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Coronavirus live updates April 21: 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.

CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE JUST YET, TARRANT COUNTY JUDGE SAYS
As officials talk about loosening some restrictions that have kept many in their homes in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, they say it’s too early to actually make changes.

“Now is not the time to relax,” Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said Tuesday. “I still think we are two, three, maybe four weeks away from lessening restrictions.

“We are pretty much staying in step with the governor, ... beginning to look down the road to when we are lessening restrictions ... and putting (people) back to work.”


On Tuesday, Tarrant County commissioners updated their executive order calling for residents to stay home through the end of April to make it conform to orders Texas Gov. Greg Abbott put out last week that loosen some restrictions such as allowing for non-emergency medical procedures to begin Wednesday and retail-to-go to begin Friday.

Abbott has said more announcements will come Monday.

“It’s a very delicate balancing act between protecting the health of our citizens and protecting the economy,” Commissioner Roy Brooks said, calling for more coronavirus tests to be done locally. “We have to be more aggressive with testing so we know about the health of our citizens at the same time we consider the health of our economy.”

3 MORE CORONAVIRUS DEATHS IN TARRANT COUNTY, INCLUDING MAN IN 40S, PLUS 84 NEW CASES
Tarrant County reported three more coronavirus-related deaths, including a Fort Worth man in his 40s, on Tuesday.

All three patients had underlying health conditions. The deaths also included a Fort Worth woman in her 90s and an Arlington man in his 90s.

The county added 84 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday for a total of 1,333, including 223 recoveries and 42 deaths.

“These deaths are unfortunate reminders that we are still in the fight against this deadly virus,” Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja said in a news release.

FOR TEXANS LOOKING FOR WORK DUE TO CORONAVIRUS, ABBOTT SAYS NEARLY 500K JOBS AVAILABLE
Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that plans to slowly reopen Texas’ economy are moving forward and directed Texans to resources where they can find hundreds of thousands of jobs available across the state in the meantime.

Abbott said companies like Amazon, H-E-B, Lockheed Martin and Fidelity Investments are currently hiring, and pointed job seekers to WorkInTexas.com, a website developed by the Texas Workforce Commission. The site currently lists about 490,000 open jobs, and Abbott described it as a “one-stop shopping location” that allows results to be searched for by keyword and location.

In the Tarrant County area, residents can also visit resources like the Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County’s website, to find resources locally.

“The good news is, Texas is prepared to take very positive steps toward opening up our state and finally ensuring that we’re going to have more of our employees going back to work,” Abbott said Tuesday from the Texas Capitol.

The virus has rocked the economy, and stay-at-home orders have forced some businesses to close and have led to record job losses and claims for unemployment insurance. And on Monday, oil prices plunged below zero.

Abbott said job losses and the effects on Texans’ livelihood has been “one of the harshest consequences of what we have dealt with so far other than the loss of life.”

Abbott also said that revised guidance on businesses reopening their doors was still set to be announced Monday, April 27, in addition to updates to his executive order requiring Texans stay home though April unless participating in services deemed “essential” by the state.

The current order lasts through April 30, but Abbott said Monday he will be issuing “a new order for the state going forward, and there will either be portions of that, or all of that, that have statewide application.”

FORT WORTH-AREA MAN HOME AFTER CORONAVIRUS INFECTION HAD HIM IN HOSPITAL FOR 11 DAYS
When Charles Lowrey returned to his Haltom City home in the beginning of March, he was not feeling well, he said.

Lowrey, a 61-year-old truck driver, said he kept taking his temperature, which hovered around 100 degrees for days. After days of not having any appetite and not being able to keep down any liquids besides water, Lowrey said, his sons convinced him to go to a clinic.

Lowrey said a doctor told him he was suffering from food poisoning.

But days later, he was in an ambulance and attached to a ventilator on his way to Medical City North Hills hospital in North Richland Hills. Lowrey said his memories of the experience have become fragmented.

He said he went back to the clinic before he was rushed to the hospital and his temperature was 101.7 degrees.

“Then it just shot up to 107,” Lowrey said.

By the time Lowrey got to the hospital, he said, his test results came back positive for COVID-19. Lowrey, who was admitted on April 10, spent five days on a ventilator and the next six days in an intensive care unit. Lowrey was released from the hospital on Monday.

Having the disease was a battle, he said.

“I used to make light of this coronavirus, but I’ll never do that again,” Lowrey said. “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

DALLAS COUNTY EXTENDS STAY-AT-HOME ORDER THROUGH MAY 15, BUT ABBOTT MAY OVERRULE ACTION
Dallas County extended its coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home order through May 15, two weeks beyond the statewide order from Gov. Greg Abbott.

Tuesday’s 3-2 vote by county commissioners could be overruled by Abbott. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who cast one of the three votes to extend the order, said he’ll leave it up to the state to decide.

In a news conference Tuesday, Abbott said he plans to announce any updates on the statewide order, along with revised guidance on business reopenings.

The county has reported 64 COVID-19 deaths and 2,602 cases, including four deaths and 90 new cases on Tuesday.

“If I’m wrong, [the governor] will quickly tell us and tell us that we have to let everybody play pick-up basketball and do whatever they want to on April 30,” Jenkins said, according to the Dallas Morning News.

DALLAS COUNTY REPORTS 90 MORE CORONAVIRUS CASES, 3 DEATHS IN MESQUITE, 1 IN DUNCANVILLE
Dallas County reported four more coronavirus deaths and 90 new cases on Tuesday.

Three who died were residents of Mesquite and one was a resident of Duncanville. All four had been critically ill at hospitals.

They were in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 90s.

The county has reported 64 COVID-19 deaths and 2,602 cases.

EIGHTH MCKINNEY RESIDENT, 14TH IN COLLIN COUNTY, DIES FROM CORONAVIRUS
An 86-year-old McKinney woman is the 14th coronavirus-related death in Collin County.

The woman had underlying health conditions and died at home Tuesday morning. She’s the eighth McKinney resident to die in the pandemic.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends,” Collin County Judge Chris Hill said in a release. “It is always sad to learn of the death of another member of our Collin County community.”

The county reported 26 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday for a total of 570, including 383 recoveries and 14 deaths. Of the 193 active patients, 17 are hospitalized and 156 are in home isolation.

DENTON COUNTY REPORTS 18TH CORONAVIRUS DEATH, 21 NEW CASES
A Lewisville man in his 60s is the 18th coronavirus-related death in Denton County.

The man had been hospitalized after locally contracting COVID-19.

Health officials also announced 21 new cases, bringing the total to 619, including 258 recoveries.

Of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases, 167 patients are residents of Denton, including 54 residents of the Denton State Supported Living Center; 67 live in Carrollton; and 62 live in unincorporated parts of the county. There have been 45 cases in Lewisville.

‘MORE IMPORTANT THINGS THAN LIVING,’ TEXAS’ DAN PATRICK SAYS IN CORONAVIRUS INTERVIEW
After indicating last month that he would exchange his life to help keep the economy afloat, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on Fox News Monday night that he was grateful Texas is taking the first steps to reopen the economy amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“I’m sorry to say I was right on this. And I’m thankful that we are now, finally, beginning to open up Texas and other states because it’s been long overdue,” Patrick told talk show host Tucker Carlson on Fox News Monday night.

Patrick recounted the numbers of COVID-19 related deaths in Texas — 495 as of Monday night. He stressed that “every life is valuable” but compared them to the state’s population of 29 million people.

“But 500 people out of 29 million and we’re locked down, and we’re crushing the average worker. We’re crushing small business. We’re crushing the markets. We’re crushing this country,” Patrick said. “And what I said when I was with you that night, there are more important things than living. And that’s saving this country for my children, and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us. And I don’t want to die, nobody wants to die, but man, we got to take some risks and get back in the game, and get this country back up and running.”

FORT WORTH MAYOR BETSY PRICE TO BE TESTED FOR CORONAVIRUS AFTER POSSIBLE EXPOSURE
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price will be tested for coronavirus after being in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

In a brief Facebook Live stream from her home, Price said she was notified Monday that she may have been exposed to the virus and will be tested Tuesday morning. She does not have symptoms.

“I think the message is: stay home,” she said.

The city said in a statement that an employee at the joint emergency operations center tested positive Monday for COVID-19. Price was in contact with that person, but said in her Facebook Live that they were wearing masks and the area was frequently cleaned. People were screened for high temperatures as well.

Everyone who was in contact with the infected person will be tested, according to the city’s statement. A city spokeswoman declined to say how many city employees may have been exposed or were in quarantine. Price was in contact with the person sometime last week at the emergency operations center.

DOCTORS, DENTISTS SUE FORT WORTH, DEMAND BAN OF MOST ABORTIONS AMID CORONAVIRUS
A group of doctors and dentists has petitioned for Fort Worth to ban certain abortions during the coronavirus shutdown and is asking that the city’s stay-at-home order be declared invalid if the city does not do so.

The Thomas More Society, a conservative anti-abortion law firm based in Chicago, filed the lawsuit in Tarrant County district court Friday. The complaint says Mayor Betsy Price and the city of Fort Worth are violating Texas law by allowing elective abortions to continue.

The complaint demands either Fort Worth ban abortions in its stay-at-home order, or that the order be declared invalid.

The plaintiffs of the suit are three Fort Worth oral surgeons — Gregory B. Scheideman, William F. Runyon Jr. and David W. Kostohryz Jr. — Fort Worth orthodontist John Kelley and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The surgeons’ practice, Fort Worth Oral Surgery PA, and Kelley’s clinic, Kelley Orthodontics, are also listed as plaintiffs.

Whole Woman’s Health in Fort Worth and the Southwest Fort Worth Health Center, as well as the city of Fort Worth and Price, are named as defendants in the suit.

The city and the women’s clinics haven’t yet issued statements in response to the complaint.

The complaint accuses Fort Worth clinics that provide abortions of “selfishly consuming personal protective equipment on elective and unlawful abortions at a time when every piece of personal protective equipment must be conserved.”

The suit also says that “an order that allows an illegal medical procedure (abortion) to continue while prohibiting lawful procedures such as dentistry, oral surgery, and orthodontics during the COVID-19 pandemic is inconsistent with the state statutes that criminalize abortion, all of which continue to exist as ‘general laws enacted by the Legislature of this State.’”

FACEBOOK MAP SHOWS WHERE TEXAS RESIDENTS ARE MOST REPORTING COVID-19 SYMPTOMS
A new map released by Facebook shows which counties in Texas have the highest percentages of people reporting coronavirus symptoms.

No counties in the state landed in the highest category, based on an interactive map created by the tech giant.

According to data current through April 12, Smith and Gregg counties scored relatively high to the rest of the state with 1.92% of people reporting COVID-19 symptoms.

Tarrant and Dallas counties scored relatively low to the rest of the state with 1.06% and 0.68% of people reporting symptoms, respectively, the map shows.

The data was generated from results of a voluntary survey — developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh — that appeared on Facebook and asked users if they were experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, including cough, fever, shortness of breath or loss of smell, CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote in The Washington Post.

The maps show data based on a calendar week and are expected to be updated daily. They are intended to help health officials determine where to send resources and decide when parts of the country can be reopened, McClatchy News reported.

CORONAVIRUS CASES BREAK OUT AT IMMIGRANT DETENTION CENTER, ICE REPORTS
Two dozen people at an immigration detention center in Alvarado have tested positive for coronavirus, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE reported 24 detainees have the virus at Prairieland Detention Center south of Dallas, according to list on the department’s website. Across the country, 220 people in ICE custody have tested positive for COVID-19.

Immigrant-rights advocates across the U.S. have been calling on the federal government to shut down detention centers and release those being held there. Similar to prisons, many fear the close quarters and subpar conditions of detention centers increase the chance of coronavirus spreading rapidly.

ICE updated its list of coronavirus cases on Monday evening. Since the list was last updated on Friday, cases nationwide nearly doubled from 124 to 220, according to the New York Times.

The Prairieland Detention Center now has the second highest number of detainees with coronavirus in the country, second only to Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in New York.

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.”

DENTON COUNTY OFFICIALS REPORT 17TH CORONAVIRUS DEATH BUT HOPE CURVE IS ‘FLATTENING’
Denton County reported Monday that its 17th coronavirus-related death was a Dallas man in his 70s.

The man had been hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 locally.

Health officials announced five new cases for a total of 598, including 249 recoveries. Denton County Public Health director Matt Richardson said in a release that the low case totals could be due to a delay in reporting to local health departments over the weekend.

“Reporting an additional death within Denton County reiterates the severity and risks associated with COVID-19,” Richardson said. “New cases being reported to DCPH have remained low today and we are hopeful that this decrease is the flattening of Denton County’s curve.”

COLLIN COUNTY REPORTS 17 NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES AFTER 6 TOTAL OVER THE WEEKEND
Collin County reported 17 new coronavirus cases on Monday for a total of 544, including 13 deaths and 331 recoveries.

There were only five new cases reported Sunday and one on Saturday.

Of the 200 current cases of COVID-19 in Collin County, 15 are hospitalized and 185 remain in home isolation.

Of the 17 new cases, five are in Plano. Plano has 155 confirmed cases, including four patients who live in Denton County.

The county has reported 3,466 negative COVID-19 tests and is monitoring 1,076 residents for symptoms.

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.

DFW AREA CORONAVIRUS CASES
Tap the map to see cases in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Pan the map to see cases elsewhere in the US. The data for the map is maintained by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University and automated by the Esri Living Atlas team. Data sources are WHO, US CDC, China NHC, ECDC, and DXY. The data also includes local reports.


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.

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.”

OIL PRICES PLUNGE SO FAR THAT A BARREL IS NOW WORTH LESS THAN NOTHING
Oil prices plunged below zero for the first time ever on Monday due to decreased demand during the coronavirus pandemic, media outlets reported.

U.S. crude oil prices dropped to negative $3.70 per barrel as of 2:15 pm. Eastern time, according to The Associated Press.

The negative price was also due to the May futures contract expiring on Tuesday, The Los Angeles Times reported. Futures for next month’s contract also dropped to $22.05 a barrel, according to the outlet.

The drop in demand during COVID-19 shutdowns have forced oil producers to “pay buyers to take the glut of crude which they cannot store, as rising stockpiles of crude threaten to overwhelm oil storage facilities,” The Guardian reported.

Goldman Sachs warned that storage facilities, terminals, refineries, ships and pipelines would run out of room to store oil, according to CNN.

“The market is starting to signal that not only is there no demand for this crude, eventually there could be nowhere for it to go,” Jeff Wyll, senior energy analyst at Neuberger Berman, told CNN.

FACE MASKS AND RESERVATIONS REQUIRED AS TEXAS REOPENS STATE PARKS AMID PANDEMIC
State parks across Texas reopened Monday, two weeks after they were shuttered in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The move, announced by Texas State Parks and Texas Parks & Wildlife, is part of a larger effort by Gov. Greg Abbott to ease restrictions and gradually reopen the state amid the outbreak, according to the organizations.

“All state parks that can reopen Monday will reopen for day use only, with overnight camping to be allowed at a later date,“ the environmental groups wrote on Facebook. “We continue to encourage social distancing and other best practices to avoid spreading the virus, and we will continue to advise our customers to know and follow local, state or federal travel restrictions and other guidance.”

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.

TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY GETS GREEN LIGHT TO HOLD NASCAR RACE BY ABBOTT AND MAYOR PRICE
NASCAR is expected to race at Texas Motor Speedway “very soon,” Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday.

Details as to when and how aren’t known yet as the country continues to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. All that is known is that NASCAR is planning to run in Texas without fans in the near future, something that excited track president Eddie Gossage.

“It was necessary to get the green light from Governor Abbott,” Gossage said. “We had a conference call [Monday] morning with him and he was very enthusiastic. We also have the support of State Senator Jane Nelson, State Representative Tan Parker, Denton County Judge Andy Eads and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. All of our representatives are in our corner, so now we’ve got to work on the details with the sanctioning bodies and TV networks.”

For as much as Texas is ready to embrace the race, as Price tweeted that the city is looking forward to “making this happen,” the biggest hurdle will be decided elsewhere. North Carolina, the home state of a number of NASCAR teams, is in the middle of a stay-at-home order that isn’t allowing teams to work on cars.

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Source- https://www.star-telegram.com/news/coronavirus/article242163826.html

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