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.
Top updates for Wednesday, April 22:
- An industry group reports 61% of restaurant workers in Texas have lost their jobs or been furloughed.
- Elective medical procedures in Texas will now be allowed to resume, enabling doctors and patients to begin mapping out their next steps.
- While this may be a different kind of Earth Day for people across the globe, mother Earth has seen things get cleaner and a little wilder while we all stay home.
- Dallas County Commissioners voted Tuesday to extend the county's safer-at-home order through May 15.
- Tarrant County officials updated an executive order Tuesday to be in line with the latest statewide order allowing elective medical procedures and some business openings.
Dallas City Council approves $13.7M in rent relief
The Dallas City Council on Wednesday approved $13.7 million in relief to help pay rent, mortgages and utilities for most residents who earn less than the median income in North Texas.
Unemployment claims have skyrocketed as businesses have temporarily or permanently closed during the coronavirus pandemic -- which led many in Dallas worried about making their rent.
The rental assistance program will be available for low and moderate-income renters and landlords to access beginning in early May.
The short-term mortgage and rental program will provide up to three months of payments for persons at or below 80-percent of the area median income.
Gov. Abbott discusses reopening businesses
In an interview with the Chad Hasty Show on News/Talk KFYO- Lubbock, Gov. Greg Abbott discussed giving local communities more control when it comes to reopening the state's economy. He discussed opening more businesses, such as hair salons.
"We want to make sure that Texas retains its position that's been true ever since I've been Governor, of being the best state in America for doing business," Abbott said to the radio station. "And we want to do so in a way that, we will open up as many businesses as possible, while also making sure that we do it in a safe way that doesn't lead to a retrenchment."
Denton County report 1 death and 25 additional cases
Denton County health officials announced the county's 19th coronavirus-related death, and 25 additional positive COVID-19 cases.
Officials report that there are 362 active COVID-19 cases, and that 263 residents have recovered.
Overall, there have been a total of 644 positive cases of COVID-19 in the county.
Tarrant County reports 2 additional deaths
Tarrant County health officials reported two additional deaths Wednesday afternoon, bringing the total to 44.
County officials say the two latest victims who died from COVID-19 had underlying health conditions.
The victims are a man in his 80s who lived an unincorporated area of the county and a man in his 60s from Fort Worth.
Officials also confirmed 97 new cases, bringing the case count total to 1,430. So far, 259 people have in the county have recovered from the novel coronavirus.
“This is not the time to be complacent,” Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said. “Continuing to follow the guidelines is the best way to protect yourself and your family.”
Collin County reports 14 new cases
Collin County health officials reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This brings the total case count to 584.
A total of 14 people have died from complications due to the novel coronavirus, officials say.
So far, 421 residents of Collin County have recovered from the virus.
McKinney reports 7 deaths at assisted living facility
Oxford Grand Assisted Living & Memory Care in Mckinney has reported there have been seven residents who died as a result of COVID-19 complications.
The residents included five women and two men, ranging in ages from 80 to 93.
The facility is privately owned and regulated by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
Rockwall reports first long-term care facility with COVID-19
On Tuesday evening, Rockwall County Office of Emergency Management reported two positive cases of COVID-19 at Broadmoor Medical Lodge.
"Residents are isolated, personal protective equipment (PPE) is being utilized, and they will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)," the office said in a statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Broadmoor residents, their families, staff, and all others impacted by this virus,” said County Judge David Sweet.
Galleria Dallas stores to open for retail-to-go Friday
Galleria Dallas officials say, shoppers who purchase from participating retailers online or via the phone will go through a “rigorous protocol” when picking up their items.
Shoppers will pick up items from 12 to 6 p.m. in front of the Westin Hotel, Galleria Dallas officials say.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced the start of “retail to-go” for businesses as part of phase one of a plan to slowly reactivate the Texas economy.
'Hamilton' tour stop at Bass Hall rescheduled to 2022 due to pandemic
Hamilton fans aren't throwing away their shot to see the famed musical come to North Texas — but they will have to wait until early 2022, Bass Hall officials announced Wednesday.
The musical was originally set for June 9-28. It has been rescheduled to Jan. 18-Feb. 6, 2022.
"In light of the current COVID-19 concerns in Fort Worth and around the country, and in accordance with city and health professionals' recommendations, Performing Arts Fort Worth’s upcoming engagement of Hamilton has been rescheduled," Bass Hall officials said in a statement.
Ticketholders don't have to take action; the tickets will be honored for the new dates. Those who purchased tickets through third parties will need to contact their points of purchase.
Dallas drive-thru testing site closed Wednesday due to weather
One of the two drive-thru coronavirus testing sites in Dallas is closed Wednesday due to the threat of severe weather.
City of Dallas officials suspended drive-thru testing for COVID-19 Wednesday at the Ellis Davis Field House.
The American Airlines Center testing site will remain open until 5 p.m., officials say. The site is experiencing higher wait times than usual, officials said, as of 11 a.m.
City officials are advising people who plan to visit the site:
- Be prepared to wait an hour or longer.
- Stay inside vehicles. Exiting vehicles increases the risk of COVID-19 spread to others, including staff.
- Have enough fuel to keep vehicles running during wait times.
Health care facilities add 'mini grocery stores' for staff
On Wednesday, officials announced that seven Medical City Healthcare hospitals in North Texas have opened “mini grocery stores," for staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mini grocery stores include items such as fresh produce, bread, meat, and dairy products.
Workers are able to purchase items a-la-carte or box orders that can be ordered and picked up at the end of their shift, according to the hospital.
Arlington ISD cancels school meal distribution due to severe weather threat
School officials announced they would cancel lunch service Wednesday as severe storms are predicted to move through the area during the afternoon.
The district will resume meal distribution on Thursday.
'Thank you Thursday': Showing gratitude for frontline workers
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."
Mayors Eric Johnson and Betsy Price are inviting people across North Texas to give outdoor ovations to frontline workers at 7 p.m. Thursday.
People are encouraged to use #thankyouthursday for posts on social media sharing and showing their gratitude.
Dallas hospital numbers released
Dallas reported hospital capacity numbers, as of Tuesday, at 25 hospitals.
- Total beds: 5,711
- Beds occupied: 3,107
- Total ICU beds: 827
- ICU beds occupied: 494
- Total ventilators: 942
- Ventilators in use: 305
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.
Digital producer Jozelyn Escobedo contributed to this report.
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