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COVID-19 In DFW Nov. 15 - 21: Counties See New Record Daily Case Numbers

A medical worker ties the back of their protective gown.
Eric Gay
Associated Press
In this July 27, 2020, file photo, notes to medical personnel are hung in an area as they prepare to ender a COVID-19 unit at Starr County Memorial Hospital in Rio Grande City, Texas. As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation and infections and hospitalizations rise, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help — especially in rural areas and at small hospitals.

North Texas counties reported record-breaking daily case counts as the virus continues to spread across the metroplex.

Get the latest news from our COVID-19 Live Updates page.

Saturday, Nov. 21

Dallas County Reports Record 2,183 New Cases

There are 2,183 additional cases in the area, bringing the total to 117,151. Of the cases reported today, 1,741 are confirmed and 442 are probable cases. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins urged residents to take precautions heading into Thanksgiving:

“As we approach Thanksgiving in this time of record spread, it is increasingly important that we take the doctors’ advice. We’ve now heard from the local doctors, President Trump’s task force, and the CDC all saying the same thing: celebrate Thanksgiving with those that you live with and forgo larger family get-togethers at this time of unprecedented spread. Stop interacting with crowds and consider grocery curbside pickup and delivery.”

Nine deaths were reported today:

  • A Dallas man in his 40s.
  • Two Dallas women in their 50s.
  • A Dallas man in his 50s.
  • A Dallas man in his 60s.
  • Three Dallas men in their 70s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 80s.

1,368 New Cases In Tarrant County

Another 1,368 cases in the county raises the total to 90,316. Two deaths were reported today, bringing the total to 824 deaths.

Collin County Reports 322 New Cases

There are 322 new cases, increasing the total to 22,691. There have been 238 deaths and 20,373 people who have recovered from the virus in the county.

Friday, Nov. 20

Collin College Faculty Member Dies Due To COVID-19

A Collin College faculty member has died of COVID-19, and another is hospitalized.

News of the unnamed Collin College faculty members spread Friday in a faculty email from District President Neil Matkin. The subject of the email reads ‘college update and happy Thanksgiving.’

Some faculty members were both surprised and saddened by the news, which appeared 22 paragraphs deep in the memo obtained by KERA. In the email, Matkin also writes about three of his own nephews who became ill with the virus, two of whom died because of it.

Still, Matkin writes the disease is rare. For context, he said, 241 Collin College students have tested positive out of more than 35,000, adding 24 employees have tested positive out of 2,600.

In October, a Collin College student died of COVID-19.Some faculty members have been asking for months for a so-called COVID dashboard, listing positive cases among faculty and students. The college offers no such listing.

Dallas County Reports Another Record Number Of Cases: 1,974

For the second day in a row, Dallas County surpassed its record of number of positive COVID-19 cases in a single day, reporting 1,974 new cases. The county also reported 15 deaths, which included:

  • A man in his 40s who was a resident of the City of Cedar Hill.
  • A woman in her 50s who was a resident of the City of Irving.
  • A man in his 50s who was a resident of the City of Dallas.
  • A man in his 50s who was a resident of the City of Grand Prairie.
  • Three men in their 60s who were residents of the City of Dallas.
  • Two men in their 70s who were residents of the City of Dallas.
  • A man in his 70s who was a resident of the City of Balch Springs. H
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Irving.
  • A woman in her 80s who was a resident of the City of Dallas.
  • A woman in her 90s who was a resident of the City of Dallas.
  • Two men in their 90s who were residents of the City of Dallas.

"For the week thus far, we’ve reported 40 deaths, which medical modelers predicted as the cases began to rise several weeks earlier," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. "When those same medical modelers predicted over 2,000 daily cases by Thanksgiving, many people jeered at their predictions saying they were alarmist and false. It is important to remember that the local medical modelers have been right thus far throughout the pandemic."

Denton County Reports 405 New Cases

The 405 cases is the highest single-day number reported thus far, not counting an October spike that reflected an inclusion of more than 1,000 positive antigen tests that had been investigated and not included in daily totals to that point. The county also reported 178 newly recovered cases, increasing the countywide recovery total to 16,502.

Four Deaths In Tarrant County

The deceased include two men from Fort Worth in their 80s, a man from Bedford in his 80s, and a man from Fort Worth in his 70s. Tarrant County now has 822 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus and 64,738 people have recovered.

Five Deaths In Collin County

The five deaths bring the countywide total to 234. There were 32 cases reported, bringing that total to 22,369.

Dallas ISD, Fort Worth Offer Free Thanksgiving Meals To Students

The Dallas Independent School District is offering free meals for students on Monday, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

In Fort Worth, community partners are distributing free Thanksgiving dinners tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. at Polytechnic High School on Conner Avenue. Fort Worth ISD families must register in advance with a student ID. For more information, call Polytechnic High School at 817-814-0000.

Meals will be distributed at 11 pickup locations from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m., or until supplies last. Dallas ISD has already been offering free curbside meals to students learning virtually, and to all children, ages one to 18. The meals distributed during the week of Thanksgiving will include six breakfasts, six lunches, three snacks and three dinners.

In addition, Dallas ISD’s Food and Child Nutrition Services is offering a free turkey, sides and a 30 lbs. box of food to all families in the community.

Tarrant Area Food Bank Giving Away Enough Food For 5,000 Families Today

The Tarrant Area Food Bank will distribute food at AT&T Stadium in Arlington today.

Officials say they have enough Thanksgiving-themed food to feed about 5,000 families — the largest event of its kind for the food bank.

The Gary Patterson Foundation is among the organizations helping with the event. The TCU football coach spoke about the event earlier this week.
"You know you're talking about probably over a million pounds of food that we'll end up giving out and make people happy," Patterson said. "What a better time than at Thanksgiving to be able to do that."

Distribution starts at 8 a.m. in Parking Lot 4 of AT&T Stadium.

Potential Pfizer Vaccine Wouldn't Reach Masses Until Spring

Pfizer recently announced the vaccine appears 95% protective in a large but not yet finished study.

If the FDA approves its emergency use, first supplies of the vaccine will be scarce and rationed. Experts warn it may be spring before there's enough for everyone.

Thursday, Nov. 19

Dallas County Reports A Record 1,860 New Cases

A record-breaking 1,860 cases were reported today, bringing the total to 113,764. Of the 1,860 cases reported today, 1,804 are confirmed and 56 are probable cases. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said today marks the second record-breaking number of cases this week. He urged residents to take precautions heading into the holidays:

“Today marks the second time this week that we’ve reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases with 1,860 being reported today, more than the 1,831 we reported just a few days ago. We are reporting two additional deaths as well, a woman in her 40’s and a woman in her 80’s. As we enter the holiday season, now is not the time to attend gatherings with friends and family who are not members of your household. Instead, now is the time to make sacrifices for the greater good of our community.”

Two deaths were reported today including:

  • An Irving woman in her 40s.
  • A Grand Prairie woman in her 80s.

7 Deaths In Tarrant County

Seven deaths were reported today in the county including: a Fort Worth man in his 70s, an Arlington man in his 70s, a Fort Worth woman in her 70s, a Fort Worth woman in her 60s, an Arlington woman in her 60s, a Fort Worth man in his 50s, and an Arlington woman in her 30s.

Another 1,777 cases were reported today, bringing the total to 87,536. There have been 818 deaths and 63,990 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.

336 New Cases In Denton County

There are 336 additional cases in the area, bringing the total to 20,739. Another 124 newly-recovered cases were reported today, increasing the countywide recovery total to 16,324.

A free drive-thru testing center will be available on Nov. 24 at University of North Texas’ Discovery Park at 3940 N Elm St in Denton. Eligible community members must reside in Denton County, pre-register by calling 940-349-2585, and have not previously tested positive for COVID-19. Pre-registration is required and appointments are available starting at 8 a.m.

Collin County Reports 4 Deaths

Another four deaths today brings the total to 229. There were 354 new cases, bringing the total to 22,337.

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President And CEO Says Texas Economy Won’t Rebound Until 2022-2023

Last week, Texas unemployment claims reached their lowest levels since March. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas president and CEO Robert Kaplan said there's still a long way to go before the state rebounds to pre-pandemic numbers.

"It'd be our best judgment that by the end of 2022 or early '23, we'll start approaching again 3 and a half to 4% unemployment — that's where we were back in January. So maybe that's the best indicator of when we're so-called 'back.' But it'll probably won't be until the end of '22, sometime in early '23."

Listen to Think today at noon as Kaplan and former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus talk more about the state's economic recovery.

Dallas Public Health Official Urges Residents To Follow Safety Measures As Pandemic Fatigue Sets In

COVID-19 cases are spiking across North Texas. Health officials say much of the increase is linked to small gatherings, as people get tired of social distancing and begin to venture out. But as KERA’s Syeda Hasan reports, safety measures are especially important in the face of "pandemic fatigue."

For months, public health officials have reiterated the need for social distancing, avoiding crowds and wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19. And yet, key metrics like hospitalizations and case counts are trending in the wrong direction.

Dr. Philip Huang is the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services. He said people are not taking safety measures as seriously as "pandemic fatigue" sets in.

"We just have to be vigilant through this, and we can't let up because that's what we're seeing,” he said. “ A lot of people are relaxing, and so we're seeing a lot of cases, a lot of spread happening."

Still, as he asks people to stay home, Huang knows long-term isolation is taking a toll on mental health. Symptoms of anxiety and depression are widespread among Americans during the pandemic.

"This has been a long period of stress, and it's been high intensity stress,” he said. “It's changing everyone's life, and it's understandable why people are getting tired of it. We're all getting tired of it. I'm getting tired of it."

Wednesday, Nov. 18

Dallas County Reports 17 Deaths

The 17 deaths bring the cumulative total to 1,162 in the county. Another 947 new cases were reported; that figure includes 161 probable cases.

The deaths include:

  • A post-partum woman in her 30s who was a resident of the City of Dallas.
  • A man in his 40s who was a resident of the City of Dallas.
  • A woman in her 50s who was a resident of the City of Mesquite.
  • Two women in their 50s who resided in the City of Dallas.
  • A man in his 50s who was a resident of the City of Garland.
  • A man in his 60s who was a resident of the City of Dallas.
  • A man in his 60s who was a resident of the City of Farmers Branch.
  • A woman in her 60s who was a resident of the City of Dallas.
  • Three men in their 60s who resided in the City of Dallas.
  • A man in his 70s who was a resident of the City of Dallas.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Dallas.
  • A woman in her 70s who was a resident of the City of Lancaster.
  • A woman in her 80s who was a resident of the City of Richardson.
  • A man in his 80s who was a resident of the City of Dallas.

The provisional seven-day average of daily new confirmed and probable cases the week ending Nov. 7 (CDC week 45) has increased to 1,078, which is a rate of 40.9 daily new cases per 100,000 residents.

Nine Deaths Reported In Tarrant County

The deaths include a man from Haltom City in his 80s, a man from Burleson in his 70s, a man and woman from Fort Worth in their 70s, a man and woman from Fort Worth in their 60s, a man from Arlington in his 60s, a man from Arlington in his 50s and a man from Fort Worth in his 50s.

Tarrant County now has 811 confirmed deaths and 63,223 people have recovered.

252 New Cases In Denton County

Denton County Public Health announced 252 new cases, of which 154 are active cases. This increases the cumulative, countywide total to 20,403. DCPH also reported 153 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 16,200.

DCPH is providing a free drive-thru COVID-19 testing center on Friday at North Central Texas College Exchange Parking Garage at 319 E. Sycamore St in Denton.

Collin County Reports Three Deaths

The three deaths bring the cumulative county total to 225. There were 294 new cases, bringing that total to 21,983.

Fort Worth Mayor Tests Positive For COVID-19

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price tested positive after going into quarantine a fourth time because of coronavirus exposure. Her husband had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.

"Unfortunately, like so many of our loved ones, friends, and neighbors, my husband and I have tested positive for COVID-19," Price said in a statement. "While we are fortunate to be exhibiting mild symptoms, we are closely monitoring our health and consulting with our physicians."

Coronavirus Cases In Texas Are Soaring Again. But This Time Gov. Greg Abbott Says No Lockdown Is Coming

On June 26, Texas was reporting 5,102 people had been hospitalized due to the coronavirus, breaking a new record for the state. The positivity rate — the portion of tests that come back positive — had hovered above Gov. Greg Abbott’s “warning flag” level of 10% for more than a week.

Abbott swept into action. For a second time in months, the Republican governor shut down bars and rolled back restaurant capacity. Six days later, he took arguably his most drastic action yet, announcing a statewide mask mandate.

This week, more than 7,400 Texans are hospitalized for COVID-19, and the positivity rate has exceeded 10% for over three weeks.

But the governor’s strategy as the state heads into the holidays is to stay the course, relying on a 2-month-old blueprint to claw back reopenings regionally based on hospitalizations. The mask order remains in place, but last week he ruled out “any more lockdowns,” and tensions are again rising with local officials who want more authority to impose safety restrictions.

Read the full story by The Texas Tribune.

Tuesday, Nov. 17

Baylor Vaccine Expert Says Trials Will Require More Studies On Pediatric, Elderly Populations

Preliminary data indicates the biotech company Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine trials are 95% successful.

Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi is co-director for the Center of Vaccine Development at the Baylor College of Medicine. She said the Moderna vaccine uses M-RNA technology.

Bottazzi said Baylor's working on a different vaccine similar to the Hepatitis-B vaccine and has the potential to be mass-produced faster and more cheaply.

She said both vaccine trials need more studies especially on pediatric and elderly populations.

Hospitals In Some Rural Counties Are Being Overwhelmed

Terry Scoggin, the CEO of Titus County Regional Medical Center in Northeast Texas, told public radio's Texas Standard that the region is in a third surge, straining its healthcare system.

"Our biggest challenge right now is, we have eight in the ICU right now, four COVID patients and four non-COVID patients, we're full," Scoggin said. "And, with Dallas increasing 40 percent over the last two weeks, there's no place to ship them. Tyler's up 20 percent, Dallas is up 40 percent, so shipping a patient that's very very sick that we cannot handle is going to get very difficult. And, right now we have an ICU patient we're holding in our ER because we cannot ship the patient."

He said COVID cases are rising in all five of the counties his medical center serves.

Tarrant’s COVID-19 Numbers Are ‘Dire’, Public Health Director Tells Commissioners

COVID-19 has gone from bad to worse in Tarrant County. That's according to Public Health director Vinny Taneja. He addressed county commissioners this morning:

“We are issuing a public health warning today, cause all of our metrics are looking dire,” he said. “The situation is getting pretty dire in North Texas as a whole, but in particular in Tarrant County.”

Taneja said that COVID-related hospitalizations are approximately 17%, with just 36 ICU beds remaining in the county of more than 2 million residents.

Taneja offered steps the public can take to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, including wearing a mask, staying six feet away from others, limiting trips outside of the home, and minimizing gatherings.

“Avoid in-person services, like you mentioned earlier, at a church. I mean, if you have to go, we understand,” he said. “And a lot of churches and religious places have different safety measures in place, but a lot of these services are being delivered online.”

Tarrant County reported 732 new cases, giving the county a total of 83,647. Eight deaths were reported, for a cumulative total of 802. The deaths include a woman from Keller in her 90s, a woman from Mansfield in her 90s, a man from Fort Worth in his 80s, a man from Fort Worth in his 70s, a woman from Grand Prairie in her 70s, a man from Hurst in his 60s, a man from Forest Hill in his 50s, and a man from Watauga in his 50s.

Dallas County Health And Human Services Director Says Risk-Level Remains High

Dallas County’s COVID transmission risk continues to be high. The county continues to be at the highest risk level, red, on its color-coded chart.

Health and human services director Doctor Philip Huang briefed county commissioners Tuesday.

“Yesterday we had the highest number of new cases reported in a single day with 1,831,” he said. “I think six of the last eight days, we’ve reported over 1,200 new cases.”

Huang told commissioners that hospitalizations were up in Dallas County. And that there were only 49 available ICU beds within the county.

A couple of commissioners expressed concern about whether the county was getting a true sense of the number of cases countywide, especially as more testing sites pop up. But Huang said he’s confident about how his department collects data.

On Tuesday, the county reported 645 new positive cases and four deaths. The deaths included a woman in her 60s from Dallas, a man in his 60s from Farmers Branch, and two women in their 70s from Dallas. There are now 111,174 total cases and 1,147 confirmed deaths in the county.

Denton County Reports 244 New Cases

Denton County Public Health announced 244 new cases, of which 130 are active cases. This increases the cumulative, countywide total to 20,151. DCPH also reported 274 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 16,047.

Collin County Reports Four Deaths

There are now 222 total deaths for the county. Another 24 cases were reported today, bringing that total to 21,689 cases cumulatively for Collin County.

Abbott's COVID-19 Medical Advisor Says State Should Consider Regional Lockdowns

One of Governor Greg Abbott's top COVID-19 medical advisors says stricter safety measures will be needed as cases surge over the next few months.

Speaking to Spectrum News last night, Doctor Mark McClellan said imposing limited restrictions now, especially in hotspots such as El Paso, would help avoid more widespread lockdowns later.

"This is going to be the worst surge of the entire pandemic,” he said. “We've known this was coming for a while. It's winter. People are tired of it and they're in closer quarters. This is going to be a tough couple of months ahead."

The former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the state should consider regional lockdowns. The Governor has not given any indication he will issue new restrictions.

Monday, Nov. 16

Dallas County Reports 1,831 New Cases

Of the 1,831 new cases reported today, 1,695 are confirmed and 136 are probable cases. There have been 1,143 deaths, including one Dallas man in his 80s who was reported dead today.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said today’s numbers represent the “explosive nature of the spike we are now in.” He urged all residents to avoid taking risks that might spread the virus to others:

“This is indicative of the explosive nature of the spike that we are now in and it is imperative to public health and our economy that we stop the in-home get-togethers and trips to restaurants and bars that are largely responsible for this spike.

We know what to do, we just need to do it. While the choice is yours on how you conduct yourself, it is not fair to say that the risk you take is yours and yours alone as the impact of increased exposure for individuals has an impact on others who will become sick or did not participate in the event.”

4 Deaths In Denton County

Four deaths were reported today, including a Carrollton man in his 60s, a Cross Roads man in his 60s, a Denton man in his 50s and a Denton woman in her 70s.

There are also 335 new cases in the area, of which 224 are active cases. This increases the countywide total to 19,908.

Tarrant County Reports 900 Cases

There are 900 additional cases in the area, bringing the total to 82,915. There have been 794 deaths and 62,089 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.

NCAA Moves Men’s March Madness To Indiana; Dallas Loses Early-Round Games

With the college sports world reeling from the pandemic, the NCAA decided Monday to move the entire men’s basketball tournament to the Indianapolis area next spring. That means Dallas – along with 11 other cities – will lose early-round March Madness games.

The NCAA has not made a decision yet about the women’s tournament – which is supposed to stage a regional final in Austin.

Monday’s decision comes after both the men and women canceled their tournaments last March, when the first wave of COVID-19 was cresting. The NBA did play out a shortened season, but it had to create a “bubble” in Orlando to do it.

College football has been plagued by the coronavirus this season, too. Last weekend, 15 games were either canceled or postponed, including matchups involving No. 1 Alabama and third-ranked Ohio State.

Tarrant County Food Bank To Host Largest Food Distribution Event At AT&T Stadium

On Friday, Tarrant Area Food Bank will host a mass food distribution event of Thanksgiving-related food at AT&T Stadium. The market is expected to serve roughly 5,000 families, which will make it the organization’s largest food distribution event to date.

The market will be from 8 a.m-12 p.m. at the stadium’s Parking Lot 4, which is directly east of the stadium near the corner of Cowboys Way and AT&T Way.

The Mega Mobile Market is designed to support families who’re facing the effects of COVID. No identification or documentation will be required to receive food.

Map of Tarrant Area food bank location

Cook Children’s Hospital Will Start Limiting Visitors

Beginning Monday, Cook Children’s Medical Center will allow only one primary caregiver per patient due to the rising COVID-19 numbers.

Cook Children’s is experiencing the highest daily number of infected children since the pandemic began in March. The hospital confirmed on Friday that 14 patients with COVID have been admitted to the hospital.

So, the hospital is allowing only one parent or caregiver to accompany a child. That means siblings and others will not be allowed in.

The facility previously applied this rule from March through October, but eased it when the numbers went down. Now, the rule’s back because of substantial community spread.

The only exception to this one-caregiver rule is if it involves end-of-life situations and visits to the emergency room.

West Texas Oil Field Prices Plummet

The pandemic has caused the value of oil fields in West Texas to plummet.

Eli Huffman's a land broker and attorney at the Houston-based Lone Star Production Company. He told the Houston Chronicle property once worth more than $10,000 an acre have fallen below a thousand an acre.

The Chronicle reports prices for devalued oil and gas lands may not bounce back quickly if the pandemic worsens and lockdowns keep down demand for petroleum.

Sunday, Nov. 15

Dallas County Reports 1,458 New Cases

The upward trend continues as Dallas County Health and Human Services reports 1,458 new positive cases — 1,281 are confirmed and 177 are probable. One death is reported Sunday, a Dallas man in his 50s who had been critically ill in a hospital.

A provisional total of 843 confirmed and probable cases were diagnosed in school-aged children in the past week, and 10 schools were closed to in-person instruction.

1,523 Cases Added In Tarrant County

Tarrant County Public Health is reporting another high number of cases on Sunday — 1,523. One more death is also reported. Tarrant County's total number of cases is now 82,015.

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

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