This story is from April 18. For updates from April 19, click here.
Saturday afternoon, Dallas County health officials reported the largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in one day.
County health officials confirmed an additional 134 people have tested positive, bringing the total case count to 2,324.
Five more people have also died from the virus. All the victims had been critically ill at local hospitals, officials say.
Dallas County health officials released the following information about the latest victims' ages:
- A man in his 80s who lived in Grand Prairie.
- A woman in her 90s who lived in University Park.
- Two men in their 70s who lived in long-term care facilities in Dallas.
- And a woman in her 70s who also lived in a long-term care facility in Dallas.
So far, 60 people in Dallas County have died from the novel coronavirus.
“This is why must limit unnecessary trips, wear cloth coverings at essential businesses and continue making good personal responsible decisions. It is also why we must listen to public health officials as leaders contemplate loosening safety orders,” County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a news release.
Top updates for Saturday, March 18:
- Gov. Greg Abbott announced plans Friday to reopen the Texas economy in stages and announced schools will be closed the remainder of the year. The governor issued three executive orders that will loosen restrictions on businesses, medical procedures, and state parks, he said.
- During an emergency meeting Friday, the Dallas County Commissioners voted to have a limited reopening of craft stores so people can buy mask and school supplies.
For a daily roundup of the biggest coronavirus news from around North Texas and beyond, sign up for the WFAA COVID-19 email newsletter.
Judge Clay Jenkins announces additional mobile tests for nursing homes
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted Saturday that he signed a new deal with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for additional mobile tests at nursing home and other “mobility challenged populations.”
In the tweet, Jenkins said there will be 100 additional tests per day.
Jenkins said more widespread testing is needed to help flatten the curve and to reopen Texas. He also called for residents to not disregard science. And that “no one will be happy if a second wave leads to more death and forces isolation to last longer.”
Denton County reports 16th death
Denton County health officials announced a man in his 70s died from COVID-19. The man, who is from Carrollton, was previously hospitalized after local transmission of the virus.
"As we report the loss of a sixteenth life to COVID-19 in Denton County today, we hope everyone will take a moment to keep our fellow residents affected by this pandemic in your thoughts and prayers,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads.
Officials also announced seven new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the county's total to 592 cases. Among those patients, 248 have reportedly recovered.
Collin County reports 13th death
Collin County health officials confirmed an 82-year-old woman with underlying health issues died from COVID-19 Saturday.
Officials said the woman's positive test results were revealed the day before her death.
This is the 13th death reported in the county. Officials said there have been 521 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Collin County residents. As of Friday, 320 of those patients had recovered, and 17 were hospitalized.
Tarrant County reports 3 additional deaths
Tarrant County health officials have confirmed 3 more people have died from COVID-19. This brings the county's death toll to 38.
According to county health officials, the latest victims include three women. One woman was in her 60s and lived in Fort Worth, another woman was in her 70s and lived in Mansfield, the third woman was also in her 70s and lived in Keller.
Officials say two of the women had underlying health conditions.
“Every loss of life is painful to report, and our condolences go out to the families of these residents,” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.
According to the Tarrant County website, there are a total of 1,229 confirmed cases as of Saturday. So far, 188 people have recovered from COVID-19.
Dallas County residents now required to wear face coverings
As of Saturday morning, all Dallas County residents over the age of 2, are now required to wear face-coverings when visiting essential businesses to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Essential business employees and riders of public transportation are also required to comply with the order.
The new order, under the current Declaration of Local Disaster, calls for fabric coverings, not medical-grade masks or N-95 respirators.
Residents, however, will not face any fines if they do not comply with the order, officials say.
County Judge Clay Jenkins said simply telling the public would be enough.
Daily hospital capacity numbers released
A total of 25 hospitals reported ventilator and bed capacity numbers Friday to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson's office.
The daily numbers are required under an emergency regulation that Johnson announced last month during a news conference.
The data provided by Johnson's office this week has shown an increase in the total of ICU beds that are occupied.
Below is a list released by the mayor's office of the aggregated totals from 25 hospitals:
- Total beds: 5,711
- Beds occupied: 2,953
- Total ICU beds: 827
- ICU beds occupied: 523
- Total ventilators: 940
- Ventilators in use: 303
Dallas homeless residents quarantined at hotel
A total of 171 residents at Dallas Life homeless shelter will now be quarantined at a hotel after cases of COVID-19 were confirmed within the community.
On Thursday, Dallas Life partnered with the health department so that all staff and residents could be tested for the novel coronavirus, shelter officials say.
A total of 38 residents received a positive diagnosis, although they did not show any symptoms, according to Dallas Life officials.
Now, the shelter and City of Dallas have partnered together to provide hotel rooms so that all 171 homeless residents can remain quarantined for 14-days, officials say.
Dallas Life will be sanitized and residents could return after the 14-day quarantine period, according to officials.
The Health Department was so incredible to let all of our folks be tested, this allows us to deal with this right away and stop it from spreading to those who are the most vulnerable of our population,” Dallas Life executive director Bob Sweeney said.
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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