COVID-19 In DFW Nov. 8-14: Dallas-Based Southwest Airlines Reports Drop In Bookings For The Holidays
The Dallas-based carrier said leisure-travel bookings improved slightly in October, but that improvement's fading for flights in November and December. The report is more bad news for the airlines just before the important Thanksgiving holiday, normally a busy travel period.
For the latest news on the pandemic, visit KERA's COVID-19 live updates page.
Sunday, Nov. 14
Dallas County Reports 1,458 New Cases
The upward trend continues as Dallas County Health and Human Services reports 1,458 new positive cases — 1,281 are confirmed and 177 are probable. One death is reported Sunday, a Dallas man in his 50s who had been critically ill in a hospital.
A provisional total of 843 confirmed and probable cases were diagnosed in school-aged children in the past week, and 10 schools were closed to in-person instruction.
1,523 Cases Added In Tarrant County
Tarrant County Public Health is reporting another high number of cases on Sunday — 1,523. One more death is also reported. Tarrant County's total number of cases is now 82,015.
Saturday, Nov. 13
Dallas County Reports 1,543 Cases
Dallas County Health and Human Services is reporting 1,543 additional positive cases on Saturday -- 1,454 confirmed cases and 89 probable cases. The county total now stands at 107,741, with 1,141 deaths.
Not including the week we reported a large backlog in cases from the state’s reporting system, the numbers that we've seen this week are the highest weekly average that we've seen thus far for new COVID cases & today’s total is the highest one day total that we've seen thus far.— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) November 14, 2020
One additional death is reported -- a Dallas man in his 90s who had been critically ill in a hospital and had underlying health risks.
Over the last week, 10 schools in Dallas County temporarily have closed to in-person teaching due to COVID-19 cases.
Tarrant County Reports 1,061 New Cases
Tarrant County Public Health reports 1,061 new cases and three deaths on Saturday.
There have been 80,492 cases and 793 deaths in the county so far.
251 New Cases Reported In Denton County
Denton County Public Health is reporting 251 new cases, 213 of which are active. The county total is now 19,573.
Collin County Adds 167 Cases
According to state data, Collin County added 167 cases on Saturday. That brings the total to 21,431.
Friday, Nov. 13
Dallas County Reports 767 New Cases
There are 767 additional cases in the area, bringing the total to 106,287. Of the cases reported today, 499 are confirmed and 268 are probable cases. The death of a Dallas woman in her 40s was also reported today.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the rise in case numbers “call for swift action on all of our part.”
“I’m asking businesses to institute telecommuting to the fullest extent possible, and in doing so, talk to your employees about the importance to public health, the company, and the economy of avoiding crowds, forgoing the Black Friday shopping throngs, celebrating Thanksgiving with the people that you live with and not going to bars and indoor dining experiences or having get-togethers in friends' homes.”
Jenkins said the county is already at 94% of the peak hospital census in July, according to the DFW Hospital Council.
Tarrant County Expands Testing To Arlington
A new COVID-19 testing site will open at the Arlington ISD Professional Development Center at 1111 W Arbrook Blvd., Arlington, Tx 76105. The new location will open on Saturday and will operate from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
The tests are free, although people will be asked for insurance information. Those without insurance will still receive the testing for free. Appointments are encouraged, but are optional and can be made at https://covidtesting.tarrantcounty.com.
The Saliva Tests are self-administered and testing instructions will be available in Spanish and Vietnamese. Results will be sent via email, text or a phone call and results should be received within 48-72 hours.
Tarrant County reported 1,402 new cases on Friday. There have been 790 total deaths in the county.
234 New Cases In Denton County
Denton County Public Health announced 234 new cases, of which 145 are active cases. This increases the cumulative, countywide total to 19,322. DCPH also reported 166 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 15,485.
230 New Cases In Collin County
The new cases give Collin County a cumulative total of 21,264. There have been 209 total deaths and 19,352 recoveries reported.
Dallas Meat Processing Plant Cited And Fined By OSHA After COVID-19 Outbreak, Deaths
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as OSHA, has cited and fined Quality Sausage Company, a meat processing plant in Dallas for coronavirus-related violations.
OSHA issued Quality Sausage three separate citations and fines totaling more than $25,000 in late October.
The citations are tied to the coronavirus and standards set by OSHA in reporting a death, injury or illness to the government.
One of the standards cited says a company should report to OSHA the death of an employee as a result of a work-related incident within eight hours after the death.
Statewide Job Growth Slows Due To Rise In Cases, According To Dallas Federal Reserve Bank
Texas jobs grew at a rate of 3.6% in the third quarter, significantly lower than the national growth rate of nearly 12%. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says that's largely because of the resurgence of COVID-19 in the state.
Yichen Su is a research economist with the Dallas Fed. He said the rise in coronavirus cases has led to a decline in the employment rate.
"For the year as a whole, Texas employment is projected to decline by 4.2%. The Dallas Fed's Mobility Engagement Index flattened out in October likely due to the rise in COVID-19 cases,” he said.
“The results of the October Texas Service Sector Outlook survey are another indicator showing slowing activities in service and retail."
Su also said uncertainty has risen over the COVID-19 resurgence and the political climate.
The depressed oil market, rising input costs and staffing difficulties are also cited as additional constraining factors for businesses.
Dallas-Based Southwest Airlines Reports Drop In Bookings Amid Holiday Season
A new report from Southwest Airlines indicates the rise in COVID-19 cases around the country is cutting into travel bookings.
The Dallas-based carrier yesterday said leisure-travel bookings improved slightly last month, but that improvement's fading for flights this month and in December.
That's bad news for the airlines just before the important Thanksgiving holiday, normally a busy travel period.
Thursday, Nov. 12
Tarrant County Reports 1,191 Cases
Another 1,191 cases were reported in the area, bringing the total to 78,029. There have been 784 deaths and 59,725 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.
Seven deaths were reported in the area: A Fort Worth woman in her 90s, a Fort Worth man in his 80s, a Lake Worth man in his 70s, a Forest Hill man in his 70s, an Arlington man in his 50s, A Fort Worth man in his 50s and a Fort Worth woman in her 40s.
808 New Cases In Dallas County
There are 808 additional cases in the area, bringing the total to 105,788. Of the cases reported today, 411 are confirmed and 397 are probable cases.
County Judge Clay Jenkins says at the beginning of October, Dallas county was averaging 385 new COVID cases a day, but now the daily average is more than double that number.
"In the last 7 days our daily average has been 1,108 cases a day. In that same time frame we've seen a positivity rate that's increased by 50% in our hospitals, and we've seen hospitalizations increase by nearly 150%" he said.
Dallas Health and Human Services director Philip Huang said all COVID-19 data in the county has increased.
"The COVID cases are increasing dramatically across North Texas. We are extremely concerned about this situation," Huang said. "Here in Dallas we've had over 1,000 cases for three straight days, and hospitalizations are continuing to increase. The seven day average for the last week was 779, much higher numbers than we'd been seeing in prior weeks.."
Huang said the majority of new cases are associated with small and medium sized gatherings, including birthday parties, weddings, as well as gatherings in bars. He said everyone should be cautious and reduce the number of in-person interactions they have with other people.
Jenkins said doctors are recommending that people celebrate Thanksgiving with just those they live with.
Two deaths were reported today: a Mesquite woman in her 50s and a Dallas man in his 70s.
Denton County Reports 196 New Cases
There are now 19,088 cases in the county. The area reported 125 newly-recovered cases, increasing the countywide recovery total to 15,319.
A free drive-thru COVID-19 testing center will be available on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at Westside Baptist Church at 900 Bellaire Blvd in Lewisville. Eligible community members must reside in Denton County, pre-register by calling 940-349-2585, and have not previously tested positive for COVID-19. Pre-registration is required and appointments are available starting at 8 a.m.
Cook Children’s Medical Center To Limit Number Of Visitors Starting Monday
The medical center will limit visitation to one primary caregiver per patient starting Monday, in an effort to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
“We know these measures greatly impact our patient families and mean missed moments between parents and children,” said Stan Davis, chief operating officer at Cook Children’s. “This decision was not made lightly, and was determined to be necessary given the circumstances surrounding the rapid spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
Cook Children’s has reported that it’s experiencing the highest daily number of infected children since the beginning of the pandemic. The seven day rolling positivity rate is 8.3%, up from an average of 5% seen in recent months. Currently, there are also eight confirmed COVID-19 patients at Cook Children’s Medical Center.
Pfizer Vaccine Is Promising But May Not Be Effective Long-Term, Says Baylor Scott and White Researcher
Preliminary data shows Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective.
While that's promising news, Dr. Mezgebe Berhe with Baylor Scott and White said there still isn't enough data to know if the vaccine will be that effective long-term.
“Will this be the only time you would be vaccinated and you will be protected for life?,” he asked. “Or will you need other vaccines in the future? That's the long term effectiveness."
Berhe oversees human trials for the Pfizer vaccine at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas. He said Pfizer will provide more data for the FDA to review at the end of the month.
At that point, the agency will be asked to approve the vaccine for emergency use, meaning it'll only be distributed to front-line workers at first.
Berhe says having a vaccine widely available in the U.S. is still months away. In the meantime, he said the best way to protect against virus transmission is to wear a mask and stay six feet apart from others.
Wednesday, Nov. 11
294 New Cases In Denton County
The number is a record high for new cases reported in a day, according to Denton County Public Health Director Dr. Matt Richardson. The new cases increase the cumulative, countywide total to 18,892. DCPH also reported 180 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 15,194.
“Today, we are reporting both record highs in new COVID-19 cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations,” Richardson said. “We need community members to fully recommit to mask wearing, physical distancing, and making safe decisions to slow the spread within our county. If we want to protect our families, friends, and neighbors, we need to make the right decisions to protect each other now.”
1,304 New Cases In Dallas County
For the third day in a row, new case counts have exceeded 1,200 in Dallas County. The 1,304 new cases brings the cumulative total to 105,377. Three deaths were reported today: a man in his 60s from Dallas, a man in his 70s from Dallas, and a woman in her 80s who lived in a long-term care facility in Dallas.
There were 579 COVID-19 patients in acute care in Dallas County for the period ending Nov. 10, and acute cases went up by 100 over a 24-hour period. The numbers are concerning for Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
"Over the last 10 days, five of those days have been above 1,000 cases a day," he said. "Yesterday, we saw the second biggest jump in hospitalizations for COVID that we've experienced thus far. We are at a very dangerous point in the fight against COVID. We are staring down the barrel of the largest spike that we have seen to date in COVID cases."
Nine Deaths Reported In Tarrant County
The deaths include a woman from Fort Worth in her 80s, a woman from Bedford in her 70s, a man and woman from Fort Worth in their 70s, a woman from Arlington in her 70s, a man from Fort Worth in his 70s, a man and woman from Fort Worth in their 60s, and a man from White Settlement in his 50s.
Tarrant County now has 777 confirmed deaths, and 59,023 people have recovered.
Collin County Reports 428 New Cases
The new cases raise the cumulative total to 20,888 in Collin County. No new deaths were reported, and there are 19,015 recoveries in the county.
Funeral Homes, Hospitals In Parts Of Texas Brace For New Wave Of Coronavirus Infections And Deaths
The number of coronavirus patients in Texas hospitals has nearly doubled since October, and average infections are at their highest point in almost three months — leaving health officials bracing for a potential crush of hospitalizations going into the holidays.
In El Paso, hospitals are so overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients that in early November the Department of Defense sent medical teams to help, and the county has summoned 10 mobile morgues to hold dead bodies. Local funeral homes are readying extra refrigerated storage space, as the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the far West Texas city has shot up nearly tenfold since the start of September.
The new wave of infections stands in contrast to the summer surge, when Gov. Greg Abbottheld regular press conferences about the virus and mandated that face coverings be worn, earning him the ire of the far-right. Now, state officials seem reluctant to crack down on the virus’ spread by further curtailing economic activity — and are fighting the El Paso county judge’s attempt to impose a curfew and a stay-at-home order in the face of record-breaking cases.
Read the full story by The Texas Tribune.
New Plan Focuses On Job Employment In South Dallas
COVID-19 has left many Texans jobless. In Dallas-Fort Worth the unemployment rate went up since September, leaving 8.3% of the region jobless.
The Dallas city council's Workforce, Education, and Equity Committee, which monitors jobs, announced an employment plan for Southern Dallas.
This will provide employment opportunities to residents most in need.
Casey Thomas is the chair of the committee.
"One of the reasons I think this is important is two things: it talks about individuals returning to those particular zip codes," Thomas said. "We are talking about reentering. And not even thinking about individuals who live in those zip codes who have been undereducated, who may not be skilled, have the basic skills that they need."
The project will focus on five zip codes that are located in the communities of South Dallas: Oak Cliff and Pleasant Grove.
The city has identified more than 50 businesses to partner with. They hope the project will be ready to launch by the end of the year.
Tuesday, Nov. 10
Texas Surpasses 1 Million COVID-19 Cases
Texas hit a grim milestone Tuesday, becoming the first state to surpass 1 million cases in the United States. According to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard, there are 1,000,850 cases as of late Tuesday afternoon.
The state is seeing a surge of infections in both urban and rural areas. While some areas have avoided mask mandates, other areas have tried to impose tighter measures to control the spread of the virus.
In particular, El Paso has seen its hospitals become overwhelmed with COVID patients and had to set up four mobile morgues. In response to record case numbers, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego ordered non-essential businesses to close for two weeks starting on Oct. 29, only to have local business owners and the state sue over the order.
1,401 Cases Reported In Dallas County
The 1,401 cases brings the county's cumulative total to 104,451 cases. There were also two deaths reported: a woman in her 60s from Dallas, and a man in his 70s from Dallas. There have been 1,136 total deaths in Dallas County.
“Today’s total of 1,401 new COVID-19 cases is the largest we have ever seen other than days when large backlogs were recorded," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. "Additionally, the preliminary numbers for hospitalizations across both the region and the county show one of the highest one day jumps we have ever seen. Our COVID-19 outbreak is spiking dangerously. We are 7-10 days away from reaching our highest COVID hospitalization census to date if we do not immediately renew our resolve and change our behaviors."
Five Deaths Reported In Tarrant County
The deaths included a man from North Richland Hills in his 80s, a man from Fort Worth in his 60s, a woman from Bedford in her 60s, a man from Arlington in his 50s, and a man from Fort Worth in his 20s.
Tarrant County now has 768 confirmed deaths from the virus and 58,275 people have recovered. There were 925 new cases reported.
209 New Cases, Four Deaths In Denton County
The four deaths include: a man in his 50s from Lewisville, a man in his 80s from The Colony, a woman in her 50s from Lewisville, and a man in his 60s from Denton. There are 142 total deaths in the county. Another 209 positive cases were reported Tuesday, bringing that total to 18,599.
Collin County Has 147 New Cases, 1 Death
The cumulative case total for Collin County is now 20,460 with the 147 cases reported. There are now 201 deaths and 18,700 recoveries total in the county.
Governor Announces Plans To Distribute COVID-19 Treatments
Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the State of Texas has prepared allocation plans to swiftly distribute medicines and vaccines that are now becoming available to treat the virus.
This comes in light of news that antibody treatments have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and that a vaccine is shown to be 90% effective in early tests and could be available in late November.
The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has already developed a Vaccine Distribution Plan and is working with health care providers to enroll in their Immunization Program to be eligible to administer these vaccines once available. More than 2,500 providers have already enrolled in the program. DSHS formed an Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel to develop vaccine allocation strategies.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) is prepared to assist in distributing vaccines and treatments. In late October, TDEM hosted the State of Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Virtual Tabletop Exercise – more than 1,000 local, state, federal, and non-governmental organization partners came together to test the state’s vaccine support plan, understand its operational procedures, and examine their roles and responsibilities.
"Swift distribution of vaccines and medical treatments will begin to heal those suffering from COVID-19, slow the spread of the virus, and aid in reducing hospitalizations of Texans," said Gov. Abbott. "As we anticipate the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, the State of Texas is prepared to quickly distribute those medicines to Texans who voluntarily choose to use them."
Medicaid Expansion Debate Likely To Return To The Texas Statehouse In January
Texas lawmakers expect renewed debate over Medicaid expansion when the state legislature convenes in January. Texas remains one of a dozen states that have not expanded eligibility for the public health insurance program.
State Sen. Chuy Hinojosa said the federal government would cover about 90% of the cost of expanding Medicaid.
"We have the highest uninsurance rate in the nation," Hinojosa said. "And now, with the pandemic, we have an additional 700,000 people uninsured who lost their job."
Hinojosa is a Democrat from McAllen. He spoke at The Texas Tribune's symposium focused on rural Texas.
Researchers estimate 1.2 million Texans could get health insurance if the state expanded Medicaid.
But Republican leaders have opposed expansion for six years, and the party remains in control of the statehouse.
State Rep. Drew Springer of Muenster said expansion is not likely during the 2021 legislative session.
"I think the discussion will always be had, but I don’t see that we’re there yet," he said.
Springer wants to look at other proposals to help struggling rural hospitals and increase access to healthcare for uninsured people.
More than 1 in 6 Texans are uninsured — that's more than double the national uninsured rate.
Collin County Discontinues COVID-19 Dashboard
For months, members of the Collin County commissioners court have been concerned about the quality of the coronavirus case data the county was getting from the state. The court voted this week to remove most of the local COVID-19 case data from its website.
Since August, there's been a bright red disclaimer warning that the data on Collin County's COVID-19 dashboard may be inaccurate. The data comes from the state’s department of Health and Human Services. And for weeks, commissioners have discussed removing its coronavirus dashboard entirely.
After the 3-2 vote, all but the county’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers will be removed from the county website.
Commissioner Cheryl Williams of Richardson supported the decision. She said that by presenting the state’s data on its website, the county was tacitly endorsing its accuracy.
"This data is not data that people should be depending on to make decisions," Williams said. "They just shouldn’t, because it’s so inaccurate."
Commissioner Susan Fletcher of Frisco disagreed. She said the county had an obligation to make public health data available, even if it's imperfect.
"Even if we don’t believe that it is 100% accurate, I still believe there is a fair degree of accuracy, and these numbers that are available," Fletcher said. "They still are the official numbers that the state is providing."
Some of the data will still be publicly available through the state COVID dashboard, but some of the more granular Collin County case data will no longer be accessible once the county stops asking the state to provide it.
New Study Shows Jails And Prisons Hardest Hit In Texas
A new study shows more jail and prison inmates and staff in Texas have been impacted by COVID-19 than in any other state.
The LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas found at least 231 inmates and staff died in Texas prisons and jails of COVID-19.
Also, Texas inmates and staff tested positive for coronavirus virus at a 490% higher rate than the state's general population.
City of Dallas Gives $1 Million To Local United Way To Distribute To Nonprofits Affected By COVID-19
The City of Dallas' Office of Community Care has awarded $1 million to the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. The funding will be distributed to nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizations can get grants ranging from $5,000 to $30,000.
The grants are meant to support operational expenses like rent, utilities, staff salaries and benefits, as well as cleaning and program supplies for the pandemic.
City officials say the pandemic has led to a greater demand for services from nonprofits, but it's a tough time for the agencies to generate revenue.
To be eligible, the organization must be a nonprofit located within the city of Dallas that provides direct services to clients.
Applications will be accepted until Friday and eligible groups can apply via the United Way of metropolitan Dallas website.
Monday, Nov. 9
Rural Communities Across The State Hard-Hit
Multiple cities across Texas are now seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases, but the virus is hitting rural communities especially hard.
Dr. James McDeavitt is senior vice president and dean of clinical affairs at Baylor College of Medicine.
“If you look at smaller communities and if you look in particular at the border towns of Texas, we’re seeing impressive growth. El Paso is just getting hammered and their hospitals are getting overrun,” he said.
McDeavitt told public radio's Texas Standard he thinks Texas became less cautious after months without a big surge.
Tarrant County Reports Over 1,500 New Cases
There are 1,525 New COVID-19 cases in Tarrant County today. That brings the cumulative number of cases countywide to 75,161, including 763 deaths.
Nearly 58,000 residents have recovered from the disease.
Over 1,200 New Cases, 2 More Deaths In Dallas County
Dallas County is reporting 1,248 new cases today, 153 of which are probable. There's been a cumulative total of 103,184 cases in the county, including 1,134 confirmed deaths.
There have been two additional deaths related to the disease in the county. They're described as a two men from Dallas, one in his 40s and one in his 60s. Both had underlying high-risk health conditions.
276 New Cases In Denton County
Denton County reported 276 new cases of COVID-19 cases today, of which 186 are active cases. This increases the cumulative, countywide total to 18,390 cases, including 138 deaths related to the disease.
Denton County Public Health will have free drive-through COVID-19 testing Friday, Nov. 13 at the North Central Texas College Exchange Parking Garage at 319 E. Sycamore St in Denton. Any resident who hasn't previously tested positive for COVID-19 is eligible to be tested. People must call 940-349-2585 to preregister, appointments are available starting at 8 a.m.
Collin County Reports 148 New Cases
There are 148 new COVID-19 cases in Collin County today. This brings the cumulative, countywide total to 20,313 cases, including 200 deaths.
There are currently 1,809 active cases in the county and 18,504 residents have recovered from the disease.
Over 2,500 Kids Tested At Cook Children's Hospital Positive
As of this morning, Cook Children’s has tested 44,991 children for COVID-19 and 2,572 have been positive. There are currently three COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
|7-Day Rolling Positivity Percentage||7.8%|
|Overall Positivity Percentage||5.7%|
Sunday, Nov. 8
Dallas County Reports 848 New Cases
Of the 848 additional cases reported today, 807 are confirmed and 41 are probable cases. Two deaths were reported today of a Dallas man in his 60s and a Dallas woman in her 80s.
Of all confirmed cases requiring hospitalization to date, more than two-thirds have been those under 65. Diabetes has been an underlying high-risk health condition reported in about a third of all hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
456 New Cases In Tarrant County
Another 456 cases were reported in the area, raising the total to 73,636. There have been 763 deaths and 57,303 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.
Three deaths were reported today including two Fort Worth men in their 60s and a Fort Worth man in his 50s.
Collin County Reports 355 New Cases
There are 355 additional cases in the area, bringing the total to 20,165. There have been 200 deaths and 186 people who have been hospitalized.
KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.