Denton County health officials confirmed there are 33 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the county's total to 337.
Four new staff members at the Denton State Supported Living Center have tested positive for the disease. Nearly 100 residents and employees there have been sickened with the disease.
Fifty residents and 43 employees have tested positive at the facility, which houses hundreds of people with intellectual disabilities.
It took days for health officials to begin widespread testing at the living center after the first case was confirmed.
Local health officials believe COVID-19 was brought into the facility by a visitor or employee.
Of the hundreds of cases reported in Denton County, 76 people have recovered, health officials say.
Top updates for Monday, April 6:
- Americans are bracing for what the nation's top doctor warned Sunday would be "the hardest and saddest week" of our lives, calling it "our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment."
- The Centers for Disease Control is now recommending Americans wear face masks in public to combat the spread of coronavirus, especially in areas with significant community-based transmission like North Texas. Here's how to make your own with minimal sewing, and here's how to make one without any sewing at all.
- The Statler is offering up its rooms for free for healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic if they need a place to stay separate from their loved ones while they fight the virus.
140 deaths statewide
As of Monday afternoon, there have been 7,319 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 140 deaths, Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference.
Abbott said that fewer than 10% of those tested are found to be positive for the disease. So far, more than 85,000 people have been tested across the state.
Slightly more than 1,100 people are hospitalized with the illness, Abbott said, and there are about 21,000 available hospital beds across the state.
He said the State of Texas has received 2.5 million masks in the past day and will get another 3 million by Saturday to distribute to health care workers.
New cases declined from Sunday to Monday in Dallas County
Dallas County health officials announced there had been 43 new cases reported Monday, around a 55% drop in new cases from Sunday's numbers.
For the past few days, numbers had been hovering around 90 to 100 new cases each day.
“While today’s positive case count is encouraging, I caution about reading too much into this number as several private labs were closed on Sunday," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. "Having said that, the hospital systems are seeing evidence that the Dallas County Safer at Home executive order enacted on March 22 is working to Flatten The Curve. Please continue adherence to the Safer at Home order to help save lives."
Dallas campuses could stay closed through school year
The Dallas ISD superintendent said Monday that it's "unlikely" campuses will reopen before the end of the school year.
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said the district has been in contact with 99% of its students and has given out wifi hotspots so that students can continue learning remotely.
"We're having to pivot and be flexible," Hinojosa said of the new learning environment.
A little less than half of Dallas hospital beds currently occupied, mayor's office says
A little less than half of Dallas' hospital beds are currently occupied, the most recent data from Mayor Eric Johnson's office suggests. Of available ICU beds, 61% are occupied, while about 35% of hospital ventilators are in use.
A total of 21 hospitals reported ventilator and bed capacity numbers Sunday to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson's office as part of a new requirement under new emergency regulations Johnson announced Tuesday during a news conference.
There are still some hospitals that have not yet complied with the new requirements, according to the mayor's office.
The numbers did not significantly vary from Saturday's report, which, while it only included data from 19 hospitals, had similar percentages of use.
But officials do expect those figures to rise in the coming days as the fight against COVID-19 brings more patients into Dallas-area hospitals.
The case count has continued to steadily climb in Dallas County, reaching 1,155 on Monday. North Texas as a region has surpassed the 2,000-case mark, but no other counties have seen nearly the same level of cases as Dallas. Tarrant, with 418 cases, has been the closest thus far.
Below is a list released by the Dallas mayor's office of the aggregated totals from 21 hospitals in the city:
- Total beds: 5,236
- Beds occupied: 2,571
- Total ICU beds: 778
- ICU beds occupied: 476
- Total ventilators: 887
- Ventilators in use: 309
National Guard arrives to help North Texas Food Bank
As need has surged and more than tripled in recent weeks due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the North Texas Food Bank is getting some much-needed help from members of the Texas National Guard, a spokesperson said.
More than 250 members of the Texas National Guard will be mobilized Monday to help run the North Texas Food Bank.
"Members of the Texas National Guard arrived in Plano this weekend with a simple mission: feeding our community’s most needy people across the 13 counties that the North Texas Food Bank serves," a news release said. "The humanitarian effort will provide a helping hand to the Food Bank as they work to increase their distribution efforts to meet the growing need in our region."
Guard members will initially serve at the food bank for 30 days in different capacities.
Overflow hospital beds not yet needed, Dallas County judge says
More than half of Dallas' hospital beds are currently occupied, and of the available ICU beds, 60% are occupied, according to data collected by Mayor Eric Johnson's office.
Those are figures that in the coming days officials expect to rise as the fight against COVID-19 brings more patients into Dallas-area hospitals.
But with those hospitals not yet nearing capacity and with only about 35% of hospital ventilators in use as of Saturday, the time has not come for officials to begin to direct patients to the overflow hospital beds at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said during a news conference Sunday.
Jenkins was responding to a letter from Gov. Greg Abbott's chief of staff alleging that the county no longer wanted to use the convention center as overflow hospital space, and that, if so, those resources would be allocated elsewhere.
The county judge said that assertion isn't true.
The letter, which Jenkins said he first received from a reporter, said the governor's office learned that the county judge was not going to accept federal resources to establish hospital space at the convention center.
Jenkins said the claim was a result of a misunderstanding on the "telephone gossip tree" and was frustrated with the lack of communication, saying if the governor's office wanted to call him to clarify, his cellphone number has not changed.
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.