Latest in Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake: Gov. Abbott postpones primary election runoffs

In March Tarrant County residents voted in the primary election. The runoffs for the primary election have been postponed by Governor Greg Abbott. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
In March Tarrant County residents voted in the primary election. The runoffs for the primary election have been postponed by Governor Greg Abbott. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)

In March Tarrant County residents voted in the primary election. The runoffs for the primary election have been postponed by Governor Greg Abbott. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Keep track of the most recent news on Grapevine's, Colleyville's and Southlake's responses to the new coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
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Keep track of the most recent news on Grapevine's, Colleyville's and Southlake's responses to the new coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
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A Tarrant County resident has died from a confirmed case of the coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
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Colleyville has closed all city offices and will conduct business online and over the phone in efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
Editor's note: A new blog has been created for the week of March 23. Visit this link for the latest updates.

Updated 9:15 p.m. March 23

Texas runoff primary elections have been postponed until July 14. The primary was originally scheduled for May 26. Gov. Greg Abbott ordered March 20 that the runoff be moved as part of state efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Among the races on the runoff ballot is the one between MJ Hegar and Royce West, who are vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in the November general election.

Updated 8:15 p.m. March 22

The Tarrant County Commissioners Court voted to approve Judge Glen Whitley’s March 21 disaster declaration but did not go as far as issuing a stay-at-home order.

The court's March 22 vote comes during an emergency meeting as Dallas County residents were ordered to shelter in their place of residence from 11:59 p.m. March 23-April 3 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also took multiple measures March 22 designed to expand hospital staffing and capacity in the state but declined to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order, even as calls for such an action increased as the new coronavirus continued to spread across the state.

"What ... may be right for places like the large urban areas may not be right at this particular point of time for the more than 200 counties that have zero cases of COVID-19,” Abbott said in a March 22 Texas Tribune report.

As of 11:15 a.m. March 22, Tarrant County reported 47 cases of coronavirus, including one in Grapevine, two in Colleyville and three in Southlake.

Click here for the story on Dallas County's new order.

At the state level, Texas' runoff primary election has been postponed until July 14. The primary was originally scheduled for May 26. Gov. Greg Abbott ordered March 20 that the runoff be moved as part of the state's efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Among the races on the runoff ballot is the one between MJ Hegar and Royce West. who are vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Updated 7:15 p.m. March 21

At 6 p.m. March 21 a second amended disaster declaration signed by Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley due to the novel coronavirus went into effect. This amended declaration restricts in-person worship services and closes malls and other non-essential retail establishments, such as barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, spas and massage parlors. Grocery stores, pharmacies and other establishments that sell household goods are deemed essential and will remain open.

Updated 5:30 p.m., March 20

Tarrant County Public Health reported March 20 that there have been 10 more cases that tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The total number of positive cases in Tarrant County has been brought to 29. Four of these positive cases were in Arlington, one was in Euless, two were in Fort Worth and one was in Keller. The county health department also reported March 20 that two previously reported cases have recovered from the virus. A breakdown by city, cases, death and recovered positive cases is available at this site. This page will be updated daily.

Updated 9:15 a.m., March 20

As of March 19, the Tarrant County Public Health Department has reported a total of 19 coronavirus cases, 18 active, in Tarrant County. The city of Fort Worth has five active cases. The city of Southlake has two active cases, and the city of Colleyville has one active case. There are currently no reported cases in the cities of Keller and Roanoke.

There have been no cases reported in Grapevine at this time.

Trinity Metro is adjusting its ride schedules for the TEXRail commuter rail trains. Beginning Monday, March 23, the trains will shift to an hourly service seven days a week. To limit the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus will offer free rides over two weeks starting March 23 for bus routes, its door-to-door transportation service called ACCESS and TEXRail.

Updated 1:30 p.m. March 19

During a March 19 news conference at the Texas State Capitol, Abbott announced an executive order that will limit social gatherings to 10 people, prohibit eating and drinking at restaurants and bars while still allowing takeout, close gyms, ban people from visiting nursing homes except for critical care and temporarily close schools. Carroll ISD and Grapevine-Colleyville ISD have announced both districts will be closed through April 3.

On March 18, Abbott issued another waiver to help ease the financial hardship caused by coronavirus. Restaurants with a mixed beverage permit may now sell alcohol for delivery as long as food is ordered for delivery, according to the release.

Updated 3:45 p.m. March 18

A meal finder app will become available to parents March 20, according to an announcement from Gov. Greg Abbott.

The app, called the Texas Students MealFinder Map, will include the address of facilities serving meals in their communities as well as days and times meals will be served.

The Texas Education Agency is asking local education agencies and schools to complete an application to be included in the map.

This announcement came just before Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley announced in a March 18 news conference that all restaurants need to limit their services to curbside and drive-thru and shut down their dining rooms. In addition, event spaces and gathering centers will be limited to 50% occupancy or no more than 125 people, whichever is less, Whitley said.

If county residents are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, they can call the county hotline at 817-248-6299 to receive the latest information and how to be taken care of, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said during the conference.

Updated 2:55 p.m. March 18

Two more cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Tarrant County. One of the patients had traveled out of state. The travel history of the other case is still pending, Tarrant County Public Health said in a news release.

“Both of these cases have been isolated at home after developing symptoms,” said Vinny Taneja, Tarrant County Public Health director, in a statement.

Updated: 11:50 a.m. March 18

Elections are encouraged to be suspended until Nov. 3 in Texas according to a proclamation by Gov. Greg Abbott March 18.

"Right now, the state's focus is responding to COVID-19 — including social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. By delaying this election, our local election officials can assist in that effort,” Abbott said.

The governor has suspended multiple Texas codes, allowing for political subdivisions to delay their elections.

An election advisory with guidance for postponing elections has also been released by Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs.

Updated 9 p.m. March 17

Tarrant County Public Health confirmed March 17 that a senior adult who died March 15 has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The person was a resident of the Texas Masonic Retirement Center in Arlington, the health department said in a statement. The county is investigating the possible source of the infection and determining who the patient may have come into contact with, the release said.

Officials are calling this the first COVID-19 death recorded in Tarrant County, according to the release.

Earlier that night, the city of Grapevine declared a local state of disaster during its March 17 council meeting.

Updated 11:30 a.m. March 17

A sixth person has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Tarrant County. A Grand Prairie resident contracted the virus in Tarrant County with no known exposure to a confirmed case and no recent travel history, a March 17 Tarrant County Public Health release said.

This is the first case of presumed local transmission in the county. The patient was isolated at home after developing symptoms, the release said.

In efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, measures are being taken across the state’s education system.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 16 that the requirements for the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness have been waived for the 2019-20 academic year.

This decision is in response to large absences or schools closing as they take steps to slow the spread of coronavirus, the announcement said. Both Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and Carroll ISD had extended their spring breaks by one week and will reassess opening campuses before March 23.

“Your health and safety are top priorities, and the state of Texas will give school districts flexibility to protect and ensure the health of students, faculty and their families,” Abbott said in the announcement. “We will empower schools to make the best decisions to protect their communities from COVID-19.”

Grapevine-Colleyville and Carroll ISDs are two of the more than 50 districts that requested a similar decision in a letter March 14 to Abbott and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

Recent guidance from the Texas Education Agency had included preparing for STAAR testing April 7.

“Given the unique situation with which we are faced, we believe our focus is best placed on keeping students safe and maintaining continuity of instruction, not attempting to implement some alternative form of standardized testing,” the letter from the districts said.

A March 16 follow-up letter to Abbott and Morath from the districts thanked the state's leadership for its decision to waive testing requirements.

In addition to these changes, local city halls are also closing and moving business online. The city of Colleyville closed all city facilities March 16, including the library, and all city business will be conducted online, over the telephone or email.

“Staff will be working throughout the closure within the facilities and is available to assist residents and business owners,” the city said in a news release.

At the time of this writing, Grapevine and Southlake city offices are remaining open. However, for at least the next two weeks, both cities libraries have closed, as well as The Rec of Grapevine and Champions Club.

Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake city events and board meetings will be canceled following the March 17 council meetings.

Published March 16 at 5:22 p.m.

Colleyville officials were notified by Tarrant County health officials that there is a potential case of the coronavirus within the city, according to a Colleyville news release.

The county’s report did not confirm if there has been a positive test result, the release said, but the city has started preparing first responders to act accordingly.

Due to the potential case, the city has closed all city facilities as of March 16. Business continue normally through online services, email and telephone, according to the release.

The city will be following an emergency response plan going forward.

Colleyville Fire and Police departments started preparing for its response to the pandemic in early February, according to the release, and first responders have about six months of equipment to use when responding to calls of potential or positive cases of coronavirus.
By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 covering Tarrant County news, and is now back in Collin County as the editor of the McKinney edition.


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