COVID-19 Live Updates: Gov. Abbott Calls For PPE In All Texas Schools – KERA News

Get live updates throughout the day on how COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is affecting North Texas. 

» COVID-19 By The Numbers:

  • In Texas: More than 514,000 cases and more than 9,400 deaths have been reported. More than 349,000 Texans have recovered.
  • In North Texas: Cases in Dallas County: 55,787; Tarrant County: 34,369; Collin County: 8,052; Denton County: 7,867. There have been at least 1,380 reported deaths in the region’s four largest counties.  
  • Counties across Texas: Use The Texas Newsroom’s interactive maps
  • Global: See Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Wednesday, August 12

DART Is Installing Mask and Sanitizer Dispensers In Its Vehicles

Dallas Area Rapid Transit has begun installing face mask and hand sanitizer dispensers on all buses, light rail vehicles and streetcars.

DART said it plans to have dispensers installed in all of its vehicles by the end of August or early September. It has over 600 buses, 160 light rail vehicles and four Dallas streetcars.

Other already-existing protocols include cleaning and removing vehicles from service that have been exposed.

Riders can report hygiene concerns, such as a surface that needs cleaning, or safety issues using the Dallas-Fort Worth area transit agency’s DART Say Something app. 

Dallas County Reports 234 New Cases Today, 9 Deaths

The 234 additional cases Dallas County Health and Human Services reported today brings the county’s total accumulative case number to 55,787.

There were also nine confirmed deaths, making Dallas County’s total death count 794.

• A man in his 30s who was a resident of Garland
• A woman in her 70s who was a resident of Irving
• A woman in her 70s who was a resident of DeSoto
• A man in his 70s who was a resident of Duncanville
• A man in his 50s who was a resident of Dallas
• A man in his 50s who was a resident of Dallas
• A woman in her 60s who was a resident of Dallas
• A man in his 70s who was a resident of Dallas
• A woman in her 70s who was a resident of Dallas

Billy Bob’s Reopens Thursday, Focuses On Food To Be COVID-Compliant

Billy Bob’s Texas, the legendary Fort Worth Stockyards honkytonk, says it will reopen tomorrow — as a restaurant-first venue.

The venue’s been closed since June, when Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to shut down because of the pandemic. Billy Bob’s said it obtained a new permit that will allow it to operate under Food & Beverage guidelines.

Now it’s shifting focus on its restaurant, Honky Tonk Kitchen, which opens at 11 a.m. Thursday.

The first concert will be Friday night, featuring the Bellamy Brothers.

Cook Children’s Hospital Shares Numbers On Testing, Cases

Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth has begun releasing data about COVID-19 testing and cases the hospital is treating.

As of Wednesday morning, 14,094 children have been tested for COVID-19, and 993 were positive. Its percent of positivity from its testing has dropped to 7%, the hospital reports.

There are currently five COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Cook Children’s.  

What Needs To Happen For Bars To Open In Texas?

As the pandemic continues, Governor Greg Abbott says several things need to happen first in order for bars to reopen in Texas.

Bars could reopen “if we were able to get to a positivity rate of well below 10% and maintain that positivity rate, [and] if we were able to get a situation where we were in the May timeframe of low hospitalizations because of COVID-19 and sustain those rates for a long period of time,” he said.

Abbott added that bars would also have to follow the safety protocols outlined in his executive order, which includes not talking to others without a mask.

Bars have been shut down since late June. A group of Texas bar owners filed lawsuits soon after, seeking to overturn that order.

RELATED | Restaurants, Bars And Breweries Scramble To Reinvent Themselves To Get Around Abbott’s Bar Shutdown

Governor Calls For State-Supplied PPE In All Texas Schools

Governor Greg Abbott says all schools across Texas should have personal protective equipment, supplied by the state.

He spoke about it on Tuesday during a stop in Victoria.

​“I can tell you that there should be no school that is still waiting for PPE,” he said. “If there is still a school that does not have PPE they should contact Chief Nim Kid from the Texas Division of Emergency Management.”

There have been reports of delays of certain PPE to school districts, like Edna ISD, which is 100 miles southwest of Houston, near Victoria.

Meanwhile, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd has promised to send face shields there today. He said 46 warehouses in Texas are stockpiled with hundreds of millions of masks and face shields.

Survey: COVID-19 Is Disproportionately Affecting Houston’s Hispanic Businesses

More than half of Hispanic business owners say their sales have dropped during the pandemic, and more than one-third have furloughed or laid off most of their workforce.

Pablo Pinto directs the University of Houston’s Center for Public Policy, which conducted the survey in June and July.

“The stay-at-home and social [distancing] and uncertainty about the probability of catching the disease has refused a lot of consumption that tends to go to smaller and medium-sized businesses,” he said. “And Hispanics tend to be over-represented in that sector.”

Hispanics make up nearly 44% of the population in Harris County, making them the largest ethnic group there. About 38% of small business owners in Greater Houston are Hispanic or Latino.

Tuesday, August 11

Dallas County Reports 30 Deaths

Dallas County Health and Human Services reports 298 additional confirmed cases of as of 11 a.m. today. That is lower than in recent days: 581 on Monday, 843 on Sunday and 540 on Saturday.

However today’s death count, 30, is higher than in recent days: one on Monday, four on Sunday and five on Saturday. It’s among the highest one-day death totals for the county.

Demographic details of the 30 people who died include:

• 19 men
• 11 women
• Two people in their 30s
• Two people in their 40s
• Four people in their 50s
• Six people in their 60s
• Six people in their 70s
• Eight people in their 80s
• One person in her 90s
• One person in her 100s
• 19 people in the city of Dallas
• Two people each in Garland, Mesquite, Richardson
• One person each in Wilmer, Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Lancaster, DeSoto

Dallas County’s total accumulative number of confirmed cases is now 55,553. The death total is now 785.

Denton County Adds 122 New Cases, 4 Deaths

The four new deaths in the county brings its total death count to 66, Denton County Public Health reported today. DCPH also reported 122 new cases, bringing the county’s accumulative case total to 7,867.

The people who died were:

• A male in his 60s who was a resident of Lewisville
• A female over 80 who was a resident of a nursing care center in Highland Village
• A male in his 40s who was a resident of Highland Village
• A female in her 70s who was a resident of a nursing and rehab center in Carrollton

226 New Cases In Collin County, 4 Deaths

The 226 new cases reported today brings Collin County’s accumulative total — active, recovered and deaths since counting began — to 8,052. Four new reported deaths brings the county’s death total to 93.

Tarrant County Adds 204 New Cases

The 204 additional confirmed cases reported by Tarrant County today brings its accumulative total to 34,369. The death total stands at 427.

6 Downtown Dallas Museums Begin Reopening This Week

Six major museums in downtown Dallas issued a collective announcement Sunday morning: They will begin welcoming back visitors starting this week.

The museums are the Dallas Museum of Art, the Crow Museum of Asian Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Sixth Floor Museum.

They worked together to stagger their opening dates over the next several months. The DMA and the Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will open first, on Friday. The Nasher will follow on Thursday, August 20.

Hear or read more about the reopenings on Art&Seek.

2 Carroll ISD Staff Members Test Positive

Two staff members with the Carroll school district, which serves the majority of Southlake and part of Grapevine, Colleyville and Westlake, tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Julie Thannum with the district told the Dallas Morning News the employee at Eubanks Intermediate School who tested positive had been in meetings and close contact with a small number of staff members, so they had to quarantine.

Thannum said no one else was considered to be in close contact with a staffer at Carroll Elementary School.

Carroll ISD staff returned to work today. Students are set to return for in-person instruction Aug. 24.

COVID-19 Testing Could Increase As Schools Reopen, Governor Says

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says coronavirus testing in Texas could increase as schools reopen amid a sharp drop-off in the number of tests in recent weeks.

Texas has averaged more than 34,000 tests a day over the past week. That’s down from a daily average of more than 60,000 in late July.

New cases and hospitalizations have stabilized and decreased, and coronavirus deaths in Texas have reached nearly 8,500.

— Associated Press

Dallas Holding Workshop To Discuss COVID-Strained Budget

The city of Dallas today will holds its first budget workshop.

Mayor Eric Johnson said money’s tight because of COVID-19. He told NBC-5 he wants to cut salaries of the highest-paid employees at City Hall by 25% to help make up budget shortfalls.

“We should be cutting from the bureaucracy before we start talking about cutting services or raising taxes,” he said.

But Johnson also supports expanding RIGHT Care, the program that trains police officers to respond to mental health emergencies.

The budget workshop began this morning at 9 a.m.

Tarrant County And City Of Fort Worth Consider New Budgets

Tarrant County’s also begun budget discussions for the next fiscal year.

County commissioners yesterday talked about keeping the tax rate the same for the third straight year and increasing the budget by $18 million.

That would include adding 25 new positions and a 3% merit increase for non-law enforcement positions.

The coronavirus recession didn’t have a big impact on Tarrant County because more than 70% of its revenue comes from property taxes.

Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the budget Sept. 8.

And in Fort Worth, City Manager David Cooke will present the recommended new budget today, too.

Jury Trials, Now By Video Conference, Are Starting Back Up In Austin And San Antonio

Courts in two Texas cities are getting ready for their first completely virtual trials.

Angela Morris with Texas Law magazine told public radio’s Texas Standard the pandemic’s prevented many jury trials in Texas, but that’s about to change.

“Under this experimental jury trial program that’s been running this summer, in Austin and in San Antonio in the next two weeks, there are going to be two totally virtual jury trials done over Zoom,” Morris said. “The jury selection, the presentation of evidence, the verdict, all of it is going to be virtual.”

Morris said courts are hoping virtual jury trials can help work through a backlog of pending cases across Texas.

Texas Democratic Party Conducting Mail-In Ballot Outreach

The Texas Democratic Party is targeting voters this month who are eligible to cast ballots by mail in the November general election.

Spokesperson Abhi Rahman says, under Texas law, that includes voters who are at least 65 years old or have a disability.

“So the Texas Democratic Party is going to send 1.75 million applications to voters that are eligible to receive vote-by-mail applications, and we think it’s going to be a huge push to win the state,” Rahman said. “This is really our X-factor and something that we’re doing that no one else is doing on the Republican side.”

Texas Democrats are also suing to allow all voters in the state cast absentee ballots. Texas Republican leaders have resisted calls to expand voting by mail during the pandemic.

Monday, August 10

581 New Confirmed Cases In Dallas County, 1 Death

Dallas County Health and Human Services reports 581 additional confirmed cases and one confirmed death. That brings the cumulative case total to 55,255 and the confirmed death count to 756.

The woman who died was a resident of Seagoville in her 90s.

By comparison: On Sunday, Dallas County reported 843 new cases and four additional deaths. On Saturday, 540 new cases and five deaths were reported.

Denton County Adds 101 New Cases

Denton County Public Health reports 101 new cases, bringing the county’s cumulative, countywide total to 7,745. 

On Friday there will be a free drive-through COVID-19 testing center starting at 8 a.m. at Univeristy of North Texas’ Discovery Park campus, 3940 N. Elm St. Pre-registration is required by calling 940-349-2585. Testing is available only to residents with symptoms or residents in contact with someone who’s been diagnosed.

305 New Cases In Tarrant County

The 305 additional cases reported today brings Tarrant County’s accumulative total — current, recovered and deaths since counting began — to 34,165.

Collin County Reports 1 Death And 180 New Cases

Collin County has had 180 new cases and one death in the last 24 hours, according to its COVID-19 dashboard. That brings the county’s total accumulative case count to 7,833 and its total death count to 90.

Study Finds COVID-19 Transmission Decreased When Weather Was Nicer  

Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are studying how weather affects transmission of the coronavirus.

One finding showed transmission of the virus decreased in the spring, when temperatures were between 60 and 70 degrees.

But Brian Fisher, one of the researchers, says if temperatures go higher, transmission can also go up because of the way people behave.

“In those nicer, warmer or humid months we may actually a) be more likely to go outside and gather in large groups or b) be pushed inside to air conditioned areas and get in closer proximity to each other,” Fisher said. “And both of those things are probably not great for viral transmission risk.”

Fisher says when temperatures drop again in the fall, case numbers could decline as well.

But he warns against being too optimistic. He added the only way to guarantee case numbers will decline is to stay home, practice good hand hygiene and wear a face mask.

Some Texas School Districts Start This Week, Like Corpus Christi, While Others Delay

While a number of Texas school districts have delayed the first day of the 2020-2021 academic year until September, some are starting this week. That includes Corpus Christi ISD.

In a video, Superintendent Dr. Roland Hernandez discussed precautions the district is taking amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“For the first few weeks we’ll start remote learning and then on September 8, we’ll begin our face-to-face instruction for the students choosing to come back to school,” he said.

The first day of school for Corpus Christi students is Thursday.

Dallas Mayor Named To National COVID-19 And Criminal Justice Commission

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson was recently chosen to be part of a 14-member National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice.

The bipartisan group, led by former U.S. Attorneys General Loretta Lynch and Alberto Gonzalez, is assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the justice system.

“I am honored to have been asked to participate in this distinguished and diverse group as we analyze and discuss solutions to two of the biggest issues facing our country,” Johnson said in a statement. “We have critical work ahead of us to keep the public safe, to build equity, and to address systemic racial issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shaken Dallas and created significant need in our communities.”

The Commission recently released two reports: COVID-19 and Crime, and State and Local Budgets.

Learn More:

Sunday, Aug. 9

843 New Cases And 4 More Deaths In Dallas County

Dallas County is reporting 843 new cases and four additional deaths. This brings the total confirmed case count in the county to 54,674, including 755 confirmed deaths.

The four people who’ve died are described as:

  • A Balch Springs man in his 50s. 
  • An Irving man in his 60s with underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas woman in her 60s.
  • A Grand Prairie woman in her 70s with underlying high risk health conditions.

Tarrant County Reports 491 New Cases, 1 Additional 

There are 491 new COVID-19 cases in Tarrant county today and another resident has died. This brings the countywide total to 33,860, including 422 deaths.

215 New Cases In Collin County

Collin County is reporting 215 new cases today. The countywide total is now 7,654 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 89 deaths.

Denton County Reporting 58 New Cases

There are 58 new confirmed cases in Denton County today. This increases the cumulative, countywide total to 7,644 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 62 deaths.

Gov. Abbott Extends Disaster Declaration

Gov. Greg Abbott has extended the disaster declaration originally issued March 13. The order makes a variety of state resources available to combat the pandemic.

“Renewing this disaster declaration will provide communities with the resources they need to respond to COVID-19,” Abbott said in a statement. “I urge Texans to remain vigilant in our fight against this virus.”

There have been over 496,000 confirmed cases of the disease in the Lone Star State.

Read the full declaration.

President Trump Signs Executive Actions Extending Financial Relief & Benefits.

Saturday, President Trump signed four executive actions to provide economic relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. The actions amount to a stopgap measure, after failing to secure an agreement with Congress.

The three memorandums and one executive order call for extending enhanced unemployment benefits, taking steps to stop evictions, continuing the suspension of student loan repayments, and deferring payroll taxes.

Read the full story from NPR news.

Saturday, Aug. 8

Dallas County Has 540 New Cases, 5 More Deaths

Dallas is reporting 540 new cases today, bringing the total confirmed case count to 53,831, including 751 confirmed deaths.

The county has also confirmed five additional deaths related to the disease. They’re described as:

  • A Garland man in his 50s
  • A Dallas man in his 50s who had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Dallas man in his 60s who had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Lancaster woman in her 80s who lived at a long-term care facility and had underlying high risk health conditions.
  • A Garland woman in her 80s who had underlying high risk health conditions. 

7 More Deaths, 779 New Cases In Tarrant County

Tarrant County is reporting seven additional deaths among residents with COVID-19 today, a total of 421 residents with the disease have died. 

There are also 779 new cases of COVID-19 in the county, bringing the cumulative total to 33,369. 

Collin County Reports 171 New Cases

There are 171 new COVID-19 cases in Collin County today, bringing the total countywide to 7,439 new cases, including 89 deaths.

67 New Cases And 2 More Deaths In Denton County

Two Denton County residents with COVID-19 have died, bringing the total number of deaths countywide to 62.

The two people who died were: a min in his 80s who lived at Carollton’s Brookhaven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and a woman in her 70s who lived at Denton’s Eagle Ridge Alzheimer’s Special Care Center.

County health officials also reported 67 new COVID-19 cases today, increasing the countywide total to 7,586.  

Sales Tax Holiday This Weekend

The three-day Back to School Sales Tax holiday is underway, and items — like backpacks and school supplies — under $100 are tax free.

Kevin Lyons with the Texas Comptroller’s Office said most personal protective equipment will not qualify, but there are some exceptions.

“Cloth masks that people have to wear every day, disposable cloth masks as well, you should not have to pay tax on those items because they meet the definition of clothing,” Lyons said. “However, protective gloves, medical grade masks, and industrial kind of masks…those aren’t normally worn every day and they aren’t worn for every activity that you do, so you will be paying tax on those items..”  

Texas Comptroller’s website has a full list of eligable items.

Big Bend National Park Partially Open 

Big Bend National Park will partially reopened Friday now that an employee who had previously been diagnosed with the coronavirus has recovered. 

The employee tested positive late last month and is now “feeling fine,” according to a park official. Five additional employees who had contact with the person are now out of quarantine as well. Since the announcement of the confirmed case, there have been no additional reports of COVID-19 among staff or residents of the park.

“This is good news. The Park belongs to the people of the united states and we’re glad that, right now at least, our staff are healthy enough that we feel that we’re glad we can share it,” Superintendent Bob Krumenkaer said. 

The park will allow day-time use only, similar to how officials first reopened the park earlier this summer.  

Lack Of Black Doctors Must Be Addressed, Black Congressional Caucus Says 

Speaking on behalf of the Black Congressional Caucus, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson said the pandemic has revealed long-standing disparities in medicine that must be addressed, including a significant lack of Black doctors.

“The medical workforce that we are all relying on to fight this pandemic, it is also rife with inequities,” she said. “Less than 7% of the medical students and less than 3% of the practicing physicians are Black. While Black women make up modest gains in representation of medical students, the number of Black men in medical school has decreased.”

According to the CDC, Black and Latino death rates are much higher than for white people, in all age categories.

Read More: A Timeline Of COVID-19’s Spread In North Texas 

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Author: The Covid-19 Channel