COVID-19 In DFW June 21-27: Gov. Abbott Pauses Reopening, Closes Bars Again | KERA News

COVID-19 In DFW June 21-27: Gov. Abbott Pauses Reopening, Closes Bars Again

Jun 28, 2020

On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered bars that receive 50% of their income from alcohol sales to close. This move comes after Abbott stopped the state’s reopening  and suspended elective surgeries in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties amid surging COVID-19 cases. 

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

Saturday, June 27

Dallas County Reports 561 New Cases, 7 Deaths

Dallas County Health and Human Services reports Saturday a new high number of positive cases — 561. Seven deaths are also reported. They are:

  • An Irving man in his 40s. He had been critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 50s who had been critically ill in an area hospital and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 50s who had been critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 70s who had been critically ill in an area hospital but did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Farmers Branch woman in her 70s who had been critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • An Irving man in his 80s who was a resident of a long-term care facility. He had been critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Seagoville woman in her 90s who was a resident of a long-term care facility. She had been critically ill in an area hospital and had underlying high risk health conditions.

Tarrant County Reports 377 New Cases

Tarrant County Public Health is reporting 377 new cases and two COVID-19-related deaths.

The deceased include a Haltom City man in his 30s and a Saginaw man in his 50s. It’s not known if either had underlying health conditions.

Collin County Reports 139 New Cases, 1 Death

Collin County Public Health is reporting 139 new cases on Saturday and one death.

Public health authorities reported the death of a 91-year-old Plano woman Friday afternoon, hospitalized with underlying health conditions and COVID-19. She was a resident of resident of Arbor Hills Memory Care in Plano.

Denton County Reports 49 New Cases

Denton County Public Health reports Saturday 49 new cases of COVID-19. This increases the countywide total to 2,630.

Friday, June 26

Gov. Abbott Closes Bars & Wineries

The windows of the bar The Nines in Deep Ellum remain boarded up. They’ve been like this since the start of the pandemic. 

Even when bars across the state of Texas reopened five weeks ago, The Nines’ owner Allen Falkner said he left them up because he expected another shutdown. 

“I knew this was going to happen and I’m glad I did,” he said.

On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered bars that receive 50% of their income from alcohol sales to close. This move comes after Abbott stopped the state’s reopening amid surging cases of COVID-19. 

Falkner said even though he expected another shutdown, he didn’t think it would happen so soon. 

“As a business owner, it’s frustrating. Especially since we had zero warning,” he said. “We got a big liquor order this week. A week's notice, a couple weeks' notice sure would have been nice.”

The governor’s order is also affecting local wineries.

Read the full story KERA's Alejandra Martinez

Tarrant County Announces 343 New Cases, 4 Deaths 

Another 343 cases brings the countywide total to 10,706. All four patients who died had underlying health conditions including: a Fort Worth man in his 40s, a Fort Worth man in his 70s, a Fort Worth woman in her 60s and an Arlington man in his 60s.

87 New Cases In Denton County 

There are 87 more cases in the county, bringing the countywide total to 2,581. Three newly-recovered cases of COVID-19 have also been reported - that raises the countywide number of recoveries to 1,100. 

Federal Government Extends COVID-19 Testing Support For City Of Dallas

Governor Abbott announced on Friday that federal support for COVID-19 testing in Dallas will continue beyond June. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have helped supply 2,000 daily tests for the city. 

While federal support was set to end in June, the extension will provide two additional weeks of support. Local, state and federal officials will remain in close contact to consider testing needs beyond the 14-day extension. 

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said he was “heartened” and “relieved” by the news. 

“Federal testing support has been critical to our response to this pandemic," Johnson said. "Our ability to identify and isolate COVID-19 cases is especially important as we have seen our numbers move in the wrong direction. I want to thank Secretary Alex Azar, Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, members of our Congressional delegation, and Governor Abbott for their advocacy on this vitally important matter."

Adjustments will be made to Dallas testing sites. While the American Airlines Center is still set to close after June 30, the Ellis Davis Field House drive-through site will double its testing capacity to 1,000 tests a day. A new site will also open July 1 at the University of Dallas in Irving, which will have the capacity to distribute 500 tests a day. 

Dallas COVID-19 Health and Healthcare Access Czar Dr. Kelvin Baggett has also been working to open Neighborhood Testing Centers. Two sites are now available at Paul Quinn College and Sam Tasby Middle School in Vickery Meadow.

Dallas County Reports Record-Breaking 496 New Cases, 10 Deaths 

A new daily high of 496 cases in the county brings the total case count to 19,034. More than half of cases since June 1 have been patients between the ages of 18 and 39. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement that he thinks Gov. Abbott's new mitigation efforts are a good step forward, but more needs to be done.

“I’m pleased that the Governor agreed with local leaders and healthcare leaders to close bars and issue some common sense requirements at the state level to curb crowd size and help slow the progression,” he said. “In order to have our best chance to slow the second wave, much more is needed at the state level, including the restoration of the powers of local leaders that were taken on May 1st.” 

Jenkins also urged Dallas residents to take precautions and prevent the spread of the virus going into the July 4 holiday weekend. 

“This country and this community has been through a lot together and if we stick together, showing grace towards one another by wearing our masks and making good decisions for ourselves, our families and our employees, we will get through this and will keep our economy moving and our residents safe,” he said. “But, it takes all of us, particularly as we look at coming into a major holiday weekend in eight days,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.” 

Ten more deaths were reported today:

  • A man in his 50s 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 50s who was a resident of the City of Garland. 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 Irving. 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 a long-term care facility in the City of Mesquite. He had been hospitalized.
  • A man in his 60s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He was found deceased at home, 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 man in his 80s 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 80s 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 woman in her 80s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Duncanville. She had been hospitalized, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 80s who was a resident of the City of Farmers Branch. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.

Collin County Reports Deaths Of 77-Year-Old Melissa Woman 

A 77-year-old Melissa woman with an underlying health condition became the 41st death on Wednesday at a McKinney hospital. 

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 46 new cases, which brought the countywide total to 2,532. 

Governor Abbott Planning More Policies To Address Spike In Cases

Gov. Greg Abbott says he plans to issue more executive orders to address the growing number of coronavirus cases in Texas, which hit another record high Thursday with 5,996 confirmed new infections.

"You should anticipate more orders coming out in the coming days as we continue to focus on what are the best strategies we can employ to protect the health and safety of our fellow Texans," Abbott told KAVU-TV in Victoria Thursday.

Yesterday, the governor paused plans to further reopen the state's economy and halted elective surgeries in four major counties to free up beds for COVID-19 patients.

Dallas County, Parkland Launch Contact Tracing Text Tool

Dallas County and Parkland Hospital have introduced a texting tool to help with contact tracing. Officials are calling it one way to help contain the spread of coronavirus as counties and the state see a surge in cases and hospitalizations.

With the county’s tool, a person would get a text message if they test positive for coronavirus, asking them to fill out a survey about who they have been close to for an extended length of time. 

The survey is available in English and Spanish

“We want everyone to know, if you get this text, please click on the link and fill out the information,” said Dr. Philip Huang, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services. “It’s going to be important for all of us to get this information and to find those contacts and to notify them.” 

The information goes to Parkland and the County Health Department, and officials say the data are strictly confidential. 

The survey tool is a pilot program that started on Monday. Since then, about 955 surveys have gone out and over half of recipients have responded, at least partially, according to Brett Moran, chief medical information officer at Parkland Hospital. Twelve percent of respondents have completely filled out a survey.

The tool, Moran said, is “by no means” a replacement for manual contact tracing. Officials simply hope to lighten the information-gathering load on contact tracing staff.

“If a contact tracer team works 12 hours a day, seven days a week, you would still need over 1,300 contact tracers to do the work to support the number of COVID cases that we have,” Moran said. 

The Dallas County Commissioners have approved funding for 260 contact tracers. At Thursday’s press conference, Huang said 60 tracers have finished the hiring process.

Thursday, June 25

Dallas County, Parkland Launch Contact Tracing Text Tool

Dallas County and Parkland Hospital have introduced a texting tool to help with contact tracing. Officials are calling it one way to help contain the spread of coronavirus as counties and the state see a surge in cases and hospitalizations.

With the county’s tool, a person would get a text message if they test positive for coronavirus, asking them to fill out a survey about who they have been close to for an extended length of time. 

The survey is available in English and Spanish

“We want everyone to know, if you get this text, please click on the link and fill out the information,” said Dr. Philip Huang, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services. “It’s going to be important for all of us to get this information and to find those contacts and to notify them.” 

The information goes to Parkland and the County Health Department, and officials say the data are strictly confidential. 

The survey tool is a pilot program that started on Monday. Since then, about 955 surveys have gone out and over half of recipients have responded, at least partially, according to Brett Moran, chief medical information officer at Parkland Hospital. Twelve percent of respondents have completely filled out a survey.

The tool, Moran said, is “by no means” a replacement for manual contact tracing. Officials simply hope to lighten the information-gathering load on contact tracing staff.

“If a contact tracer team works 12 hours a day, seven days a week, you would still need over 1,300 contact tracers to do the work to support the number of COVID cases that we have,” Moran said. 

The Dallas County Commissioners have approved funding for 260 contact tracers. At Thursday’s press conference, Huang said 60 tracers have finished the hiring process.

Dallas County Reports 403 New Cases, Increased Spread In Childcare Facilities And Young People

Another 403 cases today brought the daily total in the county to 18,538. Over 31 cases in children and staff have been reported at 18 different childcare facilities since June 1. There are also a growing number of cases in young people between the ages of 18 and 39. 

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins called Gov. Abbott’s decision to stop elective surgeries “necessary”. He also urged the Governor to implement a statewide mask-wearing requirement: 

“Today the Governor stopped elective surgeries in hospitals in Dallas County and this will increase hospital capacity, as less people will need beds to recuperate from elective surgery. This move was necessary due to the wave of new COVID-19 cases we are seeing that are beginning to fill up the hospitals.

Additionally, I am encouraging our surrounding counties to institute a requirement on businesses to ensure the wearing of face masks and am calling on the Governor to make the face mask ordinance statewide. I’m also calling on the Governor to make the recommendations in the Open Texas documents into requirements, if not statewide, then at least for the counties and regions like DFW and the Harris County metro area.”

Six more deaths were reported in the county:

  • A man in his 60s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He had been hospitalized, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. She expired in an area hospital ED, and did not have 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 did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 80s 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 80s 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.
  • 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.

77 New Cases In Denton County 

An additional 77 cases today brings the countywide total to 2,494. Another 10 patients recovered from the virus today — that raises the recovery total in the county to 1,097. 

City Of Dallas Will Dismiss Curfew Charges Against Protesters

The City of Dallas announced that it will dismiss curfew citations issued to protesters May 29-30. Dallas Chief Renee Hall said the decision does not apply to those who face charges involving rioting, burglary and other misdemeanors. 

“Those individuals endangered whole neighborhoods, both people and property,” Chief Hall said.

She said she hopes the dismissals will be a sign to the community. 

“We have always and still value the right to protest, especially now,” she said. “Hopefully, this will be viewed as a restorative action and help open the lines of communications with our myriad communities who are hopeful and deserving of real change.” 

Tarrant County Reports Highest Daily Total Cases In North Texas, 3 Deaths 

There are 517 new cases in the county today - that's the highest daily total recorded in North Texas to date. Today's cases bring the total number of cases in the county to 10,363. 

Three deaths were announced today of patients who were all from Arlington and had underlying health conditions: a woman in her 80s, a man in his 60s and a man in his 80s. 

The latest deaths bring the total in the county to 218.

Free Summer Meal Program Offered By Texans Can Academies

This summer, children up to the age of 18 can pick up free breakfast and lunch through the Texans Can Academies’ meal program. 

The program will run from July 31, Monday through Thursday. Breakfast will be served from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Food will be distributed until supplies run out at the following school locations: 

  • Texans Can Academy - Dallas Grant East (2901 Morgan Drive, Dallas, TX 75241)
  • Texans Can Academy - Dallas Oak Cliff (325 W. 12th Street, Dallas, TX 75208)
  • Texans Can Academy - Dallas Pleasant Grove (1227 N. Masters, Dallas, TX 75217)
  • Texans Can Academy - Fort Worth Westcreek (6620 Westcreek, Fort Worth, TX 76133)

Dallas Mayor Says For Now, Kay Bailey Hutchison Center Will Not Be Used As A Pop-Up Hospital

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Center will not be used as a pop-up hospital for now, Mayor Eric Johnson said on Thursday. 

With COVID-19 hospitalizations rising in the county, local leaders have discussed the possibility of using the center as a facility to treat patients. 

In April, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas National Guard helped prepare the facility to be used as an alternate medical facility if hospitals did not have room to house patients. 

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said on Wednesday that COVID-19 hospitalizations are up 88% since June 1. 

Collin County Announces Death Of 51-Year-Old McKinney Man

A 51-year-old McKinney man with an underlying health condition became the county’s 40th death late Tuesday at a McKinney hospital. 

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 2,449 total cases in the county. 

Face Masks Required At Tarrant County Businesses

Face coverings will be required at all Tarrant County businesses. County Judge Glen Whitley is issuing a countywide executive order will go into effect at 6 p.m. Friday.

Read the full updated order.

Gov. Abbott Pausing Additional Texas Reopening Phases

Gov. Greg Abbott announced today the state will pause any further phases to reopen Texas. The governor's office says businesses that are permitted to open under the previous phases can continue to operate at the designated occupancy levels and under the minimum standard health protocols provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Abbott is also suspending elective surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties. 

That order's goal is to ensure hospital bed availability for COVID-19 patients as Texas faces an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

“As Texas faces a rise in COVID-19 cases, we are focused on both slowing the spread of this virus and maintaining sufficient hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients,” said Abbott said in a statement. “These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients.”

Read The Full Order.

Read more from The Texas Tribune.

City Officials Consider Reopening Temporary Hospital At Dallas Convention Center

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson says city officials and the DFW Hospital Council will meet today about possibly setting up a temporary medical facility at the Convention Center in downtown. 

"COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in Dallas County," Johnson said. "The data is clear, our case numbers and our hospitalization numbers, which we have been tracking daily, are headed in the wrong direction."

Cruz And Cornyn Urge Continued Federal Support for Testing Sites in Texas

Today, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen.John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Pete Gaynor urging them to continue the federal support for Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) in Texas.

“In the last two weeks, daily new cases, the overall positivity rate, and hospitalizations in Texas have all increased. Some of the state’s largest cities where these CBTS sites are located are experiencing single-day records of new cases," they said in the letter. "Now is not the time to end a program that is working and successfully increasing testing capacity — especially for underserved communities in the state. Due to the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in Texas, cities need additional time to prepare for the transition to state and local control of the testing sites.”

North Texas Children's Hospitals Monitoring Rise In Cases

In Houston, the country's largest pediatric hospital says it'll start admitting adult COVID-19 patients after a surge of hospitalizations.

As coronavirus cases increase across North Texas, local children's hospitals are monitoring the situation.

Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth doesn't have plans to start admitting adult patients.

Spokesperson Kim Brown said Cook Children's is ready to help other hospitals if needed, but so far no one's reached out to ask for assistance.

In Dallas, at Medical City Children's Hospital, spokesperson Kelly Hanes says its facility shares a campus with Medical City Dallas, so both adults and children can be treated.

A representative for Children's Health in Dallas said the hospital is monitoring the increase in COVID-19 cases as well as the need for hospital beds in North Texas, to continue to providing care to the community.

Wednesday, June 24

Denton County Reports 1 Death, Hits A Single-Day High With 115 New Cases

The new-case count in Denton County hit 115 today; that's the most so far in a single day, and it pushed the county's total count so far to 2,417. One new death, Denton County's 37th, was reported: a Lewisville man in his 40s.

Clay Jenkins Urges Gov. Abbott To Take Action As Dallas County Reports 391 New Cases 

With 391 new cases, Dallas County reached a total case count of 18,135. The number of hospitalizations in the county continues to grow, and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issued a statement urging Gov. Greg Abbott to take action statewide:

“Today’s number of hospitalizations and new COVID-19 cases continues a disturbing trend of a surge of a second wave increase of COVID-19. We need the Governor to either implement statewide the rules that, along with business and health, came up with early on when urban counties were in charge of the state’s response that did a good job of curbing the spread, or go back to allowing the flexibility to counties to do that. Because of all of the mixed messaging and confusion over the last six weeks, it would be best if there was a statewide plan on issues such as masking, workplace separation, workplace safety and limiting the number of people in facilities and at gatherings."

Four more deaths were reported in Dallas County:

  • A Grand Prairie man in his 60s who'd been critically ill in a hospital and had underlying high-risk health conditions.
  • A Cedar Hill man in his 80s who had been hospitalized and had high-risk conditions.
  • A Grand Prairie woman in her 80s who'd been critically ill in a hospital and had high-risk conditions.
  • A Dallas woman in her 80s who died in an hospital emergency department and had high-risk conditions.

460 New Cases In Tarrant County

Four new deaths and 460 additional cases were reported in Tarrant County, raising the case count to 9,846. All four people who died had underlying health conditions: two Fort Worth women in their 60s, a North Richland Hills man in his 40s and a Keller woman in her 70s.

Collin County Has 90 New Cases, One Death

An 81-year-old Anna man with COVID-19 and an underlying health condition became Collin County's 39th death early Tuesday morning at a McKinney hospital. 

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 90 new cases, bringing the total case count in the county to 2,449.

DART Announces Frontline Workers Will Receive 'Hero Pay' 

In a meeting on Tuesday, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Board of Directors approved $4.3 million in what it calls "hero pay" for frontline workers. 

Each eligible employee will get $150 per week for the eight weeks from April 2-May 31, when the state issued stay-at-home orders and the reopening of businesses at 25% capacity. 

Over 2,900 DART employees may be eligible for the "hero pay" package. They include employees whose work posed a hazard and involved direct interaction with the public. DART employees who worked remotely or were not working in hazardous conditions are not eligible. 

Dallas Mayor Urges Residents To Wear Masks, Continue Social Distancing As Cases Surge

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the city is on the wrong path as COVID-19 surges across North Texas.

On Tuesday, 5,000 more cases were reported across the state — the most ever in a day.

"We need to not allow mask wearing to continue to be politicized,” Johnson told CNN. “I can't emphasize enough — it is the number-one defense we have against the spread of this disease is wearing a mask when you have to go out in public. Do not allow this to become a partisan issue. It is common sense and it is going to save lives.”

The mayor also made another call for social distancing.

"I'm avoiding large gatherings to the extent that I can,” he said. “My family is doing that, we're not doing large 4th of July events. We're not going to bars right now, we are trying to keep this situation in Dallas from going further down the wrong path, which it currently is on.”

Medical officials are reporting more than 120,000 cases of COVID-19 across Texas and more than 2,200 deaths.

Texas Has Another Day of Record Cases Tuesday

Texas set another record single-day high for new coronavirus cases. Nearly 5,500 positive test results reported yesterday.

Gov. Greg Abbott spoke about this on Bryan TV station KBTX.

“Because the spread is so rampant right now, there’s never a reason for you to leave your home unless you do need to go out," Abbott said. "The safest place for your is at your home.”

Abbott also announced local officials can now restrict gatherings of more than 100 people. The previous limit was 500.

The Governor also directed state health officials to enact new emergency rules for child care centers that were rolled back last week.

How Abusers Use Finances And Coronavirus To Control Victims

The coronavirus outbreak has coincided with a surge in domestic violence calls, launching what some have called a “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence across the world. 

KERA looked at the heightened violence in Tarrant County, which has seen more intimate partner violence homicides since March than it did in all of 2019, and chronicled life in a domestic violence shelter when the pandemic hit North Texas through the experience of one survivor. 

As part of KERA’s One Crisis Away series, which explores financial instability, reporter Christopher Connelly and editor Courtney Collins discussed the way that many victims of domestic violence are confronted with poverty when attempting to leave their abusers, because of economic abuse that coincided with violence in their relationship.

Read a full transcript of their conversation and learn more about financial abuse.

AT&T Performing Arts Center Furloughs, Pay Cuts To Start July 1

AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas will furlough dozens of workers as it heads into a fifth month without live programming.

Beginning July 1, the Center's temporarily furloughing 31 full-time employees — though they'll keep health benefits.

CEO Debbie Storey said all remaining staff will have their pay cut by 20%.

“From a financial standpoint, the majority of arts organization have less than four months of cash on hand," Storey said. "When you’re faced with months without any revenue whatsoever, you have to significantly reduce expenses, and that’s all you can do to survive.”

This latest move follows several cost-cutting measures the Center took in April including furloughing 33 part-time workers and reducing pay for the organization's leadership team.

Read more from Art&Seek's Miguel Perez.

Tuesday, June 23

Dallas County Reports 445 New Cases, Record-Breaking Number Of Hospitalizations

Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 445 additional cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in the county to 17,744. 

The additional seven deaths reported today include: 

  • A man in his 40s 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 man in his 50s 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 man in his 60s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He was found deceased at home, and did not have 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 woman in her 60s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in 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 Mesquite. He expired in the facility, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 80s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He had been hospitalized.

“Today’s numbers continue all-time highs. In the region, we are above 1,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations for the first time, and in Dallas County, we are experiencing our highest COVID-19 hospitalizations thus far,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. 

More than two-thirds of hospitalizations have been under the age of 65 and about half do not have any high-risk chronic health conditions. 

Jenkins said the county is “seeing a second wave of COVID-19 cases” and that the number of new cases today is 225 cases higher than on June 1.

111 New Cases In Collin County 

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services reported 111 new cases in Collin County, bringing the total case count in the area to 2,359. There have been 38 COVID-19 related deaths in the county. 

Tarrant County Reports 260 New Cases 

Tarrant County Public Health announced 260 additional cases, bringing the total case count in the county to 9,386. There have been 211 deaths related to COVID-19 in the county. 

83 Additional Cases In Denton County 

There are 83 more cases of COVID-19 in the county, raising the total case count to 2,302. Public health officials also announced 11 newly-recovered cases of COVID-19.

City Of Dallas Launches Dallas Forward Initiative To Help Local Businesses

The key to keeping the economy open during the coronavirus pandemic is addressing businesses' access to medical supplies, announced city of Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson at the Dallas Economic Recovery Task Force’s launch of Dallas Forward. 

The new initiative, Dallas Forward, will help small and medium-sized businesses that are struggling during this time. 

“The economy won’t open up or recover any faster than we are able to get the public health aspect of this problem under control,” said Johnson. “The PPE portion of this is hugely important because unless people feel like it's safe to reengage in the economy on the level they were before, we won’t get this economy back on track.”

Dallas Forward will provide access to Personal Protective Equipment and a resource hub for businesses wanting to apply for grant and loan applications.

Johnson promises long term inclusive growth and a growing list of economic relief resources.

“Those who have the most should do the most,” said Fred Perpall, chairman of the Dallas Citizens Council and CEO of The Beck Group and Dallas Task Force member.

Dallas Forward is taking PPE donations.

Tarrant County Dedicates $30 Million In Grants To Small Businesses

Tarrant County small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for grants funded by the CARES Act.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports Tarrant County has dedicated about $30 million in federal coronavirus relief mony to its small business assistance grant program.

Businesses are eligible if they have 25 or fewer full-time employees and had to close or partially close because of the pandemic.

However, businesses in the city of Fort Worth are excluded because they are eligible for separate funding through the city. 

Texas Blood Bank Tries To Ease Shortage With New Perk: COVID-19 Antibody Testing

Some blood banks in North Texas are worried about a blood shortage. They're now offering COVID-19 antibody tests as an added service and incentive to donate.

Carter BloodCare, which operates in North, East and Central Texas, said in a press release that it's experiencing "the most prolonged period of a critical blood shortage in recent history."

Dr. Laurie Sutor, Carter's vice president of medical and technical services, said blood is going out the door as fast as it's coming in, and hospitals don't have as much of a stockpile as they'd like.

"If we were to have a big bleeder in a hospital, or a bad traffic accident, or some catastrophe, then we might not have the blood inventory in place for meeting the needs of the patients," Sutor said. 

Hoping to appeal to donors' curiosity, Carter is now offering COVID-19 antibody tests that look for proteins the body makes in response to an infection.

Read more from KERA's Miranda Suarez.

AT&T Performing Arts Center Announces More Furloughs, Pay Cuts

Another arts organization has announced furloughs and pay cuts stemming from loss of revenue because of the pandemic.

The Dallas Morning News reports furloughs at AT&T Performing Arts Center will affect 31 full-time workers. That's in addition to 33 part-time employees furloughed in April. Altogether, that's more than half of the center's staff.

CEO Debbie Storey said salaries of all remaining staff members will be reduced to 80% of regular pay. Story's already cutback her own salary in half. The rest of her leadership team took “varying levels of pay cuts” in May.

Storey said the AT&T Performing Arts Center has had no revenue since March 13th and fall's uncertain.

Baylor Confirms 8 Athletes Have Tested Positive For Coronavirus

Eight athletes at Baylor University have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of voluntary workouts and conditioning on campus.

The Dallas Morning News reports half of the eight are showing symptoms, while the other half are asymptomatic.

Baylor conducted 109 tests on student-athletes returning to campus. All are now in self-isolation.

Meanwhile, four members of the University of North Texas athletic department have also tested positive for the virus.

Three are members of the UNT staff. The fourth is a student-athlete.

Earlier this month, UNT officials announced three football players tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.

The University of Texas, SMU and A&M have also announced cases.

Monday, June 22

Abbott Says COVID-19 Is Spreading At An 'Unacceptable' Rate, But Shutting Back Down Is A Last Resort

As coronavirus hospitalizations and cases continue to rise in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott is urging people to wear masks and follow other health protocols to slow the spread of the disease. 

“COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas, and it must be corralled,” he said during a news conference Monday.

Abbott highlighted three data points that demonstrate the increase in spread: new cases, the positivity rate and hospitalizations.

Texas was seeing an average of 1,500 new positive cases a day in the last half of May; in the last few days, the average has been more than 3,500 new cases per day. 

Read more from KUT News

Dallas County Reports Record-Breaking 454 New Cases 

Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 454 additional cases of COVID-19, raising the case count in the county to 17,299. 

The additional 3 deaths being reported today include:

  • A man in his 30s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He was found deceased at home, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 40s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He had been hospitalized, 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.

“Today we’ve seen the largest number of new COVID-19 cases ever reported in Dallas County, a 10% jump from our past highest day,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a press release. 

Jenkins also said hospitalizations have jumped 54% since June 1. 

“As I’ve said before, think of hospitalizations like the tip of the iceberg you see above the water and know that for that tip to grow by 54% since the beginning of this month, the iceberg below it must have grown exponentially,” he said. 

Denton County Announces 56 New Cases

Denton County Public Health reported 56 additional cases, bringing the total case count in the county to 2,219. Public health officials also reported 13 newly-recovered cases of COVID-19.

A free drive-thru COVID-19 testing center in Lewisville will be open Friday, June 26. The testing center will be held at Lewisville High School at 1098 W. Main Street from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Community members who are eligible for testing include those who have had symptoms of COVID-19 within the past seven days, essential employees, individuals 60 years and older, as well as individuals who have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. All community members must call to pre-register for testing at 940-349-2585. 

31 New Cases In Collin County

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 31 additional cases in Collin County, bringing the total case count in the area to 2,250. There have been 38 COVID-19-related deaths in the county. 

171 New Cases In Tarrant County

The county’s 171 additional cases brings the county total to 9,126. There have been 210 COVID-19-related deaths in Tarrant. 

Gov. Abbott To Hold Press Conference Monday Afternoon

The Governor will hold a press conference this afternoon at 2 p.m. on the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Texas Tribune reports Greg Abbott's update will follow a weekend of record-setting coronavirus figures.

Yesterday Texas reported its 10th consecutive day of record-high hospitalizations. Also, the second-highest number of new coronavirus cases to date.

Chris Van Deusen with the State Health Services department said part of the increase stems from Texans going to bars, beaches, rivers and other social gatherings.

The state’s latest reopening guidelines allow restaurants to operate at 75% capacity and bars at 50% capacity.

State Agency To Release Guidlines For Schools Reopening This Fall

The Texas Education Agency will release additional guidelines this week for schools districts reopening in the fall.

This comes after Governor Abbott announced students can return to the classroom - but teachers aren't really prepared to head back to school.

Zeph Capho is the President of the Texas American Federation of Teachers. He says the governor's announcement isn't detailed enough for teachers and school districts to plan around.

"Their response elicits more questions than we have answers to. Ok, students are coming back in the fall what do you mean by that? Do you mean business as usual?" Capho said. "Do you mean school districts can come up with a plan to make sure all kids can get back at some point or as many kids can get back at some point?"

The state will not require school districts to mandate staff and students to wear masks.

3 Local Bars Closed Temporarily For COVID-19 Violations

Permits for three Dallas-Fort Worth area bars have been suspended 30 days for violating protocols meant to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Harris House of Heroes on McKinney Avenue, Marty's Live on Maple Avenue and The New PR's in Fort Worth are on the list of 12 bars across the state caught in an undercover investigation named Operation Safe Open.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission requires bars to limit capacity to 50%. They also have to main social distancing of at least 6 feet between each customer. 

Cruises On Hold Until At Least September

Carnival Cruise Lines had planned to restart trips from Texas and Florida in August. That's now delayed until mid-September.

The current no-sail order issued by the CDC because of the pandemic expires July 24 — but The Cruise Lines International Association says all cruise lines have decided to voluntarily prolong the pause until September 15.

The organization says companies need time " to resolve barriers with U.S. authorities to restart sailing."

Sunday, June 21

Tarrant County Reports 444 New Cases, A Single-Day Record

The county's 444 reported new cases brings its accumulative total to 8,955. It's the highest one-day total in Tarrant County since the pandemic began. 

Dallas County Adds 408 Additional Positive Cases

Dallas County added 408 additional cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the total number — recovered, active and deaths — to 16,845. One death, a woman in her 60s in the city of Dallas, was reported, bringing the death total to 314.

Dallas County Health and Human Services also announced that since June 1, almost half of all cases in the county have been young adults between the ages of 18 to 39. Other stats reported by the county include:

• Of cases requiring hospitalization, over 80% have been critical infrastructure workers.
• More than two-thirds of those cases have been under 65 years of age.
• About half have no high-risk chronic health conditions.
• The age-adjusted rates of confirmed COVID-19 cases in non-hospitalized patients have been highest among Latinos.

Denton County Adds 50 New Cases To Total

Denton County announced 50 new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing its cumulative total to 2,163.

This Tuesday, June 23, Denton County Public Health will provide free drive-through testing. Details:

Location: University of North Texas' Union Circle Parking Garage, 350 S. Welch St., in Denton.
Time: 8 a.m. to noon.
Who's eligible: Those who've had symptoms of COVID-19 within the past seven days, essential employees, people 60 years and older or people who have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

You must pre-register by calling 940-349-2585.

Collin County Reports 34 New Cases

The new 34 cases brings the county's accumulative total to 2,223. Over 100 people are hospitalized. The death total remains at 38.

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

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