COVID-19 Live Updates: Abbott Orders Some Travelers To Self-Quarantine; 1st Death In Denton County | KERA News

COVID-19 Live Updates: Abbott Orders Some Travelers To Self-Quarantine; 1st Death In Denton County

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Get live updates throughout the day on how COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is affecting North Texas. 

Friday, March 27

9:22 a.m. - National Guard Helps With Coronavirus Outbreak In Dallas County 

Dallas County residents may begin seeing military vans in the county.

County Judge Clay Jenkins said don't be alarmed. It's only health care workers from the National Guard. 

"They will be going door to door in neighborhoods doing contact tracing," Jenkins told reporters. "In other words, if a person gets sick and they were around other people, then we have to do disease detective work."

Thursday, March 26

Gov. Abbott Issues Executive Order Quarantining Some Out-Of-State Travelers 

In a press conference on Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced an executive order requiring travelers  from New Jersey, New York, New Orleans or Connecticut to quarantine themselves upon arriving in Texas.

Travelers from these states must remain in quarantine for at least 14 days or the duration of their trip, whichever is shorter.

Arlington ISD Closed Indefinitely

Arlington Independent School District announced Wednesday schools will be closed indefinitely in response to COVID-19.

The district has begun a student meal program providing breakfast and lunch weekdays for students at 23 locations. They’ve also launched the At-Home Learning Hub, an online learning program to keep students engaged.

Denton County Reports 1st COVID-19 Related Death & 13 Additional Cases

Denton County Public Health (DCPH) is reporting the first COVID-19 related death in the county. The patient was a man in his 40s from Lewisville who was hospitalized in Denton County. Officials said in a statement he was the county’s first case of community transmitted COVID-19. 

“Today, as we announce the first death related to COVID-19, we want to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the individual,” Denton County Judge Andy Eads said in a statement. “I also want to firmly reiterate the importance of heeding the mandatory stay-at-home order Denton County issued this week. We need everyone to heed these orders and stay home. This virus spreads easily and can lead to severe symptoms and death. 

DCPH also announced 13 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19. This increases the countywide total to 83 cases.

1:20 p.m. - Fort Worth Public Health Emergency In Place Until April 7

The city of Fort Worth's public health declaration will be in place until April 7.

The Fort Worth Police Department put out a statement on Thursday correcting “numerous and false claims” that the department is enforcing the city’s stay-at-home declaration by pulling drivers over and asking for documentation. 

“The department is not and will not enforce these types of traffic stops,” the statement said. “If an officer makes a traffic stop, it will be for an observed traffic violation or for investigation of another criminal offense.” 

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect the correct date Fort Worth's public health declaration is currently set to expire. That date is April 7. 

Sheltering In Place? Try Some Virtual North Texas Arts And Entertainment 

If you’ve been bingeing on Netflix and Amazon Prime, you might want to take a sec to appreciate how artists — actors, directors, writers, costume designers, cinematographers — have been helping you get through this current crisis. 

So here’s our partial (let’s call it curated) list of North Texas artists, arts organizations, parks, bookstores and music performances you can access via the web.

Read more on Art&Seek.

11:52 a.m. - North Texas Counties Announce New Cases

Dallas County Health and Human Services reported 56 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in the county to 303 with 7 total deaths. Collin County reported 13 new cases to make a total case count of 66 and Tarrant County announced 10 new cases for a total case count of 100. 

The seventh death in Dallas is a woman in her 90’s who was a resident of the county. She was critically ill in the hospital and did not have other high-risk chronic health conditions. 

Almost two-thirds or 67% of cases that have required hospitalization to date have been over the age of 60 or have had a known high-risk chronic health condition, according to Dallas County’s website

USDA Loosens Requirements So Texas Schools Can Continue To Provide Student Meals

The Texas Department of Agriculture announced the USDA approved waivers that will enable Texas schools to continue providing meals to children, including a change that will allow parents to pick up meals without their child present. 

Federal law previously required a child to be present in order for a parent to grab a meal. But now with shelter-in-place and social distancing regulations, children can stay at home and avoid the “unnecessary risk” of visiting feeding sites. 

"This will bring a huge sigh of relief for Texas parents," said Sid Miller, the agriculture commissioner at the Texas Department of Agriculture. "We didn't want federal guidelines to put children at risk, or add any more burdens to their parents.” 

Another waiver will allow schools to provide meals that might not fulfill the requirement that each meal include the components of dairy, grain, protein, and fruit or vegetable. 

"Normally, these regulations are in place to make sure children get the best, most healthy meal possible,” Miller said. “But as schools and families struggle to adjust to this COVID-19 crisis, we will do all we can to make sure these kids get fed no matter what."

Read More: What's Been Happening In Previous Days