This timeline will be updated as new developments emerge.
On March 9, the Dallas-Fort Worth area had its first confirmed positive case of COVID-19. In the days to follow, city and county leaders implemented various preventative measures in hopes of fighting the pandemic.
Here's a look back at the spread of the disease in the U.S. and in Texas.
The Timeline of Events:
Jan. 16: The first U.S. case of coronavirus originating from China was reported in a man in Washington state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Snohomish County man, who is in his 30s, returned to the U.S. from Wuhan, China on Jan. 15, traveling through Sea-Tac International Airport. The virus is believed to have originated in Wuhan.
He was treated at the Everett Providence Regional Medical Center in Washington and made a full recovery, officials said.
Feb. 7: Travelers being quarantined in relation to the coronavirus outbreak arrived in San Antonio, touching down at Kelly Field.
Health officials said the plane carried fewer than 100 passengers, including at least two children, who would be held at Lackland Air Force Base for a two-week quarantine.
March 4: The Fort Bend County health department confirmed a "presumptive positive" case of the COVID-19. The man, who is in his 70s, had recently traveled abroad and got tested at a Houston lab.
March 9: The first case of COVID-19 is confirmed in North Texas. The patient is a Frisco father in his 30s. He traveled to California at the end of February and returned to Collin County at the beginning of March.
Officials said during the man's business trip in California, he came in contact with someone who had contracted the novel coronavirus.
The patient's wife and their 3-year-old child also test positive for COVID-19.
March 8: Sen. Ted Cruz announces that he is self-quarantining after he learned that he came in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
In the statement, Cruz says he hasn't experienced any symptoms. He says said he held a brief conversation with the individual and they also shook hands.
March 10: Dallas County and Tarrant County health officials both confirm “presumptive positive” cases of the novel coronavirus.
March 11: The World Health Organization classifies the worldwide outbreak of the new coronavirus crisis as a pandemic.
"Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
March 12: Dallas County officials declare a local disaster in response to the COVID-19 pandemic after 13 people are infected in North Texas.
As a part of the local disaster, Dallas County bans gatherings of more than 500 people. That order went into effect at 11 a.m. Friday, March 13.
"We must act now to slow the spread," Johnson said. "We know taking precaution immediately will save lives, especially our most vulnerable residents."
March 13: President Donald Trump declares a national emergency on Friday afternoon to bolster funding for fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump says the emergency will open up nearly $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. Additionally, the president said they would be waiving interest on federally owned student loans in an effort to ease the financial impact of the virus outbreak.
Gov. Greg Abbott declares a statewide public health disaster as the virus continues to spread. This authorizes the use of all resources needed to respond to COVID-19.
Throughout the day, city and county officials across North Texas and the country made emergency declarations as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, Bishop Edward Burns announces the Catholic Diocese of Dallas will suspend all public masses until March 30, 2020, due to public health concerns.
March 14: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweets that the county's first patient who tested positive for COVID-19, a 77-year-old man, was leaving the hospital in "great shape".
Jenkins also said the man's wife also tested positive, but she was "never sick enough to need admission."
March 15: Houses of worship across North Texas are closed for Sunday services. Several churches, however, streamed their service online.
The first coronavirus-related death in Texas is reported. A Matagorda County COVID-19 patient in his 90s died, according to county officials.
Denton County Public Health (DCPH) identified the first "presumptive positive," travel-related case of COVID-19 in Denton County.
The "presumptive positive" patient is a man in 30s who lives outside of Denton County but is temporarily living and self-isolating in Double Oak, according to Denton County health officials.
March 16: During a news conference, Trump says his administration "strongly recommends" that for the next 15 days Americans to avoid groups bigger than 10, discretionary travel, eating at restaurants and bars and food courts and do schooling from home.
A few hours later, the City of Dallas orders all bars, lounges, taverns, gyms and theaters to close at midnight. Additionally, the Dallas Independent School District and Richardson ISD announce they are closing indefinitely.
"The fight against this disease will require some sacrifice. But what I know about this city, which I have called home for my entire life, is that Dallas does not bow to fear, ever," Mayor Eric Johnson said.
The City of Dallas and Dallas County ordered all bars, lounges, taverns, gyms and theaters to close. Restaurants would need to shutter their dining rooms and only provide takeout or drive-thru service.
The City of Fort Worth also announced Monday it would enact a mandatory reduction in the occupancy limits of local businesses.
The measure is in place for at least seven days. It will be up to the Dallas City Council to determine whether the regulation will stay in place longer.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins also announces there will soon be two new drive-thru testing centers in the Dallas area, one in Grand Prairie at the former Verizon Theater and one at the American Airlines Center in a parking garage.
He says this will allow healthcare professionals to test up to 5,000 people a week.
March 17: Abbott activates the Texas National Guard to be prepared to assist with response efforts for COVID-19.
According to the governor's office, this preparative measure will ensure that the state's National Guard can aid in various ways across Texas as necessary.
The first COVID-19 related death was confirmed in D-FW after tests showed an elderly Arlington man who died Sunday had the novel coronavirus. Pat James, 77, had undergone testing for COVID-19 on Saturday, about a day before he died.
March 18: The second novel coronavirus-related death is confirmed in North Texas. According to a news release, the patient was a 64-year-old man from Plano.
Officials say he died at a local hospital Tuesday from an underlying medical condition and was also infected with the novel coronavirus.
Collin County officials say the positive case was confirmed posthumously, meaning the man was not included in the previous nine cases reported in the county.
March 19: Gov. Greg. Abbott issued an executive order telling all Texans to avoid social gatherings and groups of more than 10 people.
The order also closes all schools, bars, dine-in restaurants, and gyms.
Abbott also said the workplaces can remain open but staffing should be limited to essential personnel; everyone else should work remotely.
The order is in effect midnight Friday and continues until midnight April 3.
A Richarson man who was found dead in his home was confirmed to have COVID-19, Dallas County officials said Thursday.
The man was in his 60s and did not have chronic health conditions, according to officials.
The Dallas County Medical Examiner confirmed the man had the novel coronavirus.
March 20: Reverend Dr. Robert Pace, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth is released from quarantine after receiving two negative tests for COVID-19, diocese officials announce.
The Tarrant County Health Department signed an order on March 19 releasing Pace from isolation. Diocese officials said Pace is still recovering from pneumonia and can’t talk much because it exacerbates his coughing.
March 21: Two new drive-thru testing sites open in Dallas County. The two sites are Parking Lot E at the American Airlines Center, which is located at 2500 Victory Boulevard in Dallas and The Ellis Davis Field House, which is at 9191 South Polk Street in Dallas.
March 22: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issues a "shelter-in-place" order at a news conference.
The order goes in effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 23 and will stay in place until at least 11:59 p.m. on April 3. Jenkins said April 3 is when his current authority expires hence the deadline, but he expects that authority to be extended.
The order comes hours after Gov. Greg Abbott said he would not implement a statewide "shelter-in-place" order, but would instead leave it up to local authorities to make that decision.
March 23: Dallas loosens COVID-19 testing requirements at drive-thru sites after hundreds were turned away during the first weekend of the locations being opened. Anyone who exhibits the symptoms of the disease is now allowed to be tested at either site:
- Shortness of breath
- Must show a temperature of 99.6 or higher
March 24: Collin, Denton, and Tarrant counties join Dallas County in issuing some variation of a "stay at home" order to limit gatherings and nonessential travel.
The efforts are all in order to help flatten the curve of the spread of the virus so that sick patients do not overwhelm the area's healthcare system.
In addition, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announces a new "Stay home, Work safe" order for both the City of Houston and Harris County. The order is similar to what many other communities are referring to as a "stay-at-home order" or a shelter-in-place.
The order allows restaurants to remain open for takeout, delivery and drive through. Daycares that provide support for essential employees will also remain open.
March 25: President Trump declares that a major disaster exists in Texas and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts for COVID-19, according to a press release from the White House.
The President’s action makes federal funding available for crisis counseling for affected individuals in all areas in Texas, White House officials said. Federal funding was also made available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures.
March 26: Gov. Greg Abbott issues an executive order that requires anyone flying into Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Orleans to be quarantined for 14 days or for the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Texas.
The mandatory self-quarantine does not apply to anyone traveling by vehicle.
“California or Washington State could be the next ones on the list if the list were to expand,” Abbott said during a news conference.
Abbott said the Texas Department of Safety Troopers will enforce the order.
March 29: Gov. Greg Abbott announces that the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas will become the first overflow hospital site for COVID-19 patients.
250 beds will be set up, with plenty of room to expand, according to Abbott.
Officials with the National Guard said that could become as many as 1,400 beds, if necessary.
Hospitals will continue to remain the primary location for acute care, Abbott said.
March 30: McKinney Mayor George Fuller confirms that his daughter has tested positive for COVID-19. He said the 19-year-old is in self-quarantine in Dallas.
"I'm a father that can only comfort his daughter through FaceTime, which is extremely frustrating," Fuller admitted.
March 31: Gov. Abbott issues an executive order that only allows Texans to leave their homes for essential activities. The order will last through April 30.
Abbott also said schools in Texas will remain closed through at least Monday, May 4, but added that date could be extended.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announces hospitals in the city are now required to report capacity numbers daily to officials.
He believes residents still don’t understand what’s going on and how serious COVID-19 is within the community.
“The daily numbers of hospital capacity could help,” Johnson said.
Each day by 4 p.m., local hospitals will be required to report the number of beds, ICU beds, and ventilators that are available.
April 2: During a Thursday night news conference, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins called out craft stores — specifically Hobby Lobby — that remained open during the county's emergency order.
Dallas County deputies arrived at the Hobby Lobby off Preston Road in Dallas and presented a cease-and-desist order which instructed the store to shut down. The next morning, the store closed.
"I just want to make it clear to Hobby Lobby and anybody who is foolish enough to follow in their footsteps that in Dallas County the government and 99.9% of the business community put public health over profits," Jenkins said.
April 3: President Donald Trump announces new federal guidelines recommending that Americans wear face coverings when in public to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus. The president immediately said he had no intention of following that advice himself, saying, “I'm choosing not to do it."
The new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages people, especially in areas hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus, to use rudimentary coverings like T-shirts, bandannas and non-medical masks to cover their faces while outdoors.
The Dallas County commissioners voted to extend the local disaster declaration until May 20 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the extended declaration, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins extended the stay-at-home order until April 30.
“Everything that’s in [the stay-at-home order] is in there for the purpose of giving our healthcare workers the best chance of having the capacity to take care of people and not have the hospitals be overrun,” Jenkins said.
Dallas County officials first declared a local disaster on March 12 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world and has infected thousands in North Texas.
Texas grocery stores announce changes will be implemented soon to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Walmart, Tom Thumb, Kroger, and Albertsons will be installing plexiglass sneeze guards at the registers in the next few weeks.
Target and Costco also announced they would limit the number of customers allowed in stores.
April 4: The novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout the North Texas community as more people get tested each day.
On the afternoon of April 4, Dallas County officially surpassed 1,000 cases of COVID-19 when health officials reported that 94 additional people tested positive.
This brings the total case count to 1,015 in the county.
April 5: The novel coronavirus has continued to spread throughout North Texas, with more than 2,000 cases reported across the region. More people are getting tested, and as the results come back, the virus has been shown to be hitting younger people hard, even if they have no underlying health conditions.
April 6: As need has surged and more than tripled in recent weeks due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the North Texas Food Bank is getting some much-needed help from members of the Texas National Guard, a spokesperson said.
More than 250 members of the Texas National Guard will be mobilized to help run the North Texas Food Bank.
"Members of the Texas National Guard arrived in Plano this weekend with a simple mission: feeding our community’s most needy people across the 13 counties that the North Texas Food Bank serves," a news release said. "The humanitarian effort will provide a helping hand to the Food Bank as they work to increase their distribution efforts to meet the growing need in our region."
Guard members will initially serve at the food bank for 30 days in different capacities.
April 7: As confirmed COVID-19 cases in Texas continue to increase, Gov. Greg Abbott has announced additional measures in hopes of slowing the spread.
Abbott announced he has instructed the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to close all state parks and historic sites.
The historic sites and state parks will close at 5 p.m. April 7 and will reopen at the governor's orders.
The governor says the closure is in efforts to strengthen social distancing and prevent large groups of people, Abbott’s office said
“Given the myriad of challenges and heightened risks of operating the parks at this time, we believe this is the best course of action right now in order to meet the health and safety expectations the state has set out for the citizens of Texas,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of TPWD.
April 8: For the first time in the city's history, Dallas officials have made the decision to close all 397 parks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
City parks and golf courses will close at 9 p.m. Friday and will reopen at 7 a.m. Monday. Trails will remain open, officials say.
Dallas officials made the announcement Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, Mayor Eric Johnson and Park and Recreation Director John Jenkins explained their reasoning behind the decision.
Johnson said they gave some thought to leaving the parks open and trusting people would distancing guidelines. However, they ultimately decided they would be putting the public, city staff, and first responders in harm’s way.
Dallas joins Fort Worth, Haltom City and Red Oak in similar park measures for the holiday weekend.
April 10: Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference that Texans appear to be flattening the curve on the spread of the new coronavirus.
Abbott pointed to a slowing rate of new cases across the state as a result of people staying at home and using social distancing practices.
But the governor urged caution saying it is "too early to declare" success. He said that the possible slowing of COVID-19 could mean that businesses will begin to reopen.
He announced that he plans to issue a new executive order soon regarding how Texas businesses can plan to reopen.
April 11: For the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services has provided cumulative test totals for each county.
Prior to the new document being released, testing numbers were posted by overall state totals.
As of April 8, here are the cumulative totals for the four major counties in North Texas:
- Dallas County- 9,456 tests
- Tarrant County- 6,290 tests
- Denton County- 3,207 tests
- Collin County- 2,605 tests
Totals for other counties Texas can be found by clicking here.
April 12: Gov. Greg Abbott has extended the state's disaster declaration for an additional 30 days, the governor's office announced.
Abbott originally declared a state of disaster on March 13. The declaration applies to all Texas counties and gives the state access to funds and other resources needed to fight COVID-19.
April 13: Gov. Greg Abbott’s office announced $50 million in loans to help small businesses by the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor’s office partnered with Goldman Sachs and the LiftFund, along with other community development institutions on the effort.
Abbott hosted a news conference for the announcement Monday morning.
The loans will be made through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be mainly used for payroll so that employees can continue to get paid and these affected businesses can retain their team.
April 14: Judge Clay Jenkins says Dallas is 'in the middle' of its coronavirus fight
Three weeks to the day after Dallas County’s stay-at-home order went into effect, the county announced 10 COVID-19 related deaths, its highest one-day total.
In a news conference, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Phillip Huang said the spike in deaths isn't alarming.
“Probably these deaths represent maybe infections that occurred a couple of weeks ago. We can expect that these might continue to increase for a while,” Huang said.
April 15: The testing capacity for the new coronavirus in Dallas County will more than double in the coming days, according to Judge Clay Jenkins.
Jenkins tweeted that U.S. Health and Human Services has given Dallas County permission to up the number of tests at each of its drive-thru sites from 250 to 500. He said they are waiting to receive an official letter authorizing this increase.
Additionally, Jenkins tweeted that Walgreens will be opening two testing locations of its own — one at 2060 S Buckner Boulevard in Dallas and a second at 8600 Camp Bowie West in Fort Worth. Both of those locations will be able to provide 160 tests a day at no cost.
April 16: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins will require residents to wear cloth coverings beginning Saturday.
Jenkins tweeted the new requirement, along with the latest COVID-19 data in Dallas County.
Dallas County is one of the largest counties in Texas to require facial protections; others with similar mandates include Travis, Bastrop, Hidalgo counties.
“To better protect you and our frontline heroes, we are requiring all visitors to essential businesses, essential business employees and riders of public transportation to wear a cloth covering beginning Saturday,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins also stressed residents must limit unnecessary trips.
April 17: Gov. Greg Abbott announced three executive orders that will reopen the Texas economy in stages. The orders loosen restrictions on retail businesses and medical procedures. However, students will not return to class this school year, he said.
The governor also announced he will reopen state parks on Monday.
One reason the state is reopening in phases is that Texas has slowed the progression of COVID-19, Abbott said.
“We must be guided by data and doctors and put health and safety first,” Abbott said. “We must prioritize protecting our most vulnerable populations.”
On April 17, Dallas County health officials reported that an additional 124 people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total case count to 2,190.
Five more people have also died from coronavirus. This brings the death toll to 55 in Dallas County.
Dallas Fire-Rescue is reporting that two more firefighters have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total firefighters who have tested positive since the outbreak began to 12. Four firefighters have made full recoveries after testing positive.
There are now a total of 51 inmates in Dallas County who have tested positive for COVID-19 and eight additional jail employees have tested positive, said Dr. Philip Huang, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.
Collin County health officials announced the county’s 12th death from COVID-19. The 73-year-old man was from Fairview and had underlying health conditions. He died in a local hospital Friday morning.
There have been 521 confirmed positives cases of COVID-19 reported in Collin County, with 320 recoveries and 17 hospitalizations.
April 20: Denton County officials reported a 17th person had died from COVID-19 and five additional positive cases.
Officials said there are currently 332 active cases of COVID-19, and 249 have recovered.
On April 20, Collin County health officials announced 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. There have been 544 total cases in the county. Fifteen people are currently hospitalized and 185 people are in home isolation. There have been 13 deaths.
There have been 544 confirmed positives cases of COVID-19 reported in Collin County, with 331 recoveries and 15 hospitalizations.
On April 20, Ellis County health officials announced 10 additional confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 and three additional recoveries.
Of the 10 new cases, four of the cases are two male residents in their 70s and two female residents, ages 82 and 90.
Twenty-three people total have recovered.
April 21: Tarrant County health officials reported three more deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday. They include a Fort Worth woman in her 90s, a Fort Worth man in his 40s, and an Arlington man in his 90s. All had underlying health conditions.
They also announced 84 new cases, bringing the total cases to 1,333.
April 22: The number of COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday is 10% lower than the previous day, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says.
Dallas County health officials released new numbers that state 81 additional people have tested positive. This brings the total case count to 2,683.
County officials also confirmed another person died from complications related to the new coronavirus.
Officials say the latest victim was a man in his 60s who lived in Grand Prairie and was critically ill at a local hospital.
“While we mourn the passing of our 65th Dallas County resident who has died from COVID19, today’s numbers are encouraging as they are 10% lower than yesterday’s & each day thus far this week, the numbers have been lower than the average daily new cases reported last week," Jenkins said.
"Our challenge will be to continue to make good personal responsibility decisions and limit exposure as more activities resume," he said.
April 24: Under an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott, non-essential businesses can resume sales under the "retail-to-go" program. This means stores are allowed to sell items that can then be picked up curbside or delivered.
April 25: An officer with the Dallas Police Department returned to work Saturday morning after battling COVID-19 and pneumonia.
During his time being sick, Kevin Thomas lost 20 lbs and spent 10 days at the hospital, including several of those days in the ICU.
Thomas says he was at work when he started feeling sick and went home. He then developed a fever and wasn’t doing well, so he went to the hospital.
"I’d say to take it seriously. Wear your mask. Wear your gloves. Six feet distancing, it’s no joke. I didn’t take it seriously at first, so take it seriously. That is my advice," he said.
Saturday morning his family released balloons at the start of his shift and prayed with him.
April 27: Gov. Greg Abbott will let the statewide stay-at-home order expire April 30, paving the way for the first phase of reopening measures.
Retail stores, restaurants, theaters, and malls can reopen May 1 with limited occupancy, Abbott said during a news conference.
Abbott said museums and libraries can also reopen as long as interactive areas stay closed.
Businesses will be limited to 25% occupancy, the governor said. That occupancy rate can be criminally enforced or the business could lose its operating license for violating the order.
May 1: As Texas takes its first step in reopening, Dallas County and Collin County health officials have reported a new single-day high for COVID-19 case numbers.
And Tarrant County health officials reported a near-record high single-day tally of new coronavirus cases.
Friday afternoon, 187 new cases and two deaths were confirmed in Dallas County. In Tarrant County, 142 new cases were reported and one new death.
Collin County reported 41 new cases of the coronavirus, up from its highest tally of 37 reported in one day. The county also reported a new death.
Under the governor's latest orders, malls, movie theaters, retailers, and restaurants were allowed to reopen at 25% capacity Friday morning.
May 5: Hair salons, barbershops, tanning salons, and nail salons can reopen on May 8 in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said.
Abbott made those announcements as he clarified and amended many of his reopening orders during an afternoon news conference. He also said other businesses, such as gyms, will be able to open at 25% capacity on May 18.