Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that he will announce new statewide executive orders next week regarding which businesses can open and whether Texans will be required to remain home.
The state is currently under an executive order limiting non-essential businesses and encouraging Texans to stay home until April 30. The governor has ordered schools to remain closed for the remainder of this school year.
But the governor has already softened some of the requirements, allowing curbside or shipped retail service and allowing elective medical procedures to resume.
"We know that Texans want to get back to work," Abbott said.
He said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference that he will announce new executive orders on April 27.
Abbott said some of those requirements will be implemented statewide and could overrule local orders, including an updated Dallas County stay-at-home order in place until May 15.
The governor did not say what his next executive orders might be or how long they will extend.
He said because Texans have been limiting interactions with each other, there are fewer new cases of COVID-19 than there were less than two weeks ago.
"All the numbers are trending down," he said.
Top updates for Tuesday, April 21:
- Oil prices took a deep nose dive on the markets yesterday, with the price going into the negative dollar amount at points. Here's what that could mean for Texas.
- Fort Worth's mayor is getting tested today for COVID-19. Mayor Betsy Price said she had been in close contact with a positive case, so though she is asymptomatic, she will get tested. She is currently self-quarantining.
- The Katy Trail has some new usage guidelines, and it's all based on your last name. The effort is to limit the number of people on the trail at any one time.
Fort Worth Mayor tests negative for COVID-19
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price announced during a Facebook live Tuesday that she tested negative for COVID-19 after being in close contact with a staff member who tested positive for the virus.
She said, "Folks, you don't need false sense of security. I'm going to remain cautious and vigilant and I'm going to lead by example."
Mayor Price was also adamant that more testing needs to be available, because "testing is the key to being able to clear this virus."
Watch Mayor Price's full Facebook live below:
Editor's note: This story previously stated that Price tested positive and negative. She tested negative.
Dallas County safer-at-home order does not conflict with state order
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins wanted to make a clarification Tuesday concerning the county's extension of the safer-at-home order.
Jenkins said by extending the order to May 15, the county will help keep residents safe by not allowing non-essential movement as the plan to reopen businesses moves forward.
Jenkins wanted to clarify that the county still plans to allow non-emergency medical procedures to resume starting Wednesday. And also that, retail businesses will still be able to sell items to-go, via a drive-thru set up or delivery, starting Friday.
Jenkins also announced that there will be new testing sites opening at two Walgreens locations on Friday.
Jenkins said he's not in a rush to reopen everything and that he will continue to listen to the science.
"It's like baking and golf. You rush your shot, you ruin your shot," the county judge said.
Dallas County reports 90 news cases, 4 deaths
During a news conference late Tuesday afternoon, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced 90 additional positive cases of COVID-19, and four deaths.
The death include a woman in her 50's with no underlying health conditions, a woman in her 90's with underlying health, a man in his 60's with underlying health conditions and a man in his 70's with underlying health conditions. Jenkins said of the patients were critically ill.
The new numbers brings the county's total cases to 2,602, including 64 deaths.
Gov. Abbott says there are jobs open to Texans
Gov. Greg Abbott said there are about 480,000 job openings available to Texans, including employment opportunities at several North Texas businesses.
More than 1.5 million Texans have filed for unemployment since businesses closed across the state in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Texas Workforce Commission has paid about 80% of those claims, equaling $1.4 billion.
Abbott said people want to get back to work. He said state leaders are working with business owners to ensure that work environments will be safe for employees.
The governor said the highest number of positive results from coronavirus testing in the state was April 9. He said the state is now 12 days in a row below "our all-time high."
About 10% of those tested statewide for COVID-19 are diagnosed with the disease. Nearly 20,000 people have been confirmed to have the novel coronavirus. More than 6,000 people have recovered from the illness, Abbott said.
Dallas County extends stay-at-home order until May 15
Dallas County commissioners voted Tuesday to extend the stay-at-home order through May 15 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tuesday afternoon vote was 3-2.
Previously, the stay-at-home order was set to end on April 30.
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 more than 1,500 people so far in North Texas. The declaration was extended through May 20.
Tarrant County reports 3 additional deaths
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.
Also on Tuesday, Tarrant County officials updated an executive order to be in line with the latest statewide order allowing elective medical procedures and some business openings.
ICE detention center in Alvarado sees spike in coronavirus cases
At least 24 people being held at the Prairieland Detention Center have now tested positive for COVID-19, federal officials reported Tuesday.
On Monday, the facility in Alvarado reported just three cases.
The jump means Prairieland now has the second-largest number of cases among all the ICE detention centers in the country. ICE has reported a total of 220 cases among people in custody.
Hospital capacity remains roughly the same in Dallas
A little more than half of Dallas' hospital beds are currently occupied, the most recent data from Mayor Eric Johnson's office suggests. Of available ICU beds, 58% are occupied, while about 31% of hospital ventilators are in use. These numbers have remained fairly consistent.
A total of 25 hospitals reported ventilator and bed capacity numbers Sunday.
The daily numbers are required under an emergency regulation that Johnson announced last month during a news conference.
Below is a list released by the Dallas mayor's office of the aggregated totals from 25 hospitals in the city:
- Total beds: 5,711
- Beds occupied: 2,973
- Total ICU beds: 827
- ICU beds occupied: 478
- Total ventilators: 942
- Ventilators in use: 296
1 death, 6 other cases reported at Waxahachie nursing home
Seven people associated with Legend Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation have contracted COVID-19, Waxahachie officials said. At least one has died from the disease.
Representatives of the nursing home have told city and county officials they believe the case count will rise in the coming days. The facility is working with the state health department and is under monitoring by state authorities, Waxahachie officials said.
City and county personnel have offered their support, along with a generous supply of personal protective equipment.
The facility confirmed its first positive case on April 6.
“The situation at Legend Oaks just further illustrates how quickly this virus spreads, and how difficult it is to contain, especially in close quarters,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Thomas Griffith.
Hunt County reports 3 new cases, retracts one
Three people under 17 have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county, officials said Monday.
One girl and two boys under the age of 17 were confirmed to have the novel coronavirus. All three live in the same zip code, 75401.
Officials also retracted a former case, for their 29th patient. The test result was misreported, according to officials, due to a problem with a fax.
The county has now had 34 total cases.
New Fort Worth testing site opens
MD Medical Group is opening its tenth drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in North Texas, a representative for the company said.
The location is the second one for the group in Tarrant County and will be located next to The Potter's House Church Fort Worth campus at 1200 Woodhaven Blvd.
It opens Tuesday.
A company spokesperson said the company has already tested more than 1,000 people at its current Fort Worth location and continues to see an increase in demand, hence the opening.
Asymptomatic and symptomatic people can be tested at the group's different locations, as well as children who are at least 2 years old.
The testing sites are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can handle up to 200 people a day.
Those wishing to get tested are asked to make appointments for the test via phone at 1-888-776-5252. Same-day appointments are available, the spokesperson said.
MD Medical Group testing locations:
- MD Family Clinic at 1200 Woodhaven Blvd. in Fort Worth
- Clinicas Mi Doctor at 4200 South Freeway, #106, in Fort Worth (open Saturdays)
- MD Family Clinic at 2636 W. Walnut St. in Garland
- MD Family Clinic at 9991 Marsh Lane, #100 in Dallas (open Saturdays)
- MD Family Clinic at 1111 S. Irving Heights Drive in Irving
- MD Family Clinic at 9709 Bruton Road in Dallas
- MD Kids Pediatrics at 3201 W. Saner Ave. in Dallas
- Clinicas Mi Doctor at 410 E. Pioneer Pkwy, #300, in Grand Prairie
- MD Kids Pediatrics at 7800 Preston Road, #300, in Plano
- Clinicas Mi Doctor at 701 S. Stemmons Freeway in Lewisville (open Saturdays)
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.
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