COVID-19 Live Updates: Dallas County Reports 72 New Cases; Denton County: 11 New Cases, 2nd Death | KERA News

COVID-19 Live Updates: Dallas County Reports 72 New Cases; Denton County: 11 New Cases, 2nd Death

18 hours ago

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

Saturday, March 28

5 p.m. - Gov. Abbott Waives Certain Licensing Regulations For Pharmacists, Technicians

Gov. Greg Abbott has waived certain licensing renewal regulations for Texas pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and technicians in training. With these waivers, temporarily extending expiration dates for licenses and suspending continuing education requirements.

"As our state responds to COVID-19, it is important that Texans continue to have access to the services they depend on to meet their daily needs," Abbott said in a statement. "With these waivers, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians can continue to meet the needs of their fellow Texans without potential delays caused by an expired license."

 4:10 p.m. - Denton County Reports 11 New Cases, 2nd Death

Denton County Public Health (DCPH) is reporting the second COVID-19 related death in the county. According to a statement, the patient, a male from Aubrey in his 60s, was previously reported hospitalized. He contracted the disease through local transmission.

“We are saddened to report a second COVID-19 death within our county,” Denton County Judge Andy Eads said. “To his family, we continue to send our thoughts and prayers to you as you navigate through this difficult time.” 

DCPH is also reporting 11 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, including one resident of the Denton State Supported Living Center (DSSLC). This increases the countywide total to 148 confirmed COVID-19 cases and the DSSLC resident total to 40. 

3:15 p.m. - FW-Based Lena Pope Launches Hotline To Help Parents Cope With Challenges Of Stay-At-Home Orders

Fort Worth-based child services organization Lena Pope launched a hotline to help parents and caregivers who are struggling with emotional, mental health or behavioral challenges that are being exacerbated by recent stay-at-home orders. The hotline is staffed by mental and behavioral health professionals on weekdays.

Called the Stay Strong Hotline, the launch comes as officials are seeing a spike in child abuse and domestic violence cases brought on by increased stress and enforced closeness of stay-at-home orders.

“The ‘stay home’ mandate is designed to protect our physical health and the well-being of our community,” said Dr. Ashley Elgin, CEO of Lena Pope, in a statement. “Unfortunately, long-term social distancing that’s necessary to flatten the curve of coronavirus in our community can have an adverse psychological affect by creating or exacerbating family stressors. We created the helpline to help families stay strong while staying home.”

Last week, Cook Children’s Hospital said that it had admitted seven children suffering injuries from severe abuse over the course of a week, two of whom had died from their injuries.

"We usually only average six deaths from abuse a year at Cook Children's and now we've had two children die on the same day," said Jamye Coffman, medical director of the Cook Children’s Center for Prevention and Child Abuse and Neglect and the hospital’s CARE team, in a hospital blog post​. "This is an issue related to stress. We are seeing it from all over from urban area to more rural counties."

Lena Pope’s Stay Strong helpline number is 817-806-9920, and the center’s mental and behavioral health professionals will take calls from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. also offers a resource for parents and children.

Suspected child abuse or neglect can be reported by contacting the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400 or through the TDFPS website. The Texas Abuse Hotline is 1-800-252-5400.

1:55 p.m - Dallas County Reports 72 New COVID-19 Cases

Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) is reporting 72 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the county to 439. Officials are also reporting two additional deaths: a DeSoto man in his 50s and a Dallas man in his 70s. 

According to a statement from officials, both men had been critically ill in local hospitals. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are increasing, with 36% of all hospitalized patients requiring admission to intensive care units.

“One of today’s deaths is a man in his 50s with no known underlying conditions. This serves as a sober reminder that COVID-19 is a dangerous disease for everyone and is why it’s so important that we all need to stay home to stay safe,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. “I am so proud of the work of our first responders, health heroes and our executive teams, but I’m also proud of the spirit of community that we are seeing through North Texas. Together, we’ll #FlattenTheCurve.”

12 p.m. - Texas Temporarily Waives Renewal Requirements for Medicaid, SNAP

Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today SNAP and Medicaid benefit renewals currently up for renewal will automatically be renewed in an effort to help people maintain coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During this difficult time, we’re making sure Texans in need continue to receive their food and medical benefits without the added worry of having to renew their coverage in the midst of a crisis,” HHS Deputy Executive Commissioner for Access and Eligibility Services, Wayne Salter, said in a statement.

The state is also waiving interview requirements for families applying for SNAP. That way people don’t have to come into an office or call officials about their application or renewal, and HHS can make eligibility determinations faster.  

9 a.m. - Texas Tops 2,000 COVID-19 Cases

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Texas topped 2,000 Saturday morning, according to numbers from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. More than 700 of those cases are in North Texas. There have been at least 26 deaths related to the disease in the state. 

As part of the state’s ongoing response to the pandemic, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday he’s deploying three National Guard Joint Task Force Brigades throughout the state. They’ll focus on boosting the number of drive-through testing centers and finding locations that can be converted into healthcare facilities.

Read More: What's Been Happening On Previous Days