COVID-19 Live Updates: Dallas County Reports New High Of 601 Cases, 20 Deaths | KERA News

COVID-19 Live Updates: Dallas County Reports New High Of 601 Cases, 20 Deaths

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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. 

>>COVID-19 By The Numbers:

  • In Texas: More than 156,000 cases and more than 2,400 deaths have been reported. More than 81,000 Texans have recovered.
  • In North Texas: Cases in Dallas County: 21,338; Tarrant County: 12,344; Collin County: 2,997; Denton County: 2,845. There have been at least 680 reported deaths in the region's four largest counties. 
  • Counties across Texas: Use The Texas Newsroom's interactive maps
  • Global: See Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 dashboard.

July 1

Health Officials Criticize American Airlines For Booking Full Flights

Infectious disease experts are criticizing American Airlines’ decision to book flights full as the coronavirus continues spreading across the country.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health, questioned the decision. He said transmission of COVID-19 is even more worrisome in the confined space of an airplane.

The Dallas Morning News reported that there is no federal law to mandate face masks or leave middle seats open on commercial airplanes.

But all major airlines now require face masks. Some carriers may also deny travel to passengers who refuse to wear one.

Meanwhile, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines will continue selling planes at two-thirds capacity through September. 

Fireworks Sales Are Booming Despite Show Cancellations

Some 4th of July fireworks shows across North Texas are canceled due to COVID-19.

Rex Nelson, owner of Nelson’s Fireworks, said those cancellations are driving booming sales.

“People are wanting to get out because they’ve been pinned up for so long so everyone is putting on their own show,” he said. “And they are coming out and buying like crazy.”

Nelson is concerned about running out of inventory by the end of 2020. He said most of his fireworks come from China and production in the country stopped when the pandemic started.

“There’s no way they can physically possibly produce enough fireworks by the new year season to fill out all the warehouses to get us back opened up in full blown operation for new years,” he said. 

Most cities across North Texas prohibit the sale of fireworks within city limits.

STAAR Testing Set To Return Next School Year

Standardized testing for students in Texas will return in the upcoming school year.

Despite record numbers of daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Texas plans to reopen schools in August.

Education Commissioner Mike Morath said yesterday that includes the STAAR test; which was suspended when school was closed to combat COVID-19.

The Texas State Teachers Association disagrees with the move and says the tests should be put off at least another year as schools try to figure out how to return to the classroom. 

Tuesday, June 30

115 New Cases In Collin County 

There are 115 more cases in the county, raising the total case count to 2,997. There have been 42 deaths related to COVID-19 in the area. 

Tarrant County Reports 605 Additional Cases 

An additional 605 cases in the county raises the total to 12,344. There have been 228 COVID-related deaths in the area. 

105 New Cases In Denton County 

There are 105 more cases in the county, bringing the total to 2,845. Another 15 patients have recovered from the virus, raising the countywide recovery total to 1,153. 

Dallas County Reports New High Of 601 Cases, Rising Hospitalizations 

A record 601 cases brings the countywide total to 21,338. The county also reported a new high of 20 deaths today. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins called on Gov. Abbott to issue a statewide masking requirement after what he called “our deadliest day thus far”:

“Today we’ve surpassed 600 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time, having surpassed 300 cases only 20 days ago. Additionally, this is our deadliest day thus far in the outbreak. Twenty residents are being reported as COVID-19 casualties today, exceeding our previous high of 16 deaths. Finally, our hospitalization numbers continue to increase. Local COVID-19 hospitalizations yesterday were at an all-time high of 619 compared to 296 30 days ago. And regionally, yesterday was an all-time high of 1340 compared to 615 30 days ago. 

The time for decisive action was several weeks ago but we must move immediately to a statewide masking order. Goldman Sachs estimates that a national masking order would save the economy a trillion dollars. When you divide that by the population of Texas, we can save $87 billion dollars to our economy, and countless lives by all wearing a mask. We need this to be a statewide requirement and I am again calling on Governor Abbott to make masks the law throughout Texas.”

Twenty deaths were reported today: 

  • A man in his 30s who was a resident of the City of Richardson. He had been critically ill in an area hospital, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 30s 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 40s 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 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 40s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He expired in an area hospital ED, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 50s who was a resident of the City of Balch Springs. 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 a long-term care facility in the City of Seagoville. He had been hospitalized, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 60s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. She 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 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 Dallas. He had been hospitalized, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 70s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He 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 expired in an area hospital ED, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Garland. She 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 Dallas. He expired in an area hospital ED, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. She had been critically ill in an area hospital, 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 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 had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A man in his 80s who was a resident of the City of Dallas. He had been hospitalized, and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 90s who was a resident of a long-term care facility in the City of Dallas. She had been hospitalized, and did not have underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A woman in her 90s 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 had underlying high risk health conditions. 

City Of Dallas To Continue Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Beyond Federal Support 

The City of Dallas and Dallas County have finalized a contract with the vendor Honu to continue drive-thru COVID-19 testing beyond June. 

The American Airlines Center testing site will close after June 30 while the Ellis Davis Field House will continue federally supported testing through mid-July. A new testing site at the University of Dallas in Irving will open on July 1. 

“We are moving the AAC drive-thru site to the University of Dallas on Wednesday,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “Dallas County Health and Human Services will supervise a private vendor with a new lab so the turnaround for results should be faster. Faster results give you the chance to make the best decisions for your health and gives our public health experts more timely information to better advise the community.”

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said as COVID-19 spreads rapidly in the community, testing is an important part of the community response. 

“This contract and transition plan will ensure that our residents continue to have access to testing,” he said. “In addition, I also urge our residents to help stop this outbreak by taking hygiene seriously, practicing social distancing, and wearing masks when coming into contact with others.”

Testing hours and criteria will remain the same. Both locations will be open Monday to Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. 

McKinney Mayor Issues Mask Requirement Declaration 

The McKinney Mayor on Tuesday issued a local disaster declaration requiring residents to wear masks in public. The declaration begins on Tuesday, June 30 and continues through July 6. 

According to the declaration, all public-facing businesses and organizations must require employees and visitors to wear masks. All people 10 years and older are urged to wear masks that cover their nose and mouth. 

The face covering requirement does not apply if it interferes with the providing of services or consumption of food. The declaration states: 

“The Policy must require, at a minimum, that all employees and visitors to the entity’s business premises or other facilities wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth when in an area or while performing an activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to coworkers or the public. The Policy may allow individuals with an operational need to remove a face covering so long as such operational needs are specifically addressed in the Policy.”

4 Juveniles, 3 Staff Test Positive At Collin County Detention Facility

Collin County’s Juvenile Probation department was notified that four juveniles and three detention officers have tested positive for COVID-19. 

A detention officer was first announced positive on June 25. Since then, two officers and four juveniles have come back with positive test results. 

The four juveniles are now isolated in a separate detention wing with individual housing units and being cared for by WellPath, the contract medical provider for the county. Infected staff members are isolating at their homes. 

All juveniles and staff in the facility are set to be retested and screened. Those who have been in close contact with infected patients have been tested and isolated.

Dallas Fire Department Gets Federal Funding

The Dallas Fire Department is getting a boost in federal funding to help its response effort to COVID-19.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded the city nearly $850,000 for personal protective equipment and related supplies for firefighters.

U.S. Senator John Cornyn said the grant is meant to strengthen the department's ability to respond to fire and related hazards, without putting themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19.

As of yesterday, the department has 46 firefighters and civilian employees that tested positive for coronavirus.

Of those, 25 have fully recovered and returned to work. Dozens of others are quarantined for off-duty exposures.

Parents And Teachers Face Uncertainty Come School Year In Fall

Parents and teachers across Texas are still unsure what school will look like this fall. Alexandra Checka is a middle school teacher in the Fort Worth School District.

“We’re highly anxious here because the number of teachers who have upper respiratory issues, asthma, immuno-compromise, it’s not just teachers, that’s everybody in the building you know the cafeteria staff, the front office, the maintenance staff, like what are the safeguards in place and also just like - the number of bodies in buildings,” she said. 

Fort Worth superintendent Kent Scribner during a digital town hall last week said the district will honor everyone’s medical and legal issues regarding safety.

"The general plan is for those who are teaching virtually, that that take place in schools and quite frankly we need to really monitor the increase in cases because we may not be hybrid,” he said. “We may be fully online but we don’t know that at this time.”

Every school district in Texas is still awaiting detailed guidance for fall classes from the Texas Education Agency.

Learn More:

Monday, June 29

70 New Cases In Denton County 

There are 70 more cases in the county, bringing the countywide total to 2,740. Four long-term care (LTC) residents were included in the daily case count today, bringing the countywide total of cases associated with LTC facilities to 26. 

Collin County Reports 119 Additional Cases 

With an additional 119 new cases, the countywide total increased to 2,882 according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Deaths in the county have reached 42 and hospitalizations are at 127.

263 New Cases In Tarrant County 

Another 263 cases in the county raised the total case count to 11,739. There have been 225 deaths and 5,059 people who have recovered from the virus in the area. 

Dallas County Reports New Daily High Of 572 Cases

The county reached a new high of 572 daily cases, bringing the countywide total to 20,737. Another death reported today is of an Irving man in his 40s - he had underlying high-risk health conditions, but was not critically ill nor admitted to a local hospital. 

A growing number of cases since the beginning of June have been linked to large social and recreational gatherings like house parties. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins urged county residents to take caution as case numbers continue to rise:

“Today we have our highest number of reported cases of COVID-19 in Dallas County, and this weekend for the first time, our weekend reporting numbers went up. Normally our weekend reporting numbers go way down as some hospitals don’t report. Our numbers went from 571 to 611 COVID-19 cases in the hospital for Dallas County. Hopefully, this is because the hospitals have made it a point to increase accuracy of weekend reporting, but either way the numbers are of great concern."

Perot Museum And Holocaust Museum Delay Reopening Plans In Wake Of Governor's New Order

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum issued a joint statement on Monday morning, announcing that they have “decided to pause plans to reopen in early July.”

In addition, both museums announced that they are “working in close coordination” with other downtown museums, including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Crow Museum of Asian Art and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza “to evaluate when we will reopen to the public.”

The announcement cites “the spike in COVID-19 cases in Dallas County and the rollback of the state’s phased reopening” instituted last week by Gov. Greg Abbott in the wake of a flood of new cases. Abbott’s order also closed bars entirely and curtailed restaurant capacity to 50% after recently allowing them to reopen at 75% capacity.

Just last week, the Holocaust museum had announced it planned to reopen on July 8. The Perot Museum marked its calendar for a July 9 reopening earlier this month. Both museums have been closed since March.

-The Dallas Morning News

Texans Begin Voting Monday In Runoff Elections. Officials Are Doing What They Can To Make It Safe.

The upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic will reshape one of the most fundamental aspects of ordinary life starting Monday: voting.

Poll workers will begin greeting voters from behind face masks and shields as early voting begins in primary runoffs that will look and operate differently from any Texas election in the past 100 years. Although the first statewide election during the pandemic is expected to be a low-turnout affair — primary runoffs usually see single-digit turnout — the contest is widely regarded as a high-stakes dry run for the November general election, when at least half of the state's more than 16 million registered voters are expected to participate.

More than 30 runoffs are ongoing for party nominations to congressional, legislative and local offices. The most prominent race is the statewide Democratic contest to see who will challenge incumbent John Cornyn for U.S. Senate.

But the shot at working through a new set of considerations — and challenges — for running a safe and efficient election could be complicated by its timing. The runoff was postponed from May and takes place as the state’s tenuous grip on controlling the coronavirus outbreak unravels into record-high daily infection and hospitalization rates.

-The Texas Tribune

Dallas County Judge Calls Gov. Abbott To Enact Statewide Mandatory Mask Ordinance 

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is asking the Governor to implement a statewide mandatory mask ordinance.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Jenkins sent Gov. Abbott's office a letter asking him to reinstate the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order for 30 days along with requiring masks in certain areas.

Jenkins also included a list of recommendations from the Public Health Committee.

The group of health experts recommended that Texas keep businesses at 50% capacity, limit indoor gatherings to 10 people or fewer and close all gyms, bowling alleys and movie theaters.

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

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