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Live COVID-19 updates: Test kits arriving in Dallas within the next day, Judge Clay Jenkins says

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he should know later tonight when those testing sites will be available for use.

This story will be continuously updated. 

Collin County officials say one person has died from COVID-19, marking the second death connected to the disease in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. 

The first death was confirmed Tuesday after tests showed an elderly Arlington man who died Sunday had the novel coronavirus. 

Pat James, 77, had undergone testing for COVID-19 on Saturday, a day before he died.

Johnson County also confirmed Wednesday that a resident has tested positive for the disease, marking the first report of coronavirus in the county. 

Twelve new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported Wednesday in Dallas County, health officials say. 

In Dallas County, health officials confirmed new cases of the disease, including five cases that aren't linked to travel or other people with COVID-19. 

Top updates for Wednesday, March 18

Plano confirms fourth positive COVID-19 case

On Wednesday, March 18, Collin County health officials confirmed a 38-year-old man from Plano has tested positive for COVID-19, raising the total number of confirmed cases in Plano to four and Collin County to 13. 

The man does not have underlying health conditions and is in self-quarantine at his home, officials say.

Dallas County places further limits on community gatherings

During a Wednesday press conference, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced a new addition to the recent limitation on public gatherings.

Recreational gatherings — outdoor events such as sports, barbecues, parties and the like — are now limited to 10 people or fewer.

Social gatherings, like weddings, religious services and funerals, are capped at 50 people.

Also as a part of the order, The Justice of the Peace has been advised to suspend eviction hearings for 60 days. All delivery hour restrictions are now suspended for food, medical items and medical supplies throughout the county. Dallas County tax offices and passport offices are closed to in-person visits, all gyms are also ordered to closed. 

Violation of any of the above is classified as a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine and/or jail time.

Call 211 if you want to report a violation.

Jenkins also called on construction workers to donate any masks if they had some to spare and said he is working with distilleries to help create hand sanitizer that can be used for first responders and healthcare professionals.

Jenkins reiterated again that this is a time of self-responsibility.

"It's not a time for panic, its a time for personal responsibility. Not a time for fear, but a time for faith and a faith in science and the CDC guidelines and this new order.

"It's time to move from being selfish, especially at the grocery store- you don't need every frickin' roll of toilet paper, OK? Leave some for your neighbors."

COVID-19 test kits arriving in Dallas within the next day, Judge Clay Jenkins says

"You want some good news?" Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins asked reporters at a Wednesday afternoon press conference. 

"I received a call three hours ago from someone at the Emergency Operations Center for the Department of Homeland Security and our trucks will be arriving sometime tonight or early in the morning so that we will finally have the kits so that we can open up our two pod sites," Jenkins said. "I'll ask the City of Dallas and Dallas County, Homeland Security and Emergency Management to work throughout the evening today and tomorrow to get the logistics ready, and a team at Parkland and Dallas County Health and Human Services too, to work around the clock to get that done. People are working around the clock and I do appreciate that."

Jenkins said he will know soon when those testing sites will open. 

Watch the full press conference on Facebook here.

No timeline on when widespread drive-thru testing might be available in Dallas

The City of Dallas says it is waiting on test kits to arrive from the federal government before public drive-thru Coronavirus testing centers can open.

Once those kits do arrive, the two locations for testing have changed.

Testing will no longer happen at the former Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, according to the city of Grand Prairie and the city of Dallas.

Drive-thru testing will occur at these sites:

  • American Airlines Center in Dallas (in a parking garage or a parking lot)
  • Ellis Davis Field House, 9191 S Polk St (near DeSoto)

Residents, employees at Texas Masonic Home will be tested

Gov. Greg Abbott joined local officials in Arlington on Wednesday, the day after the first death connected to COVID-19 was announced in Tarrant County.

Epidemiology teams from the Centers for Disease Control are on the way to Arlington.

Anyone who lives or works at the Texas Masonic Home will be tested for coronavirus.

The city of Arlington has received 2,500 testing kits.The CDC and state and county health investigators will restrict movement in and out of the retirement center.

Around 1,900 COVID-19 cases are being monitored in Texas, Abbott said, and there are 83 confirmed cases so far. He said it was clear the disease is spreading.

Additionally, Abbott said the state may use standalone motels if the need for more housing for people in isolation continues to grow.

First coronavirus-related death in Collin County

The first person in Collin County has died due to coronavirus. This is the second COVID-19 related death in North Texas. 

According to a news release, the patient was a 64-year-old man from Plano. Officials say he died at a local hospital Tuesday from an underlying medical condition and was also infected with the novel coronavirus.

Collin County officials say the positive case was confirmed posthumously, meaning the man was not included in the previous nine cases reported in the county.

3 additional cases in Denton County

Denton County health officials have confirmed three additional cases of the novel coronavirus. This brings the total to five cases in the county, as of Wednesday afternoon. 

Below is the information county officials released on the newest patients

  • Frisco woman in her 50s who is in home isolation after travel-related exposure. 
  • Frisco man in his 20s who is in home isolation after travel-related exposure.
  • Lewisville man in his 40s who is in isolation. Officials say he critical condition in a Denton County hospital after local transmission.

2 new cases in Tarrant County 

Tarrant County health officials confirm two more positive cases of COVID-19. 

One of the patients had traveled out of state but travel history of the other case is still pending, officials say. 

“Both of these cases have been isolated at home after developing symptoms,” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja. 

County leaders did not release any other details regarding the patients' ages.

Garland reports its first case 

The Garland Health Department has confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus. Officials say the patient is a Garland resident in their 30s and say this case is not travel related. 

The person has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home in self-quarantine for 14 days. 

11 new Dallas County cases 

The county now has 39 positive cases of COVID-19.

Five of the new cases are linked to community transmission. Three of the people had close contact with other people who have been confirmed to have the novel coronavirus. One case is linked to domestic travel and two are linked to international travel. 

Seven of the people live in Dallas, one lives in Coppell, one in Irving, one in Mesquite and one other lives in Richardson. 

Three are hospitalized, including one in critical care. The rest are self-isolated at home. 

The patients are: a teenager, a woman in her 20s, a man and a woman in their 30s, a man in his 40s, three men and two women in their 50s and one man in his 70s.

1st case confirmed in Johnson County 

A man in his 40s is the first person confirmed with the disease in Johnson County. 

Health officials did not say whether the case is linked to travel or another confirmed case of COVID-19.

County leaders said a disaster declaration is likely to be announced Wednesday. 

Dallas City Council holds special meeting

Dallas City Council members are holding a special meeting Wednesday morning to discuss the continuous efforts in combating COVID-19.

The meeting comes less than a week after Dallas County officials declared a local disaster.

During Wednesday’s meeting, city council members will vote on whether they want to extend the declaration.  

Ninth case of COVID-19 confirmed in Collin County

A 32-year-old woman in Plano is the ninth person to test positive for the disease in Collin County, according county health officials. 

She has self-quarantined in her home and does not have any underlying health conditions, officials said.

66 people across the county are under monitoring for the disease at this time.

Pep Boys employee tests positive for COVID-19

A spokesperson for Pep Boys confirmed one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. 

On March 16, a team member at the 928 W. Spring Creek Parkway location in Plano tested positive, the spokesperson said.

The location was closed immediately and was professionally sanitized, along with customers' cars and keys, per the spokesperson.

Customers who visited the location from March 2 through the 16 were contacted by the company and told to contact their healthcare providers and also monitor themselves for any possible symptoms of COVID-19. 

All employees who were at the store during that time frame have been placed on a 14-day paid sick leave to self-quarantine, according to the company.

The store is scheduled to reopen on Friday, March 20 with employees from other locations.

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.

WFAA digital producer Jennifer Prohov contributed to this report. 

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