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COVID-19 now third leading cause of death in Dallas County

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced 394 additional positive cases and four additional deaths on Friday.

Officials say this week ended with the highest consecutive three days of reported COVID-19 cases on record in Dallas County, and the disease has become the third leading cause of death in 2020.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced 394 additional positive cases and four additional deaths Friday. That brings the countywide total to 16,042 cases, including 311 deaths, since tracking began in March. 

Jenkins said those numbers are concerning, but county officials are focused on the increase in hospitalizations across North Texas. 

Health officials reported 454 hospitalizations Friday in the county, which is a 60% increase from two weeks ago. 

Jenkins said there are currently enough hospital beds, but ICU availability and ventilator capacity is diminishing as more people continue to be admitted into the hospital. 

“There are a lot more people out in our community that could get you sick," Jenkins said. “That’s why we are moving into a more aggressive stance to keep you from getting sick from COVID." 

That more "aggressive stance" is an amended ordinance requiring businesses to require workers and customers to wear masks.

RELATED: Dallas County Commissioners Court passes amended face mask ordinance

Dr. Philip Huang, the director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, reiterated that facial coverings are important for everyone. He called wearing them a pathway so "we can get to open up our economy, community to open up in a safe way." 

For a daily roundup of the biggest coronavirus news from around North Texas and beyond, sign up for the WFAA COVID-19 email newsletter. 

Tarrant County reports 232 new cases

Friday afternoon, Tarrant County health officials reported 232 new cases and 2 more deaths related to COVID-19. 

According to county health officials, the number of patients hospitalized dropped to 263. On Thursday, officials had reported record-high hospitalizations with 283 patients. 

There have been 3,691 residents who have recovered since testing began in March.

Denton County reports 74 new COVID-19 cases

Health officials in Denton County announced 74 additional cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday. To date, 2,054 cases have been confirmed in the county. 

Denton health officials said 21 more people have recovered from the disease.

Walmart closes Dallas location out of precaution 

A spokesperson for Walmart confirmed that as of 2 p.m. Friday, the company has closed its Neighborhood Market at 2275 Gus Thomasson Rd out of precaution. It will remain shut down all day Saturday. 

Spokesperson Anne Hatfield says due to the spike in cases in the area, Walmart is taking proactive measures for the safety of its customers and associates. 

Hatfield released the following statement: 

"As an essential business and member of the Dallas, we understand the role we play in providing our customers with food, medicine, and other essential items during this unprecedented time. As the Dallas area is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, we are taking the proactive measure to temporarily close our Neighborhood Market at 2275 Gus Thomasson Rd to the public at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 19 and all day Saturday, June 20 as part of a company-initiated program. This will allow extra time for a third-party specialist to further sanitize the store. It will also give our associates additional time to restock shelves and prepare the store to serve the community once again during this unprecedented time. We plan to reopen the store to customers at 7 a.m. on Sunday, June 21.

Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and customers, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and health experts. When the store reopens on Sunday, we will continue to conduct associate health screens and temperature checks and provide all associates with facemasks and gloves, and require associates to wear masks while working. These protocols are in addition to the extensive measures we’ve put in place during the past several weeks to help protect our associates and customers, including installing sneeze guards at registers, limiting the number of customers in a store at any one time, one-way aisle shopping, placing social distancing signage, and enacting an emergency leave policy for associates who are unable or uncomfortable coming to work.

We will continue working closely with health officials and adjusting how we serve the community, while also keeping the health and safety of our customers and associates in mind.”

Long wait times at community testing sites

For the second time this week, city officials are warning residents that COVID-19 testing sites are experiencing long wait times.

Friday morning, the City of Dallas released a statement that the American Airlines Center and Ellis Davis Field House may have wait times up to four hours. 

Officials also stated that tests may be unavailable by mid-day. 

They advised residents to use the restroom in advance of their visit, to stay in their vehicles, and to have enough fuel. 

Residents are encouraged to visit other testing sites throughout Dallas that may have shorter wait times. The locations can be found here. 

RELATED: How to get swab or antibody coronavirus test in Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas County Commissioners Court passes mask policy 

The Dallas County Commissioners Court held an emergency session Friday morning to consider a county-wide mask policy. 

Commissioners voted 3-2 to pass the order mandating that businesses require customers to wear masks. The order includes a $500 fine.

The meeting comes after Gov. Greg Abbott said local governments can require businesses to mandate customers and workers to wear face masks, but could not order individuals to do so. 

Bexar and Hidalgo Counties, which includes the City of San Antonio, ordered such a measure earlier this week, following a surge in cases across the state. Dallas County is among those seeing upward trends in new positive cases, positivity rate, and hospitalizations due to COVID-19.  

RELATED: Dallas County Commissioners Court passes amended face mask ordinance

Parks and playgrounds pin Dallas reopen

City parks and playgrounds were allowed to reopen Friday. The Dallas Park and Recreation Department is asking families to bring sanitizer, wipe down surfaces, social distance, and wear masks when visiting. 

Six Flags reopens to members

Six Flags is allowed to reopen for the first time Friday after being closed for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hurricane Harbor reopened on Thursday.

Getting the park ready means extensive deep cleaning, before, during, and after guests arrive. There will be a focus on high tough points areas such as rides, handles, and seatbelts.

There will also be thermal imaging when people enter the park to scan for fevers or high temperatures.

Per CDC guidelines, masks will be required and Six Flags will hand them out to visitors.

As of right now, the park is only open to members, who need to sign up online ahead of time.

The parks will open to the general public on Monday.

RELATED: Thermal imaging: Valuable tool to detect virus, but beware of imitators

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