This story is from May 12. To read the latest updates from May 13, click here.
Tarrant County reported five new coronavirus deaths Tuesday, and Dallas County reported three new deaths, according to public health officials.
More than 350 people have died from COVID-19 and almost 13,500 cases have been reported in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since the outbreak began.
Researchers with the University of Texas predict the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area is likely to see death counts continue to rise from the disease for the next few weeks.
Projections from their research show nearly 500 more people could die in the region before the end of May.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson announced on Tuesday the appointment of a health and health care access czar to track testing and coronavirus tracing.
"This virus is still spreading. People are still dying. We need you to hang tough, wear a mask when you are out in public, wash your hands regularly, practice social distancing," Johnson said. "Now is not the time for a party in the park or at your house."
Top updates for Tuesday, May 12:
- Gov. Greg Abbott extended the statewide disaster declaration. The declaration gives him the power to issue executive orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic. He first issued the order on March 13 and extended it on April 12.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, told Congress that reopening the country too soon could mean "needless suffering and death."
- Surveillance videos shared with WFAA show what some fear is happening at long-term care facilities across the state: caregivers failing to properly wear their masks while caring for a 92-year-old woman in Burleson.
- Business is booming for The Urgent Response Network, a new Dallas company that focuses on getting supplies of personal protective equipment, or PPE, to frontline workers.
For a daily roundup of the biggest coronavirus news from around North Texas, sign up for the WFAA COVID-19 email newsletter.
3 deaths, 236 new coronavirus cases reported in Dallas County
Three more people have died from the disease in Dallas County and an additional 236 people have tested positive, officials said Tuesday.
Two of the deaths were Dallas women who had been critically at local hospitals. One was in her 40s, the other in her 60s.
The third was an Irving man in his 50s who died at an "area emergency department." The county has now reported at least 6,359 cases and 148 deaths.
"Today’s number of positive cases is the lowest we have seen in over a week but still within the range we’ve experienced for the last nine days," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a tweet. "We lost three more residents yesterday."
The county's current COVID-19 status is RED, Jenkins said, "which means residents should avoid crowds, maintain 6 feet of distance, wear a cloth covering at businesses or on public transportation as well as practice good hygiene."
5 COVID-19 deaths, 65 new cases reported in Tarrant County
Tarrant County health officials reported five more deaths Tuesday, bringing its death toll from COVID-19 to 109 people so far.
All but one of them had underlying health conditions. Three were from Fort Worth and two were from Arlington.
The Fort Worth victims were a man in his 50s and a man and woman in their 80s. The Arlington victims were two men, one in his 50s and the other in his 80s.
Sixty-five new cases were reported as well, bringing Tarrant County's total to 3,810, with 809 people having recovered so far.
Dallas mayor appoints healthcare czar to track coronavirus testing
On Tuesday, the Dallas mayor announced the appointment of a COVID-19 health and health care access czar.
Dr. Kelvin Baggett will lead efforts to increase testing and contact tracing in the city.
There are an estimated 1,800 coronavirus tests performed each day in Dallas County. City leaders would like to see that expanded to about 4,000 tests a day.
Baggett will also work to track how the novel coronavirus is affecting certain communities. The mayor said national data shows that there are racial and economic disparities among those who have been seriously sickened with the disease.
"We cannot let it tear us apart and deepen the divide in our city between the haves and have-nots,” Johnson said.
Denton County reports 22 new positive cases of COVID-19
Denton County health officials reported 22 new positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the county total to 968 cases.
Recoveries now total 523 people, while 25 people have died from the virus so far.
Collin County reports 24 new positive cases of COVID-19
Officials announced 24 new cases in Collin County Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total to 963 positive cases of COVID-19. There have been 29 deaths in the county.
Twenty-one people remain hospitalized and there have been 623 recoveries.
Gov. Abbott requires COVID-19 testing at all nursing homes
On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott directed state health services to test all residents and staff of nursing homes in Texas.
He instructed that the plan follow guidance from the White House.
"The State of Texas is working to rapidly expand our testing capacity—especially among vulnerable populations in Texas nursing homes," Abbott said.
More than a third of the 148 people who have died from the disease in Dallas County have been connected to such facilities, county officials report.
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.
Digital producers Jake Harris and Eline de Bruijn contributed to this report.
More on WFAA:
- Americans are slowly returning to the road, data says
- Local sportscasters raise money to support freelancers who work their broadcasts
- Workplace worries mount as US tracks new COVID-19 cases
- Your stimulus payment less than you expected? Here's why.
- Fraudster makes millions for surgical masks he didn't have, feds say