for 18 bars after owners across the state opened in defiance of the Governor's shutdown order.

The Dallas Morning News reports Chris Polone led the protest.

The owner of Rail Club Live in Fort Worth said he opened the bar and music venue Saturday to highlight what he called a "double standard" - that certain businesses can remain open in Texas while others can't. The Beverage Commission's investigating the event.

The agency previously suspended Polone's liquor license for 30 days when he opened the bar July 4.

But Polone said he plans to organize more unauthorized reopenings in the future. 

What Happens When A Hurricane Hits A Coronavirus Hot Spot? South Texas Cities Found Out The Hard Way. 

Before Hurricane Hanna dumped at least 15 inches of rain on the South Texas city of Mission, the City Council there approved taking out a $5 million bank loan to ensure the city’s stockpile of equipment to protect against the new coronavirus was sufficient.

Having enough face masks, sanitizers, gloves and other personal protective equipment is key to preparing for storms during the coronavirus pandemic, Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña said. But governments are struggling for revenues to stock enough equipment during the economic recession caused by the pandemic, and O’Caña said the city was also forced to dip into its cash reserves.

“I have to use my reserves, and I actually have to borrow money from the bank in the form of a short-term loan,” O’Caña told the Texas Tribune. “But I got to do what I got to do for the city of Mission to survive.”

Read the full story by The Texas Tribune

Tuesday, July 28

Dallas County Reports 789 New Cases, 15 Deaths

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Dallas County Health and Human Services

Another 789 cases in the area brings the total to 48,028. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said while today’s numbers are higher than Monday, they’re lower than those two weeks ago. He urged residents to continue mask-wearing and social distancing measures: 

“Today’s numbers, while higher than yesterday, continue the trend of being lower than we saw two weeks ago. In looking at the numbers, it’s important to focus not on the daily numbers but on the seven day and fourteen day rolling averages. If you continue to wear your mask around people outside your household, maintain six foot distancing from people outside your household, limit trips to necessities only and use good hygiene, we will see the numbers go down...” 

Fifteen deaths were reported today:

  • A Dallas man in his 50s.
  • A Grand Prairie man in his 50s. 
  • A Lancaster man in his 50s.
  • A Garland man in his 60s.
  • An Irving woman in her 60s.
  • An Irving man in his 60s.
  • A Mesquite woman in her 70s.
  • A Seagoville man in his 70s. 
  • An Irving woman in her 80s.
  • A Richardson man in his 80s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 80s.
  • A Grand Prairie man in his 90s. 
  • A City of DeSoto man in his 90s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 90s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 90s.

209 New Cases In Collin County 

There are 209 new cases in the area, bringing the total to 6,147. There have been 80 deaths and 168 people who are hospitalized due to the virus. 

Tarrant County Reports 576 New Cases 

An additional 576 cases brings the total to 26,315. There have been 349 deaths and 13,560 who have recovered from the virus in the area. 

123 New Cases In Denton County 

There are 123 new cases in the area, raising the total to 6,331. There have been 58 newly-recovered cases, increasing the countywide recovery total to 3,419. 

Gov. Abbott Waives STAAR Testing Requirement

In a typical year, Texas 5th and 8th graders would need to pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness or STAAR test in order to advance to the next grade. But Gov. Abbott said COVID-19 will make this a uniquely challenging school year. He said waiving the promotion requirement gives students and teachers more flexibility to overcome disruptions caused by the virus.

Even if the coronavirus wasn't changing school procedures, 5th and 8th graders who didn’t pass the STAAR test the first time would get additional opportunities to retake it.

Students will still sit for the test in May of 2021 so schools and parents can assess how well students have mastered math and reading.

Pandemic Derails State’s Goal To Increase Rate Of Post-Secondary Education

A new report shows Texas running behind on getting more people to complete a post-secondary education.

The goal was to have 60% of Texans between 25 and 34 earn a college degree by 2030. But a Rice University consortium estimates only 46% have education beyond high school.

Brian Holzman with the consortium told public radio's Texas Standard that COVID-19 has derailed the state's goal.

“It means we have to identify ways to support, students in helping them take college prep courses and deal with any other health or economic challenges that are going on in their personal lives…,” he said. 

Holzman said it’s also important that high school students get more guidance counseling and college advising support.

Fort Worth Symphony Announces Modified Scheduled

The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra has announced their shows will go on this fall, but with a modified schedule and reduced audience size.

The orchestra's moving its Pops Series from Bass Hall to the smaller Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium.

The Symphonic Series will remain at Bass Hall. But a fourth performance has been added to adequately distance attendees and meet subscriber demand.

New Initiative In Oak Cliff Helps Local Businesses

A new initiative is designed to help local businesses in Dallas' Oak Cliff neighborhood that have been affected by COVID-19.

Community leaders will be distributing personal protective equipment and telling businesses about the effort.

City Council member Chad West represents Oak Cliff and is leading the project.

“We’ve got a huge amount of items: masks, gloves and lots of hand sanitizer that we are going to package up and take to the business around 75211,” he said. 

The zip code 75211 has been one of the hardest-hit in Dallas County by the coronavirus. The area is made up of mostly Latinos who are essential workers.

West said he hopes this initiative will help them, too.

“The flip side of that is to encourage neighbors to support businesses that are practicing good social distancing and if they are to talk about it on social media,” he said. 

The initiative is called ##WePPEinOC.

Monday, July 27

Gov. Abbott Extends Early Voting For November Election 

Gov. Abbott issued a proclamation, extending early voting by nearly a week for the November 3 election. Early voting will begin on October 13 and continue through October 30. The move also expands the time in which marked mail-in ballots can be delivered in-person to the early voting clerk’s office.

“As we respond to COVID-19, the State of Texas is focused on strategies that preserve Texans’ ability to vote in a way that also mitigates the spread of the virus,” Governor Abbott said. “By extending the early voting period and expanding the period in which mail-in ballots can be hand-delivered, Texans will have greater flexibility to cast their ballots, while at the same time protecting themselves and others from COVID-19.”

240 New Cases In Tarrant County

Tarrant County is reporting 240 new COVID-19 cases today. This increases the countywide total to 25,739 confirmed cases, including 348 deaths. 

County health officials report that 13,498 residents have recovered from the disease.

153 New Cases In Collin County 

There are 153 additional cases in the area, raising the total to 5,938. There have been 75 deaths and 4,634 people who have recovered from the virus in the area. 

Denton County Reports 87 New Cases, 2 Deaths 

Another 87 cases in the county brings the total to 6,208. There have also been two deaths reported today that raise the total deaths to 51: 

  • A Lewisville woman in her 70s. 
  • A woman in her 70s who lived at the Corinth Rehabilitation Suites in Corinth.

Dallas County Reports 426 New Cases, 2 Deaths

There are 426 new cases, bringing the total to 47,239. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the daily case numbers are the lowest they’ve been since July 22. He said he’s “increasingly optimistic” about the effectiveness of mask-wearing and other measures in lowering case counts:

“Today’s numbers are lower than they have been since July 22. Although there is some concern that some of the testing may not be getting through on the reports due to a potential glitch in the state’s electronic laboratory reporting system, I’m increasingly optimistic that your use of masks and sacrificial delay of unnecessary trips outside the home for things other than necessities are having an impact on flattening the recent explosion in cases since the Governor’s Open Texas plan was implemented. Please keep wearing your mask and don’t let up on making smart decisions. Public health and our economy can’t afford it.”

Two deaths were reported today. Both were critically ill in local hospitals: 

  • A Balch Springs man in his 50s.
  • A Dallas man in his 60s.

Texans Will Stop Receiving Extra $600 Weekly Unemployment Benefit 

Texans on unemployment benefits stopped receiving an extra $600 benefit over the weekend.

The Texas Tribune reports the payments will expire nationally Friday, but a Texas law prevents payouts for a partial week. The Texas Workforce Commissions considers a full week Sunday through Saturday.

It's not clear whether Texans will receive benefits retroactively from this week if Congress votes to extend payments.

A National Economic Research Bureau study found workers may be collecting more money through the weekly payments than they would normally.

Some Republican leaders say that disincentivizes people from looking for work.

Nearly three million Texans have filed for unemployment relief since mid-March.

Texas Railroad Commission Faces Lawsuit Over Suspension Of Oil And Gas Regulations

The Texas Railroad Commission's facing a lawsuit over how it suspended oil and gas industry regulations amid the pandemic in May.

The government watchdog Public Citizen and two landowners filed suit in Travis County District Court.

Adrian Shelley of Public Citizen said the commission violated the state's open meetings act before rolling back several environmental and safety rules.

​"The Railroad Commission took these acts outside of the public view and they didn't give the people of Texas the opportunity to comment that is required by law,” Shelley said.

The lawsuit seeks to block the regulatory waivers in order to hold public hearings on their impact.

Fort Worth Expands Free Testing

Fort Worth is expanding free COVID-19 saliva testing after a successful trial run last week.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the city was able to test about 1,500 residents at JP Elder Middle School.

That location will remain open for testing. The city is also adding a second testing site at the Dickies Arena parking garage that will open Tuesday. 

Patients will need to schedule an appointment in advance. 

Sunday, July 26

800 New Cases And 1 More Death In Dallas County

There are 800 new COVID-in cases in Dallas County today, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county to 46,813, including 605 confirmed deaths. 

County health officials are also reporting one additional death today: A Dallas man in his 40s who had underlying high risk health conditions.

Over 1,450 children under 18 years of age have been diagnosed with COVID-19 during the first three weeks of this month, according to county health officials. During this same timeframe, 29 children have been hospitalized with the disease, including four who were admitted to intensive care units. 

Of those with COVID-19 who’ve been hospitalized to date, more than two thirds have been under 65. Diabetes has been an underlying condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients.

Of the 605 confirmed deaths about a third have been associated with long-term care facilities.

Tarrant County Has 353 New Cases 

Tarrant County is reporting 353 new cases today, bringing the total number countrywide to 25,499, including 348 deaths.

According to county health data, 12,549 residents have recovered from COVID-19.

Denton County Reports 78 New Cases

Denton County is reporting 78 new COVID-19 cases today. This increases the countywide total to 6,121 confirmed cases, including 49 deaths. 

County health officials report that 3,309 residents have recovered from the disease.

33 New Cases In Collin County

There are 33 new COVID-in cases in Collin County today, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county to 5,789, including 74 deaths. 

County health officials report that 4,597 residents have recovered from the disease. 

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

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