For the latest updates from Monday, March 16, click here.
Dallas County now has 14 "presumptive positive" cases of COVID-19, health officials said. Three of those cases were announced on Sunday and involve three different men who had all recently traveled.
Collin County confirmed seven cases and had an additional "presumptive positive" test result for a 32-year-old Frisco man, officials said, bringing the county's total to 8 cases.
Denton County reported its first "presumptive positive" case of COVID-19 Sunday.
Dallas County health officials reported on Saturday that the first patient who tested positive for COVID-19, a 77-year-old man, was released from the hospital in "great shape."
His was the first recovery reported in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Top updates from Sunday, March 15
- American Airlines reduces international flights by 75%
- Dallas County reports 14 cases of COVID-19, Collin County reports 8, Denton County reports 1
- Arlington ISD launches drive-up free meal locations
- The CDC recommends canceling all events larger than 50 people for the next eight weeks
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will limit all bars and restaurants to take-out and deliveries in an attempt to slow the coronavirus.
Parkland Hospital to start drive-thru COVID-19 testing for patients Monday
According to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Parkland Memorial Hospital will start a drive-thru COVID-19 testing service for existing Parkland patients only on Monday.
The tests will be by appointment only.
Dallas County cancels all jury trials through May 8
On Sunday, March 15, Dallas County canceled all jury trials for Dallas County criminal courts, civil courts and justice of the peace courts through May 8, 2020, according to a Sunday news release from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
All Dallas County citizens summoned to appear at the Frank Crowley Criminal Courthouse, George Allen Civil Courthouse or any justice of the peace court prior to May 8, 2020 should not report nor call to reschedule their service, Jenkins said.
Attorneys representing people accused of crimes should check with the Court Manager's Office for the process for the continued representation of their clients, the news release said.
“We are taking the necessary steps to continue the justice system and keep you safe. I will extend these orders if necessary,” Jenkins said.
Jail cases, jail pleas and bail bond hearings will continue as normal. In-person disposition of bond cases will resume on May 11 and appearances for bond cases will be waived until May 8.
Jurors or summoned jurors with questions should contact Dallas County Jury Services at 214-653-3595. If jurors have questions about their summons or service at George Allen Civil Courthouse, please call 214-653-6233. For specific justice of the peace courts, please call that individual court.
DFW Airport issues response about Customs wait times
DFW Airport released the following statement Sunday about the long wait times at Customs at the airport over the weekend, saying most hourly wait time averages were 10 minutes or less:
"In response to the delays in processing passengers through Customs on Saturday, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), made adjustments to the process for the federally mandated enhanced screening at DFW Airport.
"These resulted in wait times much closer to those normally seen. Other than a short time when the average wait time got to approximately 30 minutes, most hourly wait time averages were 10 minutes or less."
Denton County reports first 'presumptive positive' case of COVID-19
Denton County Public Health (DCPH) has identified the first "presumptive positive," travel-related case of COVID-19 in Denton County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still needs to confirm this test result.
The "presumptive positive" patient is a man in 30s who lives outside of Denton County but is temporarily living and self-isolating in Double Oak, according to Denton County health officials.
DCPH is identifying and contacting individuals who may have been exposed.
On Friday, Denton County Judge Andy Eads issued an executive order for disaster declaration for public health emergency effective immediately, strongly urging businesses, schools, places of worship and other community organizations to follow guidance limiting gatherings of 250 or more.
Fed slashes rates to near zero, eases bank lending rules
From the Associated Press: The Federal Reserve took emergency action Sunday and slashed its benchmark interest rate by a full percentage point to nearly zero and announced it would purchase more Treasury securities to encourage lending to try to offset the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Texas Department of State Health Services receives additional medical supplies for COVID-19 response
The Texas Department of State Health Service just received a share of personal protective equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile through the state's Hospital Preparedness Program to help professional health care workers to combat COVID-19.
Items arrived in San Antonio warehouse on Saturday, March 14, according to a news release from DSHS. The DSHS is immediately sending supplies on to its local partners, which will distribute them to health care facilities and providers in need.
The equipment provided includes surgical masks, respirators, face shields, surgical gowns and gloves, the news release said.
The Strategic National Stockpile is a national repository of medications and other medical supplies maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and designed to be sent to states during a national emergency.
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will now operate as a shelter, city says
The City of Dallas will be opening a temporary, overnight shelter at The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will function as a temporary, overnight shelter for the City of Dallas starting at 5 p.m. March 15 and will continue overnight sheltering operations through the morning of March 21. Hours for shelter are 5 p.m.-7 a.m.
State health officials prohibit 'non-essential visitors' from nursing facilities
In new guidelines announced Sunday to "protect older, medically fragile individuals from COVID-19," Texas' Health and Human Services department is now requiring nursing facilities to prevent 'non-essential visitors' from entering their facilities.
The guidance comes at the direction of Gov. Greg Abbott.
Family and friends are instead asked to use alternate means of communication like FaceTime and Skype to stay in touch, state health officials said.
“We understand how difficult these new restrictions will be for residents and their families and loved ones,” David Kostroun, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Regulatory Services, said in a news release. “First and foremost, we must all share the goal of protecting the people who are proving to be most vulnerable to this new virus.”
"Only under certain compassionate care situations, such as a resident’s end-of-life, can non-essential visitors be allowed in a nursing facility," officials said in the release.
Facilities are also going to be required to have screening protocols for anyone entering the premises, state health officials said. Staff, medical professionals and other essential visited will be required to be screened according to federal guidelines.
State staff will also be doing "targeted inspections" of nursing facilities that have had a history of "infection control deficiencies" in the last three years, officials said.
Facilities will also be required to:
- Post signs at entrances about access restrictions
- Check for fever of visitors, staff, and residents
- Suspend group gatherings
- Continue to monitor and isolate residents with fever or acute respiratory symptoms
- Provide infection control training to staff
- Execute frequent hand-washing
- Provide personal protective equipment to residents or staff as needed.
Perot Museum holds COVID-19 panel
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is going to host a livestream panel discussion of COVID-19 on its YouTube channel at 2 p.m. Local experts will talk about the disease and how local governments are responding to its spread.
The panel includes:
- Dr. John Carlo, CEO of Prism Health North Texas and former president of the Dallas County Medical Association
- Jennifer Finley, RN, NCSN, MPA/HCA, Director of Health Services, Dallas Independent School District
- Dr. Philip Huang, MD, MPH, Director, Dallas County Health and Human Services
- W. Stephen Love, President/CEO, Dallas-Ft. Worth Hospital Council
8 cases reported in Collin County
A 32-year-old Frisco man tested "presumptive positive" for COVID-19, county health officials said. He is in self-isolation and has no underlying health conditions.
He is not connected to other cases in the area, according to officials. County officials had previously said Sunday that the county had seven confirmed cases of the disease.
Texas reports at least 56 cases of COVID-19
State health officials said Sunday there are at least 56 cases of the disease across the state. That number is updated at noon CST each day.
That case count is expected to rise, though, as it does not reflect the most recent numbers from county officials.
The state shows 6 cases in Collin County, 8 in Dallas and 3 in Tarrant. But county health officials have reported 7 confirmed cases in Collin, 14 in Dallas and 4 in Tarrant.
Gov. Abbott calls long waits at DFW 'unacceptable'
Gov. Greg Abbott said he had spoken to the head of Homeland Security about the long lines international travelers faced as they tried to return to the country at DFW Airport on Saturday.
He called the long wait times "unacceptable" in a tweet on Sunday and said the federal government is working around the clock to add more personnel and make other changes to fix the problem.
Chaos broke out at major international airports across the country as travelers waiting for hours in packed lines following the implementation of President Donald Trump's European travel ban and additional screening requirements.
3 additional cases in Dallas County
Dallas County now has 14 "presumptive positive" cases of COVID-19, health officials said.
Two of the men were hospitalized and one is self-isolating at home, health officials said. One is in his 30s, the second in his 50s and the third in his 60s.
One man is a Coppell resident, one is a Dallas resident and another is from out-of-state, according to county officials.
Each had recently traveled – one internationally, one on a cruise ship and one domestically, officials said.
Test results are considered "presumptive positive" until confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Arlington ISD launches drive-up free meal locations
Officials with Arlington Independent School District announced they will launch 23 drive-up locations to hand out free meals while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting Monday, March 16, the locations will be open from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. each weekday. Children 18 years old and younger will be given "one packaged lunch meal and one light breakfast meal" to help make sure all students are fed during the closure, officials said.
“We know these are extraordinary times for everyone,” Arlington ISD Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos said in a news release. “Making sure our students have healthy food options is vital to everyone involved. It is a tremendous undertaking, but it’s necessary as the well-being of our students has been and always will be our No. 1 concern.”
Children must be present to pick up the meals, but no student ID or form of identification is required. Menus for each day's meals will be posted on the district's Facebook page and its coronavirus website. There will be a non-meat option each day as well.
The district will be closed until March 30.
Below is the list of distribution centers:
- Dipert Career+Technical Center
- Sam Houston High School
- Ferguson Education Center
- Bailey Junior High
- Barnett Junior High
- Boles Junior High
- Nichols Junior High
- Ousley Junior High
- Shackelford Junior High
- Workman Junior High
- Young Junior High
- Crouch Elementary
- Farrell Elementary
- Knox Elementary
- Larson Elementary
- Miller Elementary
- Pope Elementary
- Sherrod Elementary
- Short Elementary
- Speer Elementary
- Starrett Elementary
- Swift Elementary
- Wood Elementary
American Airlines to further reduce flights, suspending most flights to Asia
American Airlines announced Sunday it would reduce its international capacity by 75% compared with last year for flights from March 16 to May 6.
The airline also expects its domestic capacity in April to go down by 20% compared to last year, with May flights going down by 30% of last year's capacity.
The airline will still have one flight a day from DFW International to London Heathrow (LHR) and three flights a week from DFW to Tokyo's Narita (NRT).
But it is suspending all other flights to Asia starting March 16, including flights from DFW to Hong Kong.
It is also suspending service from DFW to São Paulo (GRU), Santiago (SCL), Bogota (BOG), Guayaquil (GYE), Quito (UIO) and Lima (LIM) starting March 16.
Short-haul international flights to countries like Canada and Mexico, as well as destinations in the Caribbean, Central America and the northern part of South America, will continue as scheduled, officials said.
Click here to read more about how the airline has been affected.
Multiple stores in NorthPark close as retailers create new COVID-19 policies
At least nine storefronts in NorthPark Center have temporarily closed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the mall announced on its website.
Those stores are:
1. Anthropologie – Closed through March 27.
2. Apple – Closed through March 27.
3. Bookmarks, a Dallas public library – Closed through March 20.
4. Dreamscape at AMC – Closed through March 27.
5. Free People – Closed through March 27.
6. SPANX – Closed through March 31.
7. T-Mobile – Closed through March 21.
8. Urban Outfitters – Closed through March 27.
9. Warby Parker – Closed through March 27.
To check other modified hours or additional closings, click here.
Texas reports at least 51 cases of COVID-19, 7 confirmed in Collin County
State health officials said Saturday there are at least 51 cases of the disease across the state. That number is updated at noon CST each day.
The case count is expected to rise on Sunday, as both Dallas and Collin County reported additional cases late Saturday.
There are currently seven confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Collin County, and there are 60 people who are being monitored for the disease countywide, officials said Sunday.
No county employees have tested positive or are under monitoring at this time, officials said.
Dallas County has reported 11 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, and there are four cases in Tarrant County, in addition to the now seven cases in Collin County.
Of the cases in Dallas County, at least one has been attributed to "community spread," according to county officials.
Collin County has not yet issued a disaster declaration either, although Denton, Tarrant and Dallas counties have in response to the pandemic.
Health experts recommend taking the following preventative actions:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- 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 US