Roundup: Find March 22-28 coronavirus updates for the Coppell, Valley Ranch, Las Colinas area here

Here is what local governments are doing to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. (Gavin Pugh/Community Impact Newspaper)
Here is what local governments are doing to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. (Gavin Pugh/Community Impact Newspaper)

Here is what local governments are doing to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. (Gavin Pugh/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Gov. Greg Abbott has suspended multiple Texas codes, allowing for political subdivisions to delay their elections. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Image description
Here is what local governments are doing to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Image description
Here is what local governments are doing to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Editor's note: This story is being constantly updated as more local news about the coronavirus becomes available.

Updated 3 p.m. March 28

Dallas County is reporting 72 new positive cases of coronavirus, bringing the countywide total to 439. There have also been two more deaths, the county reports.

The first death was a man in his 50s, and the second was a man in his 70s. Both were critically ill in the hospital at the time of their deaths, the county reports. This brings the countywide death count to nine.

“This serves as a sober reminder that COVID-19 is a dangerous disease for everyone and is why it’s so important that we all need to stay home to stay safe,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in response to the death of the man in his 50s, who Jenkins reports had no underlying health conditions.


Of cases requiring hospitalization to date, about two-thirds have been either over 60 years old or have had at least one known high-risk chronic health condition, a county press release stated.

Dallas County's daily case count reports can be found at this link.

Updated at 6 p.m. March 27

Coppell and Irving ISDs have both extended their school closures through April 17 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

CISD students transitioned to an online learning platform March 23. The district also announced March 26 that it would implement a pass-fail grading system for the fourth nine weeks.

CISD Superintendent Brad Hunt said in a letter to parents that the pass-fail system aims to avoid penalizing students for any difficulties encountered during the pandemic.

At Irving ISD, parents can access their child’s learning schedule, assignments, information on free lunches and technology device reservations at www.irvingisd.net/learningplans.

Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Coppell and Irving ISDs all offer lunches for students during this time. Information on when and where to pick up the meals can be found at https://txschools.gov/

Updated at 12:50 p.m. March 27

Dallas County officials said they are anticipating a steep increase in coronavirus cases. As such, they are tapping the national guard for medical and logistical support and expanding their bed capacity through a mobile 250-bed hospital.

The national guard will not be operating in a law-enforcement capacity, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said at a March 26 news conference, but they will be wearing their military uniforms.

Dr. Philip Huang, the county's health chief, also gave an update on coronavirus cases being reported at the county jail. Seven people have tested positive, and one test is pending for the virus outbreak at the jail, while three others are displaying symptoms.

Additionally, four other people that shared the same pod are in quarantine, as are two officers, Huang said.

Jenkins said he is working with surrounding counties to streamline their various shelter-in-place orders. Collin County is one of the only nearby counties not limiting business operations during the shelter-in-place order, he said.

"They don't have to cooperate, but yes, we need them to act," Jenkins said. "I hate what's happening to our business community through this, ... but we have got to listen to the science on this."

Updated at 12:30 p.m. March 27

The number of Dallas County patients who require hospitalization due to coronavirus complications is increasing, according to a press release.

Of all hospitalized patients countywide, 36% have reqwuired admission to intensive care units, the release stated. About 21% of patients have needed mechanical ventilation. In cases requiring hospitalization, about two-thirds of patients are either over age 60 or have at least one known high-risk health condition, according to the release.

As of 10 a.m., 64 additional positive cases have been reported, bringing the county total to 367. Eight of those patients are from Richardson, a county report shows. So far, seven patients have died.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. March 26

Dallas County officials have confirmed 56 additional coronavirus cases, for a total tally of 303. It is also reporting its seventh death, a 90-year-old woman from Dallas.

The county continues to report that about two thirds of its patients are individuals over 60 years old or who have had other chronic health conditions.

“One third of those requiring hospitalization are under age 60 with no underlying conditions. COVID-19 is a danger to anyone, not just high-risk groups," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a news release. "Know that my prayers, and the prayers of our team, are with all those families with loved ones affected and with all of you. Stay safe. Stay home. And when you exercise, maintain 6 feet of social distancing at ALL times."

Dallas County's daily case count reports can be found at this link.

Updated at 9:07 a.m. March 26

Dallas County reported the greatest number of new confirmed coronavirus cases in one day, according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. Earlier this morning, the county reported 78 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 247, Jenkins said.

“We saw a big rise in the number of positive tests today, and since that time we’ve had a lot of other people test positive," he said.

This is not only because the virus is spreading but also because the turnover of testing has increased, explained Dr. Philip Huang, Dallas County health and human services director. The case count is expected to grow as results from the county's two drive-thru testing facilities become available, Jenkins said.

The county will announce its seventh coronavirus death as part of numbers being released March 26, Huang said.

"It’s a reminder of how important it is for everyone to adhere to the judge's order on social distancing," Huang said.

Jenkins also updated the public on the spread of the virus in the Dallas County jail. Four more inmates who had been housed in the same pod as the first confirmed patient have tested positive, he said. Parkland has set up a medical pod within the jail to care for the patients, he said.

“Those who are sick are receiving excellent care, and those who are not sick are receiving good separation.”

If the virus continues to spread, the county may move some inmates into an 114-bed temporary holding unit in the George Allen Courthouse, Jenkins said.

The county is also making virtual visitation free for all inmates, since in-person visitation has been suspended.

Dallas County's daily case count reports can be found at this link.

Updated at 12:39 p.m. March 25

There were 247 coronavirus cases in Dallas County as of 10 a.m. March 25. This is an increase of 78 new cases since yesterday, according to the county. Another patient has also died from the virus, bringing the countywide death tally to six.

The patient was a Garland woman in her 80s, according to the county. About two-thirds of all coronavirus patients that have been admitted to Dallas County hospitals are over the age of 60, a press release stated.

“Today’s steep increase in cases is an urgent reminder that Gov. Abbott should heed the pleas of doctors, nurses and hospitals," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in the release. "We can’t wait any longer. I once again ask all North Texas counties to immediately move to the Dallas “Stay Home Stay Safe” model as some did yesterday.”

Dallas County is currently under a stay-at-home order until April 3. But Judge Clay Jenkins said at a March 23 news conference that the medical community is telling him it could be months before conditions improve.

Updated at 9:10 p.m. March 24

Coppell City Council is postponing its elections until Nov. 3.

The elections were scheduled to take place May 2, but recent countywide orders that generally ban all public gatherings have cast doubt on the feasibility of organizing polling places in the near future.

City Secretary Christel Pettinos said her team exhausted all possible options to maintain the May 2 date.

Incumbent Council Members Cliff Long and Mark Hill are running unopposed for their places 1 and 7, respectively. Place 3 candidates are incumbent Wes Mays and candidate David Bernstein. Place 5 candidates are candidates Jim Walker and Erin Bogdanowicz.

The council's decision effectively canceled the elections for places 1 and 7 and postponed the election date for places 3 and 5. The decision stipulated that gubernatorial action or a court order could move the elections to a different date.

The city is not reopening the candidate filing period.

Updated at 11:57 a.m. March 24

Dallas County has updated its official COVID-19 case tally to 169 as of 11:15 a.m. March 24. The countywide total includes five deaths.

This represents an increase of 14 new cases and one new death since March 23. The fifth death was a Dallas woman in her 70s.

Dallas County is currently under a stay-at-home order through April 3; however, Judge Clay Jenkins said at a March 23 news conference that the medical community says it could be months before conditions improve.

Updated at 9:03 p.m. March 23

The order that Dallas County residents shelter in place beginning at 11:59 p.m. March 23 currently has no end date, according to the county's top official.

During a March 23 news conference about the order, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he would need to see a “recommendation from the medical community” that it is safe to lift the order.

“The estimate from the medical community is not two weeks, it’s months unfortunately,” Jenkins said. “I hope that turns out to be wrong.”

While Dallas County is currently the only one in North Texas to enact such an order, McKinney Mayor George Fuller said his city, along with all others in Collin County, will be announcing some form of a "shelter in place" requirement March 24.

Updated at 3 p.m. March 23

Dallas County is offering drive-thru COVID-19 testing at two locations.

The two stations will be located at American Airlines Center at 2500, Victory Plaza, Dallas, and at Ellis David Field House, 9191 S. Polk St., Dallas.

Those interested in being tested must be exhibiting the following symptoms: shortness of breath, a cough and a fever of 99.6 degrees or higher, according to a March 23 tweet from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Updated at 12:20 p.m. March 23

Dallas County officials have confirmed 24 additional cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total count to 155.

The county also confirmed in a March 23 news release that a third and fourth patient have died from COVID-19. The two men were Dallas residents in their 60s.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the two Dallas County residents who lost their lives to COVID-19 since yesterday’s posting," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in the news release. "The “Stay Home Stay Safe” order will save lives, but it takes all of us. We are working to answer the many questions from business[es] we have received this morning and will get you answers as soon as possible. Most of your questions can be found by carefully reading the order, and I encourage people to do that before they contact us."

The daily case count reports can be found at this link.

Details about Jenkins' shelter-in-place order can be found at this link.

Updated at 7 p.m. March 22

Dallas County residents are ordered to shelter in their place of residence from 11:59 p.m. March 23 through April 3 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"This order is our best chance to flatten the curve here in Dallas County and save as many lives as possible," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said during a news conference March 22. "I know there will be economic hardship and business closures with this order, and it makes me sick that we are at this point."

Flattening the curve refers to minimizing the infection rate of the virus through similar shelter-in-place orders to avoid the inundation of hospitals, Jenkins said.

The order generally bars all public or private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside of one's residence. Exceptions include essential business operations and government work. The order also stresses people to continue to maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from others.

Coronavirus updates from before March 22 can be found at this link.


MOST RECENT

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Officials with Texas Central announced the signing of a contract with Renfe to be the high-speed rail project's early operator. (Rendering courtesy Texas Central)
Spain-based Renfe on board as early operator of Texas Central's high-speed rail

Renfe operates 5,000 trains daily and plays an integral role in Spain’s transportation system, officials said.

Top state electric grid regulators appeared at a Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce hearing July 13 to discuss the system's ongoing redesign. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Texas electric grid: ERCOT unveils 60-point reliability plan; PUC to work toward 'full overhaul' of market

Officials with the state electric grid manager and top utility regulator appeared at a Texas Senate committee hearing July 13 to discuss grid reliability and planned system changes.

Texas Democrats held a press conference at Capitol Hill to oppose voting restriction bills proposed by Texas Republicans. (Courtesy Rep. Marc Veasey's office)
Texas House Democrats and Texas Democratic Congressional delegation voice opposition to voting bills in Washington, D.C.

Texas Democratic lawmakers held a press conference at the U.S. Capitol urging Congress to enact voting rights legislation.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced his special session priorities July 7. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper).
Texas Legislature's special session agenda to include election integrity, critical race theory

Other items on the agenda include bail reform, border security and social media censorship. The special session will begin July 8.

Gov. Greg Abbott forwarded several directives related to management of the state's power systems to members of the Public Utility Commission of Texas on July 6. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott directs state utility regulator to pursue further electric grid changes

Abbott on July 6 told members of the Public Utility Commission of Texas to pursue several actions related to electric grid reliability and power generation.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a special legislative session will begin July 8. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces special legislative session to start July 8

Agenda items will be announced before the session begins, according to a release from the governor's office.

The Texas Central rail connection from Dallas to Houston will feature a bullet train similar to this one. (Courtesy Texas Central Partners/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Supreme Court declines to review high-speed rail case, freeing company up to use eminent domain

Texas Central, the company looking to build a 236-mile high-speed rail line connecting Houston and Dallas, has been given a big win in an ongoing legal battle over whether the company is legally recognized as a "railroad company" under state law.

Texas Central has signed a $16 billion contract with Webuild to lead the civil construction team that will build the train. (Rendering courtesy Texas Central)
Texas Central signs $16B construction contract for high-speed rail project

Texas Central could be one step closer to starting construction.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a call for Texans to conserve energy June 14. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT asks Texans to conserve energy with generation outages 2.5 times higher than normal

"This is unusual for this early in the summer season," said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT vice president of grid planning and operations, in a news release.

Gov. Greg Abbott, center signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 into law June 8 in response to the devastating winter storm last February. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott signs bills to reform ERCOT and weatherize Texas power grid

The bills will go into effect Sept. 1 and aim to reform ERCOT leadership and increase accountability and communication among power agencies.