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Live COVID-19 updates: 5 Dallas County inmates test positive for COVID-19

It's unclear how the first inmate got the disease. He has been in jail since December and was held in a pod with 50 others.

This story is from March 25. To see updates from March 26, click here

Five Dallas County jail inmates have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials said Wednesday afternoon. 

One inmate, a man in his 40s, was confirmed to have the disease Wednesday morning, and Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown said four other inmates had symptoms of the illness.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said during a 6 p.m. news conference that those four people had also tested positive for COVID-19. 

It's unclear how the first inmate got the disease. He has been in jail since December and was held in a pod with 50 others.

Jenkins assured families of Dallas County inmates that people are housed separately. 

"The fact that your loved one is in jail does not mean they're going to get COVID," the judge said. Read more here.

Also on Wednesday, Dallas County health officials announced they had confirmed 78 new cases of COVID-19 and a sixth death from the disease.

The increase brings the county's total to 247 positive cases among Dallas County residents.

More than 300 positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported in North Texas, including eight deaths. 

Most of the region will soon be under some variation of a "stay at home" order, with Collin, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro, Rockwall and Tarrant Counties following the lead of Dallas County on Tuesday and issuing their own orders.

To see what the official orders are for your town or county, click here. 

Six people have died in Dallas County so far from COVID-19, up from two deaths reported Sunday. One person has died in Tarrant County, and one person has died in Collin County, according to health officials.

RELATED: What are the 'essential' jobs listed in county stay at home orders?

Top updates for Wednesday, March 25:

RELATED: Coronavirus information in Spanish, Chinese

3 SMU students test positive for COVID-19

Three Southern Methodist University students have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email sent out to SMU students Wednesday from university president R. Gerald Turner.

All the students are not on campus and all three were tested after leaving campus for Spring Break, Turner said. Read more here.

Dallas County sees biggest single-day increase in cases 

The county spike follows the opening of two drive-thru testing sites in the City of Dallas over the weekend and the expansion of those testing sites to any person exhibiting symptoms on Monday afternoon. 

Test results currently take about two to three days to be publicly released.

The latest tally includes the death of a Garland woman who was in her 80s had been hospitalized before she died, county officials said. She did not have any other high-risk chronic health conditions. 

RELATED: After hundreds turned away, Dallas loosens COVID-19 testing requirements

The spike in confirmed cases was not entirely unexpected. Health officials across the country have said that as more testing becomes available and the bottleneck is cleared, the case count would likely quickly rise before leveling off at a "true rate" of infection. 

President Trump approves Gov. Abbott's COVID-19 disaster declaration

President Trump has declared 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.

RELATED: President Trump approves Gov. Abbott's COVID-19 disaster declaration, federal assistance request for Texas

American Airlines Center reaches daily federal testing limit

For the second day in a row, the drive-thru site at the American Airlines Center reached its federal testing limit for the day. The site will reopen at 8 a.m. Thursday. 

Anyone who meets the criteria can still get tested at the Ellis Davis Field House located at 9191 S. Polk Street. 

RELATED: Things you need to know about COVID-19 testing in Dallas County

Judge Clay Jenkins amends order to allow gun shops to reopen

After gun stores were required to close under Dallas County’s recent "shelter-in-place" order, Judge Clay Jenkins amended the order that allows them to reopen. 

The revised order, which was issued at 12 p.m. Wednesday, now lists gun stores as "essential retail." 

Gun stores in North Texas had seen a surge in business amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.  

RELATED: Guns are now the latest item Texans are panic-buying

Tarrant County reports 19 new cases

The number of cases in Tarrant County increased from 71 on Tuesday to 90 Wednesday, county health officials reported. 

Of those 90, 86 are active cases, three people have recovered and one person who had the disease has died, according to health officials.

The death occurred in Arlington, where there are 15 active cases at this time. 

One person each in Benbrook, White Settlement and Southlake have recovered since contracting the virus, according to health officials. 

There are 31 active cases of the disease in Fort Worth and seven in Mansfield. Colleyville and Keller each have five active cases. There are three active in Grapevine, Haltom City and Southlake, while there are two each in Euless, Lakeside and North Richland Hills. 

Forest Hill, Grand Prairie, Hurst, Watauga and Westlake each have one case, according to the county. Three cases are also in unincorporated areas of the county.

Dallas County jail reports first case

An inmate that was in the Dallas County jail has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Dallas County Sheriff's Office. 

It is the first confirmed case reported in the county's jail.

The inmate is not currently housed in the jail, officials said, but did not give any other details.

RELATED: Dallas County jail inmate confirmed to have COVID-19

Collin County reports eight new cases

Health officials announced Tuesday night that they had confirmed eight cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 53 thus far. None of eight new cases have yet required hospitalization. 

Three of the eight patients had recently traveled, county officials said. A 42-year-old Melissa man with underlying health conditions and 35-year-old Melissa woman had both domestically traveled, while a 77-year-old woman had traveled internationally recently. 

Another three had been in close contact with someone confirmed to have the disease: a 63-year-old Allen woman, a 61-year-old Allen woman and a 27-year-old McKinney man. 

A 41-year-old Frisco man with underlying health conditions and a 54-year-old Allen man are the other two patients, according to health officials. 

RELATED: These are the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dallas-Fort Worth

Health experts recommend taking the following preventative actions:

  • 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.