This week’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Dallas County remain lower than last week’s daily average, County Judge Clay Jenkins says.
Thursday afternoon, Dallas County health officials confirmed an additional 80 people tested positive, bringing the total case count to 2,763.
"I am encouraged by the number of new cases, which is once again lower than the average daily number last week. That’s been the pattern every day this week," Jenkins said.
Health officials also confirmed seven additional deaths, bringing the county’s total to 72.
Of the total deaths reported to date, about a third have been associated with long-term care facilities, officials say.
The following information regarding the ages of the latest victims have been released by officials:
- A woman in her 70s who was found dead in her Dallas home.
- A woman in her 60s, who lived in Richardson and was critically ill at a local hospital.
- Two men who lived in Dallas, one in his 60s and one in his 80s, both were critically ill at local hospitals.
- Three victims lived at long-term care facilities in Dallas and had been critically ill at local hospitals. The patients include a woman in her 80s, a woman in her 90s, and a man in his 90s.
The specific long-term care facilities were not named in Thursday’s news release.
Top updates for Thursday, April 23:
- More than 4.4 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week as job cuts escalated across an economy that remains all but shut down, the government said Thursday.
- The mayors of Dallas and Fort Worth want to honor the sacrifices of those working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic on "Thank you Thursday." At 7 p.m.m residents are encouraged to give outdoor ovations to frontline workers.
- Beginning Thursday, Dallas Parks and Recreation will employ new guidelines to try and decrease the foot-traffic volume on Katy Trail on days of the week that tend to be busier. Access to the trail will go by last name, click here for details.
Dallas County judge urges faith leaders to not hold in-person services
During a press conference Thursday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins urged faith leaders to not hold in-person services, despite Governor Abbott's order that places of worship can reopen.
Jenkins said he spoke with the leaders of the Muslim community and they told said mosques will remain closed during Ramadan to help keep members safe.
Jenkins said the Muslim community has proved to be "some of the finest people in the Dallas community."
Jenkins said the decision to reopen places of worship is ultimately up to the faith leaders, but he says the CDC guidelines haven't changed. He pointed out that it's still unsafe to gather, because Dallas is experiencing a substantial outbreak of COVID-19.
But if faith leaders do choose to reopen their places of worship, Jenkins said "we need to exhibit grace toward each other."
Tarrant County reports 129 new cases, 1 additional death
Another person in Tarrant County has died due to the novel coronavirus, health officials announced Thursday. This brings the death toll to 45.
The latest victim was a man in his 60s from Azle that had underlying health conditions, officials say.
“Every death is regrettable and reinforces how important it is for everyone to stay the course and listen to our leadership,” Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said.
The county also reported 129 new cases, bringing the total count to 1,559.
So far, 265 people have recovered from the virus.
Dallas police officer learns of positive diagnosis one month after results are lost
A Dallas police officer has learned about a positive COVID-19 diagnosis one month after the initial test results were lost, officials say.
The officer, who works at the northeast patrol division, learned of the diagnosis on Wednesday, according to Dallas police officials.
This is the 13th Dallas police officer to contract the novel coronavirus. A dispatcher and public service officer have also tested positive, bringing the department’s total case count to 15.
Dallas police officials released the following timeline of the officer’s case:
- March 19: The officer’s last day on the job. They left work early after experiencing symptoms. The officer begins quarantining for 14 days or until further notice.
- March 25: The officer went for testing and remains in quarantine while waiting for test results. That same day, the officer is notified that test results are lost.
- April 13: After 25 days of being quarantined, the officer is cleared by the department’s medical team to return to work.
- April 21: At the urging of a primary care physician, the officer was given a blood test to see if the individual had been positive and if antibodies were present.
April 22: The officer learns about the positive diagnosis from weeks ago and that the antibodies are present. The officer has decided to donate plasma to help others who have tested positive.
According to a news release sent by the Dallas Police Department, there are currently nine officers self-quarantined. The department says 130 officers so far have completed a quarantine period during the pandemic.
Arlington to begin drive-thru testing:
Beginning Friday, the City of Arlington will conduct free drive-testing for COVID-19.
Tests will only be performed by appointment between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Residents must have a fever over 99.6, cough or shortness of breath and one of the conditions below to meet the testing criteria:
- Employed as a healthcare or essential worker
- Are over 65
- Have chronic health conditions
Officials say the testing location will be provided once the appointment time slot has been confirmed.
Additional instructions on how to set up a testing appointment can be found here.
North Richland Hills to make budget cuts due to COVID-19 crisis
North Richland Hills officials announced the city plans to make budget cuts due to economic loss from the COVID-19 crisis.
Budget cuts will be made for all full-time employees, officials said in a news release Thursday.
The City will also close non-emergency operations on May 1, 8, and 15 to save money.
During those days, public safety operations won't close but employees in the departments will take three days off.
Stores at NorthPark Center to begin retail-to-go sales on Friday
Select stores and restaurants at NorthPark Center in Dallas will resume sales Friday under the "retail-to-go" program.
Under Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order, beginning April 24, non-essential businesses are allowed to sell items that can be picked up curbside or delivered.
Galleria Dallas also announced it will also begin retail-to-go sales later this week.
Shoppers will need to follow the protocol listed on the NorthPark Center website when picking up items.
Tanger Outlets Fort Worth seeks food donations
Tanger Outlets Fort Worth is asking for donations for a food drive that will benefit the Northwest Independent School District.
The donations can be dropped off at 15853 North Freeway between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. April 23, 24, 30, and May 1.
- Granola bars/ fruit and grain bars
- Boxed cereal
- Individual macaroni and cheese or noodle bowls
- Cans of soup
- Packages of ramen or cup of soup
- Fruit snacks
- Fruit cups or applesauce pouches
- Water bottles or juice boxes
- Beef jerky
- Canned beans, fruit, etc.
- Cans of tuna or chicken
- Bags or boxes of rice
- Bags or boxes of pasta
- Pasta sauce (avoid glass jars when possible)
Daily hospital capacity numbers released:
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s office released the latest ventilator and bed capacity numbers Thursday afternoon.
A total of 25 hospitals reported information to the mayor’s office on Wednesday:
- Total beds: 5,711
- Beds occupied: 3,226
- Total ICU beds: 827
- ICU beds occupied: 505
- Total ventilators: 942
- Ventilators in use: 294
The data is meant to keep the public informed of the COVID-19 crisis in the City of Dallas, Johnson's office says.
Health experts recommend taking the following actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Practice "social distancing" and stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid large public gatherings
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the U.S.
More on WFAA:
- Dallas woman gives back to unsung heroes working behind the scenes at hospitals
- Millions of new unemployment claims expected as layoffs continue
- Risking a possible fine and jail time, Dallas salon owner says she will reopen on Friday
- Things we're buying during the pandemic: latex gloves, bread makers and ping pong balls
- McKinney living facility reports 8 memory care residents died of COVID-19