This story is from March 21. For updates from March 22, click here.
Top headlines for Saturday, March 21:
- All residents and staff members of the Texas Masonic Retirement Center in Arlington were tested Friday after a man who died had COVID-19.
- The City of Dallas announced Friday evening that it was closing all public libraries, parks, recreation centers, athletic fields, golf courses, tennis courts and cultural facilities indefinitely.
- U.S. officials announced new restrictions on travel between the U.S. and Mexico due to the pandemic.
Collin County reports four more cases of COVID-19
On the night of March 21, Collin County health officials confirmed four more positive cases of COVID-19. This brings the county total to 31. Those four patients, according to a Collin County news release, are: a 56-year-old Plano woman who traveled within the U.S.; a 38-year-old Plano man who traveled outside the U.S.; a 61-year-old Frisco man, with no reported travel; and a 45-year-old Wylie woman who reported no recent travel.
Ellis County confirms third case of COVID-19
On Saturday, Ellis County Local Health Authorities identified the third case of COVID-19 in the county. This case is a Waxahachie man who is now in home isolation after community spread.
The other two, reported on March 17 and March 20, are a Maypearl woman currently isolating at home after getting the virus through community spread; and a Palmer man currently isolating at home after getting the virus through community spread, respectively.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins urges residents to not hoard toilet paper
In a Saturday night press conference in the Dallas County Administration Building, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins explained the new amendment to his previously enacted proclamation about community gatherings and urged folks to not buy more toilet paper than they need.
"It's a surreal time that we live in when I'm having a press conference when I'm spending a lot of time on toilet paper, OK? But there is not a supply chain problem with the toilet paper. Folks, we are the problem with the toilet paper. When I say 'we,' I mean shoppers are the problem with the toilet paper."
A new limit on toilet paper sales will go into effect starting midnight, when all sales of bath or toilet paper in Dallas County are limited to 12 rolls per purchase or one package per purchase, whichever is greater.
Jenkins also urged people to not take every item off the shelves at grocery stores for those who may not have enough at home.
"We've got to move from selfishness to sacrifice," Jenkins said.
Read more below for more information on the order, or watch the whole press conference in this video:
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins closes salons and tattoo shops throughout the county
Starting at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, March 21, until 11:59 p.m. April 3, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has ordered that public or private recreational and community gatherings are prohibited anywhere in Dallas County.
Additionally, "nail salons, hair salons, barbershops, beauty salons, hair removal services, spas, tattoo and piercing parlors, and all other non-medical, personal care services that cannot be provided while maintaining six feet of distance" must close. All elective medical, surgical, and dental procedures are prohibited anywhere in Dallas County.
A mandatory limit on toilet paper sales will also go into effect. All sales of bath or toilet paper in Dallas County are limited to 12 rolls per purchase or one package per purchase, whichever is greater. This rule will be in effect "until the supply chain meets the demand or two weeks, whichever comes first," according to a Saturday news release from Dallas County.
3 new cases of COVID-19 identified in Collin County
Collin County health officials confirmed Saturday that three more cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Plano. This brings the county’s total case count to 27 and the total for Plano to 9.
According to a news release from the City of Plano, the new confirmed patients are:
- A 67-year-old Plano man who traveled outside the country. He has no underlying health conditions and is isolating at home.
- A Plano man, 48, with no reported travel, no underlying health conditions, and under self-quarantine at home.
- A 67-year-old Plano woman who recently traveled within the U.S., who is isolating at home with no underlying health conditions.
6 new cases of COVID-19 identified in Denton County
Denton County health officials confirmed Saturday that six more cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Denton County. This brings the county’s total case count to 24 — 10 of which were confirmed Saturday alone.
The county did not release any new information on the patients who tested positive. Denton County Public Health is identifying and contacting individuals who may have been exposed. Any individuals identified as having been exposed will be contacted directly by DCPH.
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley tightens restrictions on gatherings
Starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 21, all Tarrant County malls, barbershops, nail salons, massage parlors and spas will be closed, according to an order from Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.
The new restrictions also apply to churches, which must close for in-person worship services but will allow church staff to facilitate online worship services.
Gatherings are still limited to 10 people or less, regardless of what type of gathering it is. the new restrictions do not apply to pharmacies, grocery stores or other establishments that sell household goods.
Restaurants are still open for drive-thru, carryout and delivery services.
4 cases of COVID-19 at Denton State Supported Living Center
Denton County health officials confirmed Saturday that four cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the Denton State Supported Living Center. This brings the county’s total case count to 18.
Health officials say one resident in their 50s and three residents in their 60s are currently in hospital isolation after testing positive.
DCPH says it is working with DSSLC to identify any potential close contacts. Officials say individuals who may have been exposed will be contacted directly by DCPH.
"Our team is working alongside Denton State Supported Living Center to implement additional infection prevention and control measures to protect the residents and staff," Director of Public Health Dr. Matt Richardson said in a written statement.
21 new cases confirmed in Dallas County
Dallas County health officials confirm 21 additional people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. This brings the county's total to 95.
Health officials say more than 40% of the cases reported to date, did not have any history of recent travel outside of Texas or no known close contact with a confirmed case.
This indicates that those patients were infected by community transmission, according to DCHHS.
Drive-thru testing site opens in downtown Dallas
As of Saturday morning, North Texans can get tested for the novel coronavirus without leaving their vehicles.
A drive-thru testing site will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day in downtown Dallas at the American Airlines Center located at 2500 Victory Boulevard.
Around 7:15 a.m. Saturday, drivers had already started forming a short line at the testing site.
This site represents the first wide-scale screening of COVID-19 offered by the government in North Texas.
On Sunday, a second drive-thru test site will open at the Ellis Davis Field House located at 9191 South Polk Street in Dallas.
Judge Clay Jenkins said in order to be tested, you must be a first responder, medical personnel, or someone with permission from a doctor who is showing symptoms in accordance with the CDC guidelines.
Dallas County’s facility is also open to anyone in neighboring counties, Jenkins said.
2nd Dallas police officer tests positive for COVID-19
The Dallas Police Department confirms a second police officer has tested positive for COVID-19.
Police officials say the officer, who works for the Central Patrol, tested positive on Friday and has not been at work since Thursday.
The officer is isolated and is doing well, the department says. A coworker who came in close contact with the infected officer is also being quarantined as a precaution, according to officials.
The department says it is working with the city’s contractor to clean and sanitize the Central Patrol station.
Earlier this week, the department confirmed its first officer had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. She is currently in quarantine along with three of her colleagues who had close contact with her.
That officer works at the city’s Northeast Patrol division and tested positive on Thursday, the department said.
WFAA digital producer Jake Harris contributed to this report.
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 face mask.
- 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.