Latest on coronavirus: Updates for Keller, Roanoke and northeast Fort Worth

The coronavirus continues to spread through Tarrant County and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, as cities and counties tighten restrictions and school districts seek alternatives to continue educating students. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The coronavirus continues to spread through Tarrant County and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, as cities and counties tighten restrictions and school districts seek alternatives to continue educating students. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The coronavirus continues to spread through Tarrant County and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, as cities and counties tighten restrictions and school districts seek alternatives to continue educating students. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

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The coronavirus continues to spread through Tarrant County and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, as cities and counties tighten restrictions and school districts seek alternatives to continue educating students. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Image description
The coronavirus continues to spread through Tarrant County and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, as cities and counties tighten restrictions and school districts seek alternatives to continue educating students. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Image description
The coronavirus continues to spread through Tarrant County and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, as cities and counties tighten restrictions and school districts seek alternatives to continue educating students. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Image description
The coronavirus continues to spread through Tarrant County and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, as cities and counties tighten restrictions and school districts seek alternatives to continue educating students. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Image description
The coronavirus continues to spread through Tarrant County and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, as cities and counties tighten restrictions and school districts seek alternatives to continue educating students. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Editor's note: This is an evolving story. For updates after March 28 click here.

Updated 4:10 p.m. March 28

Denton County Public Health announced that another Denton County resident has died due to COVID-19, bringing the number of deaths in the county related to the novel coronavirus to two.

The resident was a male in his 60s who lived in Aubrey, according to officials.

“We are saddened to report a second COVID-19 death within our county,” Denton County Judge Andy Eads said in a statement. “To his family, we continue to send our thoughts and prayers to you as you navigate through this difficult time.”


An additional 11 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, bringing the countywide total to 148. Among that total, two are from Roanoke.

Twenty-eight of the Denton County residents who were diagnosed with COVID-19 have since recovered, according to officials.

Updated 6:00 p.m. March 27

Officials with Northwest ISD and Keller ISD announced that an emergency school closure currently underway will extend through April 17.

"Keller ISD facilities will be closed through April 17 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Online learning and the Drive Through Meal program will continue," according to a district news release.

NISD consulted officials from three counties and public health experts before making the decision, according to the district.


Updated 5:04 p.m March 27

Denton County Public Health officials announced an additional 54 cases of novel coronavirus in the county.

The total number of confirmed cases is currently 137, including one death and 23 recovered. There are a total of 47 confirmed cases in the city of Denton, 11 in Lewisville, seven in Flower Mound, two in Roanoke and one in Highland Village.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced additional steps Friday to protect staff and residents at the Denton State Supported Living Center after multiple confirmed cases at the facility.

Additional testing of individuals who may have been exposed is expected, according to officials.

“There is no higher priority than protecting the health and safety of residents, staff and the local community in Denton and everywhere we have state supported living centers,” Health and Human Services Associate Commissioner for State Supported Living Centers Scott Schalchlin said. “We are working side-by-side with local and state health departments and area hospitals to ensure all medical needs are met while preserving hospital capacity in the community and region.”

Updated 12:46 p.m. March 27

The latest numbers from Tarrant County Public Health officials show a total of 114 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the county, with 110 active.

The city of Fort Worth confirmed eight additional cases in the past 24 hours and has 41 total confirmed cases. The cities of Keller, Colleyville and Grapevine each have five confirmed cases, and Southlake has four confirmed cases, including one patient who recovered.


Denton County Commissioners Court voted on a revised disaster declaration due to the COVID-19 outbreak at an emergency meeting March 27.

The renewed declaration will last through March 31. Commissioners have another meeting scheduled that day to consider whether to extend the declaration further.

At a special City Council meeting March 26, council members and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price unanimously approved an extension to the city's Stay at Home, Work Safe order.

The extension lasts through April 7 to coincide with an order made by Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley earlier in the week. The order still restricts individuals to remain at home unless conducting essential activities and to maintain social distancing spaces of 6 feet or more.


Updated 4:56 p.m. March 26

The official numbers from Tarrant County Public Health have confirmed that there are 100 total cases of coronavirus in the county, with 96 active.

There has been one death due to coronavirus reported in the county so far and three cases, including one in Southlake, in which the patient recovered.

The city of Fort Worth has a total of 33 confirmed cases, Keller has five confirmed cases, Colleyville has five confirmed cases, Grapevine has four confirmed cases, and Southlake has four confirmed cases.

Updated 3:20 p.m. March 26

Denton County Judge Andy Eads announced March 26 that a Lewisville man in his 40s has died from complications due to the coronavirus, marking the first death in the county resulting from the pandemic.

Eads urged residents to stay at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

“I am heart-sickened by the news I have to share with you today,” Eads said. “As your county judge, I cannot stress enough the gravity of the situation we face in Denton County. The situation we face will get worse before it gets better. How much worse depends solely on the actions we take going forward. Your carelessness or cavalier attitude can and will result in someone else’s death. Stay home. Wash your hands.”

There are a total of 83 cases in the county as of March 26, Eads said.


The county’s stay-at-home order went into effect March 25. It requires residents to stay at home except to perform specific essential activities and work to provide essential business and government services or to perform essential public infrastructure construction, including housing.

Updated 5:35 p.m. March 25

Denton County Public Health announced March 25 that 19 new cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed, bringing the number of local cases to 70.

The city of Roanoke March 24 extended Mayor Scooter Gierisch's local state of disaster declaration to coincide with Denton County's current order, which lasts through April 3.

The declaration allows the city
to take necessary action to "promote health and suppress the virus, including, but not limited to, the quarantine of persons and occupied structures, examining and regulating hospitals, regulating ingress and egress from the City [and] regulating ingress and egress to occupied structures."

The city announced March 24 that, effective immediately, all city buildings, including City Hall, the Roanoke Police Department and municipal court, are closed to walk-ins.

In Tarrant County, official March 25 numbers put the total number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus at 90 in the county, with 86 active. The total number of confirmed cases increased to 31 in the city of Fort Worth and five in Keller.

Updated 7:15 p.m. March 24

Keller City Council in a special meeting March 24 voted to postpone May elections until Nov. 3, a move recommended by Gov. Greg Abbott earlier in the month.

"Due to public health concerns, the possibility of early voting in April is no longer possible," Mayor Pat McGrail said. "We will postpone the election until November ... unless the governor comes up with an earlier date."

City of Keller Fire Chief David Jones provided a city and county update on the spread of the coronavirus after Tarrant County officials issued a stay-at-home order earlier in the day. The city currently has four confirmed cases of coronavirus, Jones said.

"We expect the number of positive cases to go up because of the amount of testing that is being done," Jones said.

As of March 24, Tarrant County Public Health reported a total of 71 confirmed cases, with 67 active. The city of Fort Worth has 24 confirmed cases; Southlake has four confirmed cases, one recovered; Colleyville has three confirmed cases; and North Richland Hills, Euless and Grapevine each have two confirmed cases.

Updated 2:04 p.m. March 24

Denton County residents are ordered to stay at home as of 11:59 p.m. March 25 in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The order will be in effect for seven days unless it is extended by the Denton County Commissioners Court. Under the order, residents are mandated to stay at home except to perform specific essential activities and work to provide essential business and government services or to perform essential public infrastructure construction, including housing.

Denton County Judge Andy Eads said it is incumbent on residents to stay at home to help save lives.

“We cannot ask our businesses to bear the brunt of these actions and not do our own part,” Eads said at a March 24 press conference. “All social events must stop. Period. That alone will have the greatest impact on our community.”


Eads said residents staying home is essential to ensuring that local hospitals do not become overwhelmed as additional cases of coronavirus emerge.

"Staying home and practicing social distancing when handling essential business could very well save your life or the life of a friend who is susceptible to a severe case of COVID-19," Eads said. "I am imploring and begging Denton County residents to practice social distancing even when grocery shopping and running essential errands."

Eads said the county is going to do everything it can to ensure that residents are aware of the stay-at-home order, which is enforceable by law.

"This is a life and death matter, and we are going to treat it as such," Eads said.

To read the full order, click here.

Updated 10:06 a.m. March 24

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley announced new stay-at-home, work-safe orders for the city and county March 24.

The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. and will run in conjunction with Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide order through April 3, Price said.

All gatherings are now prohibited, and only essential businesses should remain open. According to Price, Tarrant County has 5,300 hospital beds and 85% are full at any given time. Without increased restrictions, the number of hospital patients could climb to 12,000, Price said.

"We're telling businesses, if you can, work from home or work virtually," Price said. "Everyone else should stay at home."

More information on the city of Fort Worth's response to the coronavirus can be found here.

Original

The coronavirus continues to spread through Tarrant County and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, as cities and counties tighten restrictions and school districts seek alternatives to continue educating students.

As of March 23, Tarrant County Public Health reported 57 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the county, with 54 active.

In an emergency meeting March 22, Tarrant County Commissioners Court voted to approve Judge Glen Whitley’s disaster declaration but did not issue a stay-at-home order.

What happened last week: Coronavirus updates from before March 22 can be found at this link.

Keller

The city of Keller reported its second confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus March 23.

Keller city officials announced that City Council will meet via teleconference March 24 to discuss the virus’s impact on the community as well as possible postponement of local elections in May.

City of Keller officials confirmed March 21 that the city will adopt Tarrant County disaster declaration guidelines that include the closing of spas, hair and nail salons, barbershops, event centers, markets and retail stores that do not sell essential goods.

In addition, events that would bring together more than 10 people and in-person worship services are canceled.

Fort Worth

As of March 23, the city of Fort Worth has 18 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price amended the city’s disaster declaration March 21 to further mitigate the spread of the virus.

All in-person worship services are no longer permitted, and nonessential establishments, such as malls, barbershops, hair salons, massage parlors, bars, taverns, lounges, amusement parks, entertainment venues, theaters, clubs, gyms, hotel meeting spaces, outdoor plazas and markets must close.

Roanoke

City of Roanoke Mayor Scooter Gierisch declared a local state of disaster March 19.

The city has since followed state guidelines to reduce gatherings to no more than 10 people and announced March 23 that the city skate park, playgrounds and restrooms are closed.

As of March 22, Denton County officials confirmed an additional six cases of novel coronavirus in the county for a total of 30 confirmed cases. The city of Roanoke has one confirmed case.

Keller ISD

With school districts closed through April 3, Keller ISD is providing around 500 online lessons, along with resources, activities and more virtual learning options, for district families.

The district announced March 22 that more than 5,000 families had submitted requests for 7,000 Chromebooks. The district also has a limited number of Wi-Fi hotspots available upon request. More information can be found here.

Northwest ISD

Northwest ISD has developed its own website where district families can find student learning opportunities designed to help students review and further extend their learning, according to the district. Materials can be accessed with each student’s district account, and activities are based on lessons from the current school year.

In addition, both districts continue to offer meal programs for students Monday through Friday. NISD meal information can be found here. Keller ISD meal information is available here.


At the state level, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott took additional steps March 22 to expand hospital staffing and capacity in the state. He declined to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order.
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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