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COVID-19 Live Updates: State Moratorium On Utility Shut-Offs Comes To An End

An upwards view of a tall transmission tower in the sunlight

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 773,000 cases and more than 16,000 deaths have been reported. More than 664,000 recoveries have been reported.
  • In North Texas: Cases in Dallas County: 82,410; Tarrant County: 50,729; Collin County: 13,922; Denton County: 12,319. There have been at least 1,943 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.

Thursday, Oct. 1

Denton County Reports 77 New Cases

Another 77 cases in the area brings the total to 12,319. There have been 72 newly-recovered cases, increasing the countywide recovery total to 10,597.

A free drive-thru testing center will be available on Friday, October 2 at the University of North Texas’ Discovery Park at 3940 N. Elm St. in Denton.

Eligible community members are those who are residents of Denton County who pre-register and have not previously tested positive for COVID-19. Pre-registration is required and appointments are available starting at 8 AM. To pre-register, call DCPH at 940-349-2585.

312 New Cases In Tarrant County

There have been 312 additional cases in the area, raising the total to 50,729.

Four deaths were reported today, including a Burleson man in his 80s, a Fort Worth woman in her 60s, an Arlington man and Fort Worth man in their 50s. All of the patients had underlying health conditions.

State Moratorium On Utility Shut-Offs Comes To An End

Hundreds of thousands of Texans are now at risk of losing necessities like electricity and water.

The state's moratorium on utility disconnections ended yesterday.

The Dallas Morning News reports more than 620,000 households had enrolled in a utility relief program through the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

It barred Texas energy companies from disconnecting customers for six months if they fail to pay power and water bills.

The program also let some Texans defer bill payments. Those unable to afford utility bills now have to negotiate payment plans with their providers.

Pandemic Is A Setback For Public School Students Seeking Special Education Services, Advocacy Group Says

An advocacy group says the coronavirus pandemic is setting back efforts to ensure Texas public school students have access to special education services.

Attorney Kym Rogers, with Disability Rights Texas, said while some districts are working hard to support students, others are not.

"Examples of problems we're having are districts not providing technology to students who need to access school virtually who don't have that technology available in the home, refusing to do evaluations for students who are still doing remote learning and not yet in person,” Rogers said.

She said there was already a backlog of student evaluations before the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak.

BMW Dallas Marathon Festival Postponed Until 2021

The 50th anniversary of the BMW Dallas Marathon has been postponed until 2021. The festival has been moved from December 11-13 to April 30-May 2, 2021.

“Given the current environment and restrictions associated with COVID-19, we are unable to host the BMW Dallas Marathon Festival, the longest running marathon in Texas, in a manner that our participants and guests have come to expect and enjoy from our organization” said Paul Lambert, President of runDallas.

“While we are disappointed in postponing to May, we are very excited to announce today that we have created the new BMW Pegasus 50th Challenge, and that one lucky participant will win a special edition 2021 BMW Automobile, to be drawn at the start line of the marathon on Sunday, May 2nd.”

The BMW Pegasus 50th Challenge will include two anniversary themed events: the new 2020 Virtual BMW Dallas Marathon in December and the 50th Anniversary of the BMW Dallas Marathon Festival in May. Both events will support Scottish Rite for Children.

Wednesday, Sept. 30

North Texas Physicians Are Studying How Existing Drugs And Medical Treatments Could Be Repurposed To Fight COVID-19

A group of North Texas physicians is trying to help in the fight against COVID-19. The team is called the Fort Worth Clinical Sciences WORKING Group, and it’s made up of fifteen doctors from hospitals and research centers throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

Dr. Mohanakrishnan Sathyamoorthy, a Fort Worth cardiologist and chair of the internal medicine department at the TCU and UNT Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, organized a group with the MD school’s dean, Dr. Stuart Flynn.

Sathyamoorthy said the researchers are focusing on figuring out how existing drugs and medical treatments for other ailments could be repurposed to better treat the coronavirus.

“Right now, what we have to do is identify those targets and ask the question, ‘Is something available in the commercial space today that we can grab off the shelf and use as a therapeutic,’” Sathyamoorthy said. “And the answer is, ‘yes.’”

The team is also looking for better ways to treat blood-clotting issues that are common and sometimes devastating to COVID patients. The researchers also plan to set up a bio-repository of blood and cell samples for researchers.

The group began meeting in April, but the medical school announced the independent initiative on Wednesday. Dallas-based UT Southwestern and the Baylor University Medical Center each have their own COVID-19 working group.

Dallas County Reports 287 New Cases, Two Deaths

Another two deaths — a Dallas woman in her 30s and a Duncanville woman in her 60s — brings the county's total death total to 1,024. The 287 cases reported include 38 probable cases of COVID, and of the 249 confirmed positives reported, two of those cases were from the month of August.

"Our numbers in Dallas County are now moving higher and that makes it very important that we all exercise good decision making," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.

"The fall can lead to a good situation with the weather cooling and more opportunities to space out outdoors. However, over the last two weeks, increased capacities at retail establishments and a letting down of the guard at functions at home, along with some outbreaks at schools (although those numbers have been manageable), and a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases in people 18-22, both in college and not in college, has led to the stop of our improvement."

Five More Deaths Reported In Tarrant County

Tarrant County Public Health reported five COVID-19 deaths today. The deceased include a woman from Kennedale in her 90s, a woman from Arlington in her 80s, a man from Fort Worth in his 70s, a man from Arlington in his 60s, a man from Arlington in his 50s.

Tarrant County now has 662 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus and 43,895 people have recovered.

94 New Cases In Denton County

Denton County Public Health (DCPH) announced 94 new laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Denton County. This increases the cumulative, countywide total to 12,242 confirmed COVID-19 cases. DCPH also reported 65 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 10,525.

Collin County Reports 97 New Cases

Another 97 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Collin County, bringing the countywide total to 13,922. Two more deaths were also reported, bringing that total to 148.

Cook Children's Medical Center Changes Visitation Policy

Starting Thursday, Cook Children's, located in Forth Worth, will allow one extra caregiver per patient to visit the facility, meaning each patient can have two visitors at a time. Since April 13, the facility had only allowed one caregiver per admitted patient to visit, in keeping with COVID-19 safety protocols.

The new visitation policy affects families with a child admitted to Cook Children’s Medical Center. Two primary caregivers will be able to accompany the patient in the hospital and stay with them in their room while they are an inpatient. Siblings and other visitors will not be allowed.

For clinic appointments and outpatient visits, the one caregiver per patient policy is still in effect.

Donors, TEA Replace $80,000 Worth Of DeSoto ISD PPE After Fire

The DeSoto school district will have enough personal protective equipment after all to stay safe when students return to in-person classes next month.

A fire last month burned all the financially troubled district’s PPE – about $80,000 worth.

Donors stepped up from as far north as Plano and Allen to help replace the equipment. The TEA also replaced a lot of what burned.

Tiffanie Blackmon-Jones with DeSoto ISD said the equipment's now stored in Northside Elementary, a campus closed last year to save money.

"So we’ve got plenty of space there, we’ve got lots of personnel there. And so we’re doing our best to make sure that we’re in the best position possible to start school,” Blackmon-Jones said.

In-person school in Desoto begins in phases on October 16.

Tuesday, Sept. 29

Tarrant County Passes 50,000-Case Mark

It took 203 days for Tarrant County to surpass 50,000 COVID-19 cases, with a total of 50,057 cases. There were 488 new cases reported on Tuesday.

“We must continue to protect our family and friends from COVID-19 until a vaccine is released and widely available,” said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley. “If you or a family member is sick with COVID-19, please respond to Public Health calls and text messages. They are working to reduce the number of potentially sick people walking the virus around our county.”

It took 67 days to double the COVID-19 case count in Tarrant County. On July 23, the case count was 24,562 with 403 deaths.

Dallas County Reports 803 New Cases, 1 More Death.

Dallas County reported a total of 803 additional COVID-19 cases today, 789 confirmed and 14 probable. Of the 789 new confirmed cases, 31 were from previous months.

The cumulative confirmed case count in Dallas County is 82,161 including 1,022 confirmed deaths.

The county also reported an additional death related to the the disease, a Dallas man in his 80s.

90 New Cases In Denton County

Denton County Public Health announced 90 new laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Denton County. This increases countywide total to 12,148 confirmed COVID-19 cases. DCPH also reported 59 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 10,460.

DCPH is providing a free drive-thru COVID-19 testing center on Friday at the University of North Texas’ Discovery Park at 3940 N. Elm St. in Denton. Eligible community members are those who are residents of Denton County who pre-register and have not previously tested positive for COVID-19. Pre-registration is required and appointments are available starting at 8 a.m. To pre-register, call DCPH at 940-349-2585.

Collin County Reports 55 New Cases

The county reported 55 new cases, bringing its cumulative case count to 13,825. There have been 146 deaths reported and 12,823 recoveries so far.

Texas Manufacturing Industry Slowly Recovers From Pandemic Hit

The Texas manufacturing sector continues to slowly recover from historic declines following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reports factory activity in September expanded for a fourth month in a row.

Economist Emily Kerr said a few industries are driving the growth, such as food manufacturing and home construction.

"There are sections of the manufacturing sector that are actually seeing increased business because of this current climate although the majority are certainly seeing a negative impact and that negative impact is on the order of 30% decline,” Kerr said.

Kerr said about 60% of the manufacturing executives surveyed by the Fed this month reported their revenues remained below pre-pandemic levels.

U.S. Surgeon General Says Essential Workers, Vulnerable Populations Will Receive The Vaccine First

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said when a COVID-19 vaccine is completed, there are certain groups who will get it first.

“And, so that’s what we’re thinking about now is how do we make sure our health care workers, our frontline workers, vulnerable populations get this vaccine, so that we can make sure we’re protecting the people, who are most at risk from spreading the virus, from getting the virus,” he said.

​While it’s still unclear when the general public will have access to a vaccine, Adams said it should be completed by the end of this year or early next year.

Adams spoke yesterday after a visit to Baylor College of Medicine, one of four places currently conducting Phase 3 clinical trials under the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed program.

Monday, Sept. 28

Researchers Say They're Concerned About Discrepancies In Texas' COVID-19 Data

Researchers are raising questions about the Texas Department of State Health Services undercounting positive COVID-19 antigen test results. David Ruben is the director of the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His team has been tracking the spread of COVID-19 on a county-by-county level.

Ruben said it’s concerning that Texas does not include the number of positive antigen tests with the more common nasal swab, or PCR, tests.

"It can give you this false conclusion that the rates of infection are lower than they actually are in a county,” Ruben said.

According to the Department of State Health Services, antigen tests are less sensitive than other COVID-19 tests and are more likely to result in a false negative. That’s why Texas reports positive antigen tests as “probable” rather than confirmed cases, and does not use those results to calculate positivity rates.

Rubin thinks they should though, to be more transparent.

“It’s also just possible people don't understand the difference between these antigen tests and these PCR tests, that a test that is specific that may not be as sensitive,” he said. “A positive is still a positive.”

Rubin said another potential issue is the state reporting backlogged cases alongside current numbers. That could make it harder for counties to track the spread of COVID-19.

Dallas County Reports 311 Total Cases Today With 11 Confirmed Cases From Previous Months

Dallas County reported a total of 311 additional COVID-19 cases today, 197 confirmed and 114 probable. Of the 197 newly confirmed cases, 186 confirmed cases were from the month of September.

The county also reported one additional death related to the virus today, a Lancaster man in his 90s.

There have been a total of 81,372 cases confirmed in the county, including 1,021 confirmed deaths.

240 New Cases In Tarrant County

Tarrant County's COVID-19 dashboard shows 240 new cases today, bringing the cumulative number of confirmed cases to 49,569 including 653 deaths.

Around 37% of cases in the county have been among people aged 25-44, but this group represents only 5% of deaths related to the disease in the county.

The majority of deaths related to the virus (around 72%) have been people over 65 years old. This group represents around 10% of total confirmed cases.

Collin County: 233 New Cases & 1 More Death

Collin County's COVID-19 dashboard shows 233 new cases and one additional death today. That brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases in the county to 13,770, including 146 deaths.

Denton County Reports 75 New Cases

Denton County reported 75 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 today, of which 54 are active cases. This increases the cumulative, countywide total to 12,058 confirmed cases, including 109 deaths.

County health officials will have free drive-through COVID-19 testing Friday, Oct. 2 at the University of North Texas’ Discovery Park. Any resident who pre-registers and hasn't previously tested positive for COVID-19 can get tested. To register, call (940) 349-2585.

Sunday, Sept. 27

Dr. Fauci Speaks About COVID-19's Disproportionate Impact On Latinx Community

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke at a webinar this week hosted by the where he discussed the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on the Latinx community and other people of color.

The U.S. death toll exceeded 200,000 deaths this week.

“The United States has been hit harder than any other country in the world with almost seven million cases,” Fauci said.

He added there are about 40,000 new infections every day throughout the country and that there is a “big disparity in increased incidence of infection and increased incidences of complications among minorities.”

“These bars show the rate of hospitalization per 100,000 population,” Fauci said, showing CDC data on the webinar. “Take a look at Hispanic/Latino, 348. Compare that to White/Non-Hispanic, 75.”

Fauci also discussed some of the reasons why he thinks the Latinx community has a big discrepancy between infections and deaths.

“It is likely that there are two factors. One, I think is more important than the other, and that is the accessibility to getting into good care as quickly as you possibly can,” Fauci said.

“Something that is even more important, and that is the increased incidence of the comorbidities that are associated with a poor outcome make it much more likely that both African Americans and Latinx are going to wind up having a severe outcome,” he added.

He said some of those comorbidities include obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease and hypertension.

Read the full story from Texas Public Radio.

4 More Deaths, 199 New Cases In Dallas County

Today, Dallas County reported four more deaths and a total of 199 additional COVID-19 cases, 197 confirmed and two probable.

All of the confirmed cases were from the month of September. The cumulative confirmed case count in Dallas County is 81,175 including 1,020 confirmed deaths.

Tarrant County Reports 170 New Cases

There are 170 new cases in Tarrant County bringing the cumulative number of confirmed case to 49,329, including 653 deaths.

24 New Cases In Collin County

Colin County's COVID-19 dashboard list 24 new cases today, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county to 13,537, including 145 deaths.

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

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