Latest in Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth: Governor's orders allow retail to-go, close schools for remainder of school year

Here are the coronavirus updates to know this week. (Graphic by Community Impact Newspaper)
Here are the coronavirus updates to know this week. (Graphic by Community Impact Newspaper)

Here are the coronavirus updates to know this week. (Graphic by Community Impact Newspaper)

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The city of Keller continues to provide guidelines to social distancing for residents. (Courtesy city of Keller)
Editor's note: This is an evolving story. New updates will be posted as they become available.

Updated 3:58 p.m. April 17

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a total of three executive orders April 17 that may help begin to reopen the state's economy.


Abbott announced that all Texas retailers will be allowed to offer to-go services as of April 24, and Texas parks can reopen while enforcing social distancing guidelines beginning April 20.

Surgical restrictions will also be lifted as of April 22. This will allow doctors and nurses who have been sidelined due to the need to postpone nonessential medical procedures to return to work.


"We are now beginning to see glimmers that the worst of COVID-19 may soon be behind us," Abbott said during a press conference. "Texas has the second-most recoveries out of all states in America.”


However, Texas schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, Abbott announced.

Teachers will be allowed to visit their classrooms for instructional videos or to clean them out, he said.
Texas Education Agency commissioners will provide more details about how to conclude this semester and conduct graduation ceremonies as well as how to conduct classes this summer.

Updated 5:30 p.m. April 15

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley announced plans April 15 to create a new recovery task force in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The task force will be led by Mike Eastland, executive director of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and Steve Love, CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council. The task force will be comprised of health care professionals, including doctors, Whitley said.

"The last thing in the world we want to do is reignite and have to go through all of this again," he said. "Then we can get with our business community and decide what restrictions will look like. It's going to be a long time before we get back to like it was before the virus."


Denton County Public Health announced that 26 additional cases of coronavirus were confirmed locally, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 547.

So far, 207 residents who were diagnosed with the virus have since recovered, 326 cases remain active and 14 residents have died due to the disease.

Three city of Roanoke residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to public health officials.

Updated 7:57 p.m. April 14

Denton County Public Health announced April 14 that another Denton County resident has died due to COVID-19, bringing the county’s total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 14.

The patient, a man over 80-years-old, was a resident of Denton Rehabilitation Center, according to public health officials.

Officials also announced that 14 additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed locally, raising the total number of Denton County cases to 521.

Overall, 189 residents who were diagnosed with the virus have since recovered and 318 cases remain active.

According to public health officials, three Roanoke residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Denton County Commissioners Court voted April 14 to amend the county’s stay-at-home executive order, which is in effect through April 30, to allow golfers on golf courses under certain guidelines.

Updated 1:56 p.m. April 14

Tarrant County Public Health reported April 14 that four more Tarrant County residents have died from complications due to the novel coronavirus, bringing the county’s total number of deaths to 29.

All four of the deceased patients were from Fort Worth and had underlying health conditions.

A total of 103 Tarrant County patients have recovered from the COVID-19 virus.

“We are saddened by every death that occurs because of the virus,” TCPH Director Vinny Taneja said. “Our best hope to save lives in the future is to persevere. Keep following guidelines, and we will emerge stronger than before.”

During a Commissioners Court meeting April 14, Taneja said the county has a total of 929 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The county has performed more than 6,000 tests, he said.

“The actions our county has taken have really impacted the spread in Tarrant County,” he said. “We have not seen a spike like other counties.”

According to Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, the county is expected to set up additional coronavirus testing sites next week. The county is currently aware of 23 testing sites operating in the county, including urgent and total care facilities, Whitley said.

The city of Fort Worth has confirmed a total of 335 cases of COVID-19, with 12 deaths and 38 patients who have recovered. According to TCPH, there are 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in ZIP code 76244 and four confirmed cases in ZIP code 76177.

The city of Keller has a total of 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with three patients who have recovered.

Original

City and county governments, local businesses, school districts and residents across the Dallas-Fort Worth area continue to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, or coronavirus.

Tarrant County Public Health officials confirmed the 800th case of novel coronavirus in the county April 12. Officials have now deemed the community spread level in Tarrant County to be “substantial.”

TCPH has reported at least 22 new cases in the past 24 hours. Official numbers indicate a total of 25 deaths in the county from COVID-19 and 90 patients who have recovered.

For more information on COVID-19 in Tarrant County, click here.

The city of Fort Worth has a total of 310 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, with 12 deaths and 34 patients who have recovered.

Additionally, city officials have announced a change in service for public transit provider Trinity Metro.

Trinity Metro is currently offering free bus and TEXRail rides for passengers to help enforce social distancing; however, the public transit provider will suspend Molly the Trolley service through at least May 31.

The city of Keller has a total of 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including three patients who have recovered.

City of Keller officials are directing residents to follow Tarrant County social distancing guidelines, which include maintaining 6 feet of distance between individuals and making shopping trips only for essential items.

Beginning Monday, April 13, drive-thru meal pickup for Keller ISD parents and students will shift to a two-days-per-week schedule. Meals for Monday and Tuesday will be distributed every Monday, and meals for Wednesday through Friday will be distributed on Wednesdays.

Parents are asked to remain in their car in the drive-thru. Meals are available to any child in Keller ISD, not just those on free or reduced meal plans. Parents are required to provide a student ID number or badge if a child is not in the vehicle. More information on Keller ISD drive-thru meals is available here.

The Northwest ISD drive-thru meal program also remains in operation. NISD staff is providing remote support through meals, a student help desk and counseling services, according to district officials.

NISD officials have also issued a reminder for parents and students that district buildings and facilities, including playgrounds and sports complexes, are closed through at least the month of April.

More information on the NISD meal program and the district’s coronavirus response is available here.

On April 12, officials with Denton County Public Health confirmed eight new cases of COVID-19 in the county. There are currently 482 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the county, including two in the city of Roanoke.

According to DCPH, patients diagnosed with COVID-19 may experience mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear anywhere from two days to 14 days after exposure.

For more information on COVID-19 in Denton County, click here.

For coronavirus information from April 6-12, click here.
By Ian Pribanic
Ian Pribanic covers city government, transportation, business and education news for Community Impact Newspaper in the Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth areas. A Washington D.C. native and University of North Texas graduate, Ian was previously an editor for papers in Oklahoma, West Texas and for Community Impact in New Braunfels.


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