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Coronavirus live updates April 20: Here’s what to know in the Dallas-Fort Worth area

We’re keeping track of the most up-to-date news about the coronavirus in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Check back for updates.

WHY TARRANT COUNTY’S LOWER NEW CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS MIGHT NOT BE A SIGN OF PROGRESS

Tarrant County reported only seven new coronavirus cases on Monday, the third consecutive day of single-digit totals.
County health officials, however, caution that the low totals could be because of a temporary lag in lab results being reported..

The county has confirmed 1,249 COVID-19 cases, including 39 deaths and 208 recovered patients.
After 11 consecutive days with 38 or more new cases, the county reported six, eight and seven the past three days. Until six new cases were reported on Saturday, the county hadn’t reported single-digit new cases since March 29.

DALLAS COUNTY WILL ‘SCRAP AND CLAW’ FOR CORONAVIRUS TESTS, AS 84 NEW CASES REPORTED

Dallas County reported 84 new coronavirus cases on Monday.
The total confirmed COVID-19 cases stand at 2,512, including 60 deaths.
The county is not reporting recovered patient totals.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins cautioned in a news release that some private labs do not report results on Sunday and urged residents to continue social distancing.
“We continue to scrap and claw for more testing and you must continue to exercise good personal responsibility decisions, limit essential personal business trips and wear a cloth covering when you go to essential businesses,” Jenkins said. “Like cooking and golf, if you rush it you ruin it.”

JOHNSON COUNTY REPORTS 8 MORE CORONAVIRUS CASES, 52 TOTAL ACROSS 7 CITIES, RURAL AREAS

Johnson County added eight new coronavirus cases over the weekend for a total of 52.
There are COVID-19 cases in seven cities, plus unincorporated Johnson County, including 22 in Burleson, 14 in rural areas, eight in Cleburne, three in Alvarado, two in Mansfield and one each in Joshua, Keene and Venus.
The county is not reporting recovered patients. Burleson officials are reporting 11 recoveries and there have been patient recoveries reported in Mansfield and Cleburne. Burleson is reporting three additional cases as of Saturday, including at least one who is a resident of Tarrant County and is not among Johnson County’s total.

FORT WORTH-AREA CONGRESSMAN WANTS AMERICANS TO BE ABLE TO SUE CHINA OVER CORONAVIRUS

Americans and governments across the United States would have the ability to sue the government of China for the spread of coronavirus, under a bill filed in Congress.
Republican U.S. Reps. Ron Wright of Arlington and Chris Smith of New Jersey have introduced House Resolution 6524. It essentially strips China — and any other country “which intentionally misleads” the World Health Organization — of sovereign immunity.
A statement by the two said lawsuits against China would hold that country “accountable for the deaths, pain and suffering — as well as the economic crisis — resulting from its intentional misrepresentations” to WHO, which let COVID-19 “spread viciously throughout the U.S. and around the globe.”
Knowing full well that they had a deadly, and highly contagious disease on their hands, as late as mid-January China’s communist leaders told the WHO that there was no need for any precautions, as everything was under control,” Smith wrote in a statement. “Fact is, it wasn’t.
“Many Americans have died prematurely, some will suffer permanent injuries, while still others will suffer harm to their businesses because of the Chinese government’s lies. My bill makes it possible for Americans to recover some of what they have lost from China.”

DALLAS CORONAVIRUS TESTS OPEN TO GROCERY STORE WORKERS, ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL WITHOUT SYMPTOMS

Dallas County will open its coronavirus test sites to include essential personnel with no symptoms beginning Monday.
Essential workers include first responders, DART drivers, healthcare workers, and grocery store and essential retail store employees.
The sites operate daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are located in Dallas at American Airlines Center, Parking Lot E, 2500 Victory Plaza, and Ellis Davis Field House, 9191 S Polk St.
Criteria for COVID-19 testing sites are as follows:
• Anyone with a temperature of 99.6 or higher and shortness of breath or cough.
• Anyone 65 or older.
• Anyone with chronic health issues (diabetes, asthma, heart issues, etc.)
• Any first responders, DART drivers, healthcare workers, grocery store and essential retail store workers.

FEDERAL APPEALS COURT REINSTATES BAN ON MEDICATION ABORTIONS IN TEXAS AMID CORONAVIRUS

A federal appeals court reinstated most of Texas’ ban on abortions amid the coronavirus outbreak Monday, ruling that medication abortions, which are induced by taking pills, may not be permitted.
The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling comes one week after it had allowed medication abortions, which are permitted during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, to resume.
In Texas, abortions are banned 22 weeks past a patient’s last menstrual period. Monday’s decision permits abortions to continue for patients who would have reached that limit before Gov. Greg Abbott’s order banning most abortions expires Tuesday.
The ruling is the latest in the back-and-forth legal battle between abortion providers and the state over Abbott’s executive order last month that suspended elective surgeries and procedures not necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient — including abortions.
Abbott had relaxed those restrictions Friday, issuing a new executive order that permits procedures that would not deplete hospital capacity or supplies of personal protective equipment, such as face masks or gloves. The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday and lasts through May 8.

TEXAS GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT SAYS NASCAR RACING COULD RETURN TO TMS ‘VERY SOON’

The PGA Tour plans to restart its season at Colonial in early June. Could Fort Worth be the site of NASCAR’s return to action too?
Gov. Greg Abbott said he met with NASCAR officials on Monday, and the hope is to return to TMS “very soon.”
“I hope to announce the exciting details in the near future,” Abbott wrote on Twitter. “To prevent spread of #COVID19 it will be without fans. But they will put on a great show for TV.”
TMS and NASCAR have yet to respond to a request for comment. A date for a potential race is unknown, and it’s unclear if TMS would be the first track to host a race.

SICK, ELDERLY AND FEARING CORONAVIRUS: LIFE INSIDE FORT WORTH’S WOMEN’S FEDERAL PRISON

To Marie Neba, an inmate at FMC Carswell, coronavirus concerns have made talking on the phone feel dangerous. During a call from the Fort Worth prison in early April, she was concerned about the germs from somebody using the phone before her. And no more than two feet away, other inmates were talking and sending emails. They were not wearing masks, she said.
Because of a recent lockdown, Neba has been spending 22 hours a day in a nine-person cell. The beds are three feet apart. One of the women in her cell, she said, had a fever but was not tested for coronavirus.
These concerns, which would rattle anyone during a pandemic, are particularly distressing to Neba: She has stage four breast cancer and diabetes. “I’m full of anxiety,” she said.
At FMC Carswell, the United States’ lone federal medical prison with a female-only population, many of the 1,600-plus incarcerated women, like Neba, are nonviolent offenders with severe illnesses and underlying health conditions. They are among the most vulnerable to sustaining complications from COVID-19 in the United States prison system, which, with high turnover and cramped quarters poses danger for inmates and employees. Yet because the Bureau of Prisons has been slow to release inmates who could be eligible for temporary home confinement and the federal court system has been reluctant to allow the coronavirus to prompt emergency relief hearings, Neba and fellow inmates have little chance of being released or having their sentences reduced.
Two cases of coronavirus have been confirmed at Carswell. One woman was isolated at the prison, and the other, a pregnant woman, was hospitalized at John Peter Smith Hospital, according to court filings. Outbreaks have occurred at other federal and state prisons. The federal prison system, as of Wednesday, had reported 446 cases of coronavirus among inmates, 248 cases among staff and 14 inmate deaths. Six of the deaths occurred at Oakdale in Louisiana with 56 cases among staff and inmates. In Arkansas, a state prison tested an entire unit after one inmate contracted coronavirus and discovered that 43 of the unit’s 46 inmates also tested positive.

THIS FORT WORTH COMPANY KNOWN FOR MAKING EYE DROPS IS NOW ALSO MAKING HAND SANITIZER

One of Fort Worth’s oldest and largest companies is Alcon, which is known for making Systane artificial tears, contact lense solutions, lenses for cataract surgery and many other over-the-counter and surgical eye care products.
But these days, workers at the company’s research and manufacturing laboratories near the southeast corner of Interstate 35W and I-20 are just as likely to be making batches of hand sanitizer. The hand-rubbing agent is then donated to area health care providers and other first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.
“These are scientists and technical people, and they want to help,” Ed McGough, senior vice president of manufacturing and technical operations, said during a tour of the company’s lab. “They’re looking for creative ways of doing that.”
As McGough spoke, workers mixed batches of hydrogen peroxide, glycerol, denatured ethanol and sterile water — the key ingredients in hand sanitizer, as provided in World Health Organization guidelines.
So far, Alcon has donated 50 liters of sanitizer to Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth, and has another 760 liters ready to donate to other North Texas organizations that need it.

TEXANS CAN SAVE MONEY ON EMERGENCY SUPPLIES DURING APRIL 25-27 SALES TAX HOLIDAY

Even in these days of coronavirus, there’s a sales tax holiday coming up in Texas.
Texans can save money stocking up on emergency supplies such as household batteries, flashlights, first-aid kits and fuel containers that cost less than $75 from April 25-27.
“We are encouraging shoppers to either purchase their items online or use strict social distancing measures if they visit brick and mortars,” said Kevin Lyons, a spokesman in the Texas Comptroller’s Office. “We are absolutely concerned about the safety and well-being of Texans.”
This is one of several tax holidays in Texas each year.
The goal of this one is to help Texans prepare for spring storms, tornadoes and hurricanes. And there’s no limit on the number of items people can buy.
Visit the Texas Comptroller’s website for the list of eligible items.
The holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 25, and ends at midnight on Monday, April 27.

TARRANT COUNTY REPORTS 1 NEW CORONAVIRUS DEATH, 13 ADDITIONAL CASES SUNDAY

Tarrant County recorded another coronavirus death and 13 new confirmed cases Sunday, raising the total number of deaths to 39 and confirmed cases to 1,242.
A Fort Worth woman in her 50s with underlying medical conditions died from the virus while 189 people have recovered.
Fort Worth had the most confirmed cases Sunday with 495, followed by Arlington with 231.
Hospitals across the county have 670 ventilators open with 2,734 open beds. Hospitals have 115 beds occupied with confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 2,847 total beds occupied with 161 ventilators in use.
Of those who have confirmed cases of coronavirus, 64% have not been hospitalized.

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Source - https://www.star-telegram.com/news/coronavirus/article242130476.html

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