Updated at 5:45 p.m. April 5
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced during a Sunday afternoon press conference the launch of a virtual food drive to benefit North Texans struggling with food insecurity as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Money donated to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors drive will go toward 25-pound food boxes distributed through the North Texas Food Bank, Jenkins said.
"As you can imagine, there are a lot of people who for the first time in their lives are experiencing hunger," he said.
According to Jenkins, the state has said it is not able to provide additional funding to stock food banks. This comes at a time when demand for North Texas Food Bank services are at an all-time high, he added.
Jenkins said he has asked Gov. Greg Abbott to unlock additional SNAP and WIC benefits approved by Congress last week. Texas is the only state that has not yet done so, he added.
"If we can't get help replenishing our food banks, please at a minimum do what every other state is doing," he said.
Those who wish to donate to the food drive can visit www.dallascountycovid.org. Jenkins urged county residents to donate money instead of food bought from the grocery store.
"We are running out of food for these hungry families," he said. "Please give online and let us buy at bulk rates what we know they need."
Updated at 1:40 p.m. April 5
Dallas County health officials reported 97 additional cases of the novel coronavirus as of 10 a.m. April 5, bringing the total cases in the county to 1,112.
About 71% of cases involve people who are over 60 years old or who have at least one known high-risk chronic health condition, according to health officials. About 28% of the county's patients hospitalized with COVID-19 have diabetes, officials stated.
“We will get through this, North Texas," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement.
He outlined four things to help residents "stay strong throughout this crisis."
"First, please don’t let the uncertainty overwhelm you," he said. "Rather, take life one day at a time. Second, many of you are leading in your homes or jobs. Let someone else lead for a few hours or a day and recharge so you can stay in the fight. Third, you can’t help everyone but you can help someone. Do for one what you wish you could do for all. For instance, give to the North Texas Food Bank (@ntfb). And finally, practice gratitude. Gratitude drives out despair."
He also gave thanks to those who are working on the front lines to help others amid the coronavirus crisis.
"I’m thankful for our healthcare and essential business heroes, first responders, your spirit, my team’s hard work and my family being together," he said. "What are you thankful for? #StayWellTexas."
More information from Dallas County about COVID-19 is available here.
Updated at 3:20 p.m. April 4
Dallas County is reporting 94 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the countywide case tally to 1,015.
A Dallas man in his 30s with no underlying health conditions has died, according to an April 4 press release. This marks the 18th death from the virus in Dallas County.
About three-quarters of cases requiring hospitalization involve patients who are over the age of 60 or have at least one known underlying health condition, according to the county.
Dallas County's daily case count reports can be found here.
Updated at 5 p.m. April 2
Dallas County is reporting 100 additional coronavirus cases as well as the 16th and 17th deaths from the virus.
This brings the countywide case count to 831.
The deaths include a woman in her 70s who was a resident at a long-term care facility and and a Dallas woman in her 80s, according to the county.
“North Texas and all of Texas is safer today now that Gov. Abbott has adopted the Dallas County Safer at Home model," Jenkins said in an April 2 news release. "We continue to build capacity as we enter the beginning of the curve. There are enough beds and ventilators in hospitals at present. The challenge is to continue to build capacity so that the curve doesn’t overtake our resources. Your mission is to make good personal responsibility decisions. #StayHomeStaySafe #FlattenTheCurve."
Abbott issued the order March 31, and it will extend through April 30. Read the full story here.
Updated at 10:01 a.m. April 2
Dallas County is partnering with the Communities Foundation of Texas to create the Dallas County COVID-19 Response Fund, according to a April 2 press release.
The fund will be used to supply the county’s front-line responders with resources necessary to fight the virus, the release stated.
The fund has already raised $10,000 in donations, according to the release. This money will pay for the production of hand sanitizer.
“The fight against the spread of COVID-19 can only be won if we protect our front-line responders, including police, fire, EMS and health care workers,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in the release.
To learn more about the fund or to donate, visit this link.
Updated at 12:53 p.m. April 1
Dallas County COVID-19 cases continue a sharp upward trend with 100 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours. That includes the 14th and 15th deaths.
The total number of Dallas County cases is now 731.
The two deaths were a Mesquite man in his 50s and a Garland woman in her 80s, according to the county.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he is working to clarify an order regarding religious gatherings.
“We’re beginning to see the curve rise, and we all must do our part to exercise personal responsibility," Jenkins said in the news release. "Along those lines, many of our faith leaders have stepped up to provide the help needed so that our churches and religious organizations, regardless of size, will have the capability to do remote services in compliance with Governor Abbott’s order yesterday, without subjecting their congregations to increased chances of exposure that would come from meeting in congregant settings. As a result of the uncertainty around the order, I am working with the State on behalf of our federal partners to get them the answers they need. We are all in this together, and together, we will #FlattenTheCurve."
Updated at 1:43 p.m. March 31
Dallas County is reporting 82 more cases of coronavirus, bringing the countywide total to 631. Two more deaths have also been announced.
The first death was a Rowlett man in his 50s. The second was a Dallas man in his 90s. Both patients had underlying chronic health conditions, according to the county.
Over the past week, the number of coronavirus patients admitted to intensive care units has surpassed the number of flu patients admitted to Dallas County ICUs during the peak week of the 2019-20 flu season, the county reported.
“We are at the beginning of what will be a difficult time for Texas, especially here,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. “We need each one of you to stay in the fight. To do that, I need you to practice self-care, have faith in the science and stay safe by staying home.”
Additionally, the county reports that it has identified 26 coronavirus cases in long-term care facilities, including two deaths.
Dallas County's daily case count reports can be found at this link.
Updated at 1:54 p.m. March 30
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 29 that he is opening the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas to serve as a joint medical site run by the Texas Military Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“A lot of it depends on whether or not it comes with staffing,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said at a March 29 news conference. "We've had 130 health care heroes that have stepped up so far to sign on to our list, ... and I'm sure we'll have more.”
Abbott said in the news release that this is just the first of several sites being considered to expand Texas’ hospital bed capacity.
"While hospitals will remain the primary location to treat and care for those in need, we are ensuring that Texas is prepared for any possible scenario in which current hospital capacity is exhausted,” Abbott said in the release. "This joint initiative with the Texas Military Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will expand the care capacity in communities across Texas.”
Nurses and physicians looking for ways to help can email the county at [email protected].
Updated at 12:48 p.m. March 30
Dallas County officials have updated their COVID-19 case total to 549, meaning 61 new cases have been reported since March 29. The county is also reporting an additional COVID-19 death, for a total of 11. The 11th death was a Dallas man in his 40s who already had an underlying chronic health condition.
“We are working collaboratively with industry and working groups to ensure that our essential business employees are as safe as possible," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in the news release. "These front line workers are supply chain heroes. We are also asking our community to please be careful on our parks and trails. Social distancing is physical distancing and physical distancing is at least 6 feet.
"If you are jogging past 500 people going the opposite direction on a trail, you’re breathing droplets on the trail from all of those people, and likewise they are breathing yours. A lack of compliance with physical distancing only increases the chance that more people will get sick and lengthens the time before we get the economy moving again."
Updated at 7 p.m. March 29
On March 29, Dallas County reported 49 additional positive cases COVID-19 cases, bringing the total case count to 488. The 10th death was a woman in her 80s at a Dallas senior community.
Dallas County officials are shifting their safety guidelines for long-term care facilities as clusters of COVID-19 cases are appearing in area nursing homes.
Two Dallas senior communities are reporting a total of 8 cases, one of which was the 10th death.
The Edgemere retirement community in Dallas is reporting four positive COVID-19 cases. That’s broken down to one employee and three residents, one of which the 10th death.
Additionally, Skyline Nursing Center in Dallas has four positive cases, with two test pending, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said at a March 29 news conference.
Jenkins said this is particularly concerning given the higher mortality rate of COVID-19 for those over 60 years old.
“I want every family to really question: Could they take care of a person and maybe try to get them home?” Jenkins said.
The full story is available 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/