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What We Know About The Texans Who’ve Died From COVID-19

David J. Phillip
Associated Press
A person is taken on a stretcher into the United Memorial Medical Center after going through testing for COVID-19 in Houston on March 19.

As the coronavirus continues to spread across Texas, the number of COVID-19 related deaths has increased to at least 12.

The first coronavirus-related death in Texas was 97-year-old Eddie F. Roberts. He died March 15 in Matagorda County, according to the Houston Chronicle. Roberts was a longtime Bay City funeral home director who went to the hospital for pneumonia-like symptoms. 

He was not initially tested for the coronavirus, but a test came back positive for COVID-19 the day after he died. Officials say they believe Roberts’ death was a case of community spread linked to a 60-year-old woman who had tested positive for COVID-19.

The second COVID-19 related death in Texas -- and the first in Dallas-Fort Worth -- was 77-year-old Patrick James, who died March 15. Test results obtained days after James’ death showed he was infected with COVID-19.

James was diagnosed with double pneumonia at Arlington Memorial Hospital, according to The Dallas Morning News

He lived in a cottage at the Texas Masonic Retirement Center in Arlington with his wife Jean, who was in self-quarantine after coming down sick with the same symptoms her husband displayed, like shortness of breath. 

Shelly Brandt, James’ daughter-in-law, told the newspaper her husband’s stepfather was funny, caring and “jolly.” Brandt said every year James and his wife dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus. They were married for 19 years.

A 64-year-old Plano man was the third COVID-19 related death in the state and the first reported in Collin County. He died in a local hospital on March 17.

Health officials said the man had an underlying health condition, according to The Texas Tribune. He was confirmed to be a positive case after his death. Health officials said it was unclear whether the man came into contact with the virus through community spread or travel. 

On March 19, two more COVID-19 related deaths were reported. 

In Richardson, a man in his 60s was found dead at his home. The Dallas County Medical Examiner says the man did not have any high-risk health conditions. 

A man in his 80s who lived in a nursing home in northwest Harris County also died due to COVID-19, The Texas Tribune reported. According to Harris County health officials, the man was at high-risk for complications because of his age and underlying health conditions. 

On March 22, Dallas County reported its second death from COVID-19 -- a Dallas man in his 80s. The man “had been critically ill in an area hospital, and did not have other high-risk chronic health conditions,” county officials said.

On March 23, Dallas County officials announced two new deaths: a Dallas man in his 60s, who had been critically ill in a local hospital and did not have other high-risk chronic health conditions, and another Dallas man in his 60s who had been critically ill in a local hospital and had high-risk chronic health conditions. 

In the U.S., more than 900 people with the virus have died as of March 26, according to The New York Times

This story, which was originally published March 20, has been updated.

Elizabeth Myong is KERA’s Arts Collaborative Reporter. She came to KERA from New York, where she worked as a CNBC fellow covering breaking news and politics. Before that, she freelanced as a features reporter for the Houston Chronicle and a modern arts reporter for Houstonia Magazine.