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Live COVID-19 updates: North Texas Food Bank employee tests positive

Experts say the state's peak could happen in late April instead of the previous projected date of May 5.

A North Texas Food Bank employee has tested positive for COVID-19. Food bank officials say they were made aware of the positive test on Sunday.

The employee is part of the transportation team at the 3677 block of Mapleshade Lane location in Plano, officials say.

The team member is self-quarantined and has not been at work since March 27, according to NTFB officials.  

However, NTFB says the employee did come into contact with a “limited number of third parties” and the food bank is working to notify them.

Trisha Cunningham, President, and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank released the following written statement in response to the confirmed case:

“The health and safety of our employees and the community that we serve is our top priority. Our Food Bank team is a family. We are praying for this team member and wishing them a speedy recovery. They have been asked to self-quarantine per the recommendations from the CDC. We are fortunate to have processes in place to disinfect our spaces regularly, and thanks to this effort, we will not need to close down our warehouse.”

Top updates for Tuesday, April 7:

  • During a Tuesday news conference, Gov. Greg Abbott gave an update on the state's response to COVID-19. He also talked about finances and said direct deposits to eligible Texans should begin within the next week. To see how much you could be eligible to receive, click here.
  • Coronavirus peak in Texas could happen two weeks earlier than previously thought. "It was early May and now they’ve moved it toward the end of April," Dr. Peter Hotez, of the Baylor College of Medicine, said, "So later than the national peak, but earlier than it was.”
  • Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has maintained the plan is to use Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center as a “step-down” facility for COVID-19 patients who can leave the hospital but may not be able to go home yet.

Tarrant County reports 5 more deaths

Tarrant County health officials confirmed five more residents have died from COVID-19. This brings the total number of deaths in the county to 18. 

According to county health officials, the patients’ ages ranged from 47 to 88 years old and two people had underlying health conditions. 

Two patients lived in Fort Worth, one person lived in River Oaks, one lived in Grand Prairie and one lived in Haltom City. 

The county also reported 62 new cases, bringing the total to 517. Fifty-three people so far have recovered.

Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja believes the county might see a spike in cases soon.

“Based on all the reports we are seeing, we could very well be about to see a spike in COVID-19 activity in our county,” he said. “Although it is difficult to predict, we must do everything we can to prepare ourselves for what may be ahead. Early indications are that we could be looking at significant numbers of positive cases and many more deaths,” he said.

Tarrant County leaders are urging residents to follow executive orders and only to leave home for essential activities. 

“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to follow these directives,” Taneja said.

RELATED: Here are the confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tarrant County

Dallas County reports more than 100 new cases

During a Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting, Dr. Philip Huang stated once Tuesday's latest numbers are released, the county will have 106 additional cases of COVID-19. This brings the total case count to 1,261. 

In addition to the new cases, another person has died from the novel coronavirus. A 50-year-old Garland resident with underlying health conditions is the 19th person to die in the county, Huang said. 

Dr. Huang also released additional data regarding COVID-19 patients at Tuesday's meeting. 

According to Huang, 3/4 of patients admitted to the hospital have had a known underlying health condition. Diabetes is an underlying condition in 28 percent of hospitalizations, he says.

Two Tarrant County detectives recover

The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office confirms two of its detectives have recovered after contracting COVID-19. 

The detectives immediately went into quarantine after experiencing symptoms related to the virus, officials said in a news release. 

According to TCSO officials, it’s unknown where the detectives were exposed to coronavirus but both have recovered and are now back at work.

The two detectives are in contact with Carter Blood Center to determine if they are suitable to donate in hopes their blood can be used to study and create a vaccine, officials say.

Gov. Abbott orders state parks, historic sites to close

As confirmed COVID-19 cases in Texas continue to increase, Gov. Greg Abbott has announced additional measures in hopes of slowing the spread.

On Tuesday morning, Abbott announced he has instructed the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to close all state parks and historic sites.

The historic sites and state parks will close at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will reopen at the governor's orders.  

The governor says the closure is in efforts to strengthen social distancing and prevent large groups of people, Abbott’s office said

“Given the myriad of challenges and heightened risks of operating the parks at this time, we believe this is the best course of action right now in order to meet the health and safety expectations the state has set out for the citizens of Texas,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of TPWD.  

RELATED: Gov. Abbott orders all Texas parks, historic sites to temporarily close

Daily hospital capacity numbers released

A total of 24 hospitals reported ventilator and bed capacity numbers Monday to Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson's office. 

The daily numbers are required under new emergency regulations Johnson announced last week during a news conference.

RELATED: Dallas mayor wants daily reports of hospital capacity numbers to track coronavirus needs

Johnson says the data is meant to inform residents about the medical community's capacity to handle an expected increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Below is a list released by the mayor's office of the aggregated totals from 24 hospitals:

  • Total beds: 5,353
  • Beds occupied: 2,726
  • Total ICU beds: 782
  • ICU beds occupied: 482
  • Total ventilators: 894
  • Ventilators in use: 322

9 JPS Hospital employees have tested positive 

A Monday phone recording from the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth confirmed that nine of its employees have tested positive at some point during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The hospital is currently treating 10 patients who have coronavirus, according to the recording. 

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported Monday that JPS Hospital set up the phone recording to provide daily updates for the community. The number can be reached by calling 817-702-9500. 

The information on the phone recording is updated each day at 10 a.m.

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.

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