Latest in Plano: Collin County reports seven new cases as Dallas County orders residents to shelter in place

The city of Plano has unveiled a new webpage with resources to aid residents during the coronavirus closures. (Kelley Crimmins/Community Impact Newspaper)
The city of Plano has unveiled a new webpage with resources to aid residents during the coronavirus closures. (Kelley Crimmins/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Plano has unveiled a new webpage with resources to aid residents during the coronavirus closures. (Kelley Crimmins/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated at 7:30 p.m. March 22

Collin County health authorities reported seven new cases of coronavirus, including one person with an underlying health condition.

Here is the breakdown of those cases, according to county health officials:

  • A 56-year-old McKinney woman with no reported travel and no underlying medical conditions is isolating at home;

  • A 45-year-old Plano man with no reported travel and an underlying health condition is isolating at home;

  • A 51-year-old Allen man with no underlying health conditions who had close contact with a confirmed case is isolating at home;

  • A 7-year-old Allen girl who recently traveled within the U.S. has no underlying health conditions and is isolating at home;

  • A 50-year-old Plano woman with no underlying health conditions is isolating at home after having close contact with someone confirmed to have the virus;

  • A 47-year-old McKinney man who recently traveled within the U.S. is isolating at home with no underlying health conditions; and,

  • A different 47-year-old McKinney man who recently traveled within the U.S. is isolating at home with no underlying health conditions.

Also on March 22, Dallas County ordered its residents 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. "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.

Essential functions include healthcare work; essential critical infrastructure work; and operations that support residences and other businesses. Providing essential retail services and providing aid to lower income communities are also allowed, according to the order.

Jenkins' order applies only to people living in Dallas County. He said he is hoping his decision will influence some of the surrounding counties.

"There’s 2.7 million people in Dallas County, but there’s 7.6 million people in the metroplex,” Jenkins said. “This is going to spread across the state, and a month from now, ... nobody is going to be saying ‘Thank god I was able to go to work for one extra two weeks.’"

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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 2:30 p.m. March 22

The city of Plano has launched a webpage with resources for residents during the ongoing coronavirus closures.

The page includes information on grocery store hours, government services, food banks and the COVID-19 virus itself.

No new confirmed cases had been reported in Collin County since late Saturday, when the total number of positive tests reached 31.

The number of positive tests were expected to rise in the coming days and weeks as testing is made more widely available to Collin County residents, Plano Fire-Rescue's medical director told City Council members March 17.

At least nine Plano residents had tested positive for the new virus.

Updated 8:30 p.m. March 21

Public health officials in Collin County reported four new confirmed cases of coronavirus, including two Plano residents.

The four new cases in Collin County bring its total to 31, though seven have completed their isolation periods, health officials said. None of the four new cases in Collin County have underlying health conditions. Here is the breakdown of those cases, according to county health officials:

  • A 61-year-old Frisco man with no reported travel;

  • A 56-year-old Plano woman who traveled within the U.S.;

  • A 38-year-old Plano man who traveled outside the U.S.; and,

  • A 45-year-old Wylie woman who reported no recent travel.

Denton County, meanwhile, announced nine additional coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the county as of March 21. Denton County currently has a total of 24 cases, with eight of those resulting from local transmission, according to officials. County officials did not provide any other details on its patients.

Updated at 9 a.m. March 21

As of early Saturday morning, no new positive coronavirus tests had been reported in Collin County since nine new cases were confirmed the previous day.

The number of total confirmed cases in the county remained at 27, while the number of people under monitoring for the virus dropped from 79 to 73.

The county was expected to continue updating the number of cases throughout the weekend.

Updated at 8:05 p.m. March 20

Collin County reported nine new cases of the novel coronavirus on the evening of March 20, bringing the county’s total number of confirmed cases to 27. Among the new cases, three are from Plano, two are from McKinney and one each from Dallas, Frisco, Richardson and Wylie, according to the county’s website.

Two cases involved people who traveled outside the country, and three involved people who reported traveling within the U.S. The other four cases involved people with no recent travel history.

Five are men, and four are women. Their ages range from 20 to 73. All are either self-quarantined or isolating at home. Only two of the nine have underlying health conditions.

Here is the breakdown, according to county health officials:

  • A 67-year-old Plano man who traveled outside the country, has no underlying health conditions and is isolating at home;

  • A 56-year-old Wylie woman who is self-isolating at home, has no underlying health conditions and recently traveled within the U.S.;

  • A 51-year-old McKinney man with no underlying health conditions who is currently self-quarantined. His cased is not travel related;

  • A second 51-year-old McKinney man who has no reported travel, no underlying health conditions and is isolated at home;

  • A 48-year-old Plano man with no reported travel, no underlying health conditions and under self-quarantine at home;

  • A 67-year-old Plano woman who recently traveled within the U.S., who is isolating at home and has no underlying health conditions;

  • A 73-year-old Dallas man who traveled within the U.S., is self-isolating at home and has no underlying health conditions;

  • A 49-year-old Richardson woman who traveled out of the country recently, is isolating at home and has an underlying health condition; and

  • A 20-year-old Frisco woman with underlying health conditions who is isolating at home and has no reported travel.

Updated: 5:40 p.m. March 20

Qualifying small businesses statewide are now eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration, according to a March 20 announcement by Gov. Greg Abbott. For more information on how to apply, visit

Updated: 4:30 p.m. March 20

All non-essential court proceedings in Collin County have been postponed until May 8, according to an update posted March 20 on the county’s website.

The postponed proceedings are meant “to protect the community and limit exposure to COVID-19,” according to the order issued by the county’s five Justice of the Peace courts. Similar orders are in place for the district courts as well as the county courts at law.

Proceedings deemed essential by the courts will continue as planned. Specifics are available on the county’s website.

Updated: 6:10 p.m. March 19

Five additional Collin County residents have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The cases bring the total number to 18 confirmed cases in Collin County, the county health department reported March 19.

The new cases spanned from Richardson to Melissa, affecting residents in their 30s, 40s and 50s. In at least three cases, the patient had not recently traveled prior to contracting the virus. One Collin County resident tested positive while traveling out-of-state.

There were 74 county residents under monitoring as of Thursday evening.

As a precaution against further spread of the virus, the district clerk’s office suspended all walk-in services. These suspended services included the office’s civil, family, criminal and jury departments.

Updated: 5:10 p.m. March 19

Collin College has closed its facilities, including libraries and computer, math and writing labs until April 5, according to a March 19 press release.

Classes will still begin online March 23 and the college will be in contact with students who are not able to take courses online.

This change is in compliance with Gov. Greg Abbott’s disaster declaration, the release said.

Updated 1:18 p.m. March 19

During a news conference at the state Capitol on March 19, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced an executive order that will limit social gatherings to no more than 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.

The executive order is effective midnight March 20 through midnight April 3, Abbott said.

The city of Plano and Plano ISD had already made similar restrictions at the local level earlier this week.

Abbott said the order reflected federal guidance and was necessary to "strangle" the expansion of the coronavirus at the state level.

Click here to read more from the Texas Tribune.

Updated: 8 p.m. March 18

Plano ISD will resume classes remotely on March 23, informing parents of its plans for remote learning during the ongoing precautionary school closures.

Core content classes will be the first to resume district-wide, including math, English, reading, science and social studies.

Teachers will contact parents in the coming days to go over the plan for remote instruction.

The district is continuing to survey parents to determine their technology needs. Chromebooks are expected to be provided to families that would use them.

“Please know we have enough devices for every student in the district so there is no need to purchase a device,” the district said in its communication to parents.

The district also created a website with more details on at-home learning.

Updated 6:30 p.m. March 18

Collin County health officials have now identified 13 cases of coronavirus in the county

In addition to the 10 other cases previously reported, a 38-year-old man from Plano, 54-year-old man from Anna and a 39-year-old man from McKinney have tested positive. None of these individuals have underlying medical conditions, and all are self-isolating at their homes

According to the county, these additional cases are unrelated to each other.

Updated: 5:20 p.m. March 18

Plano ISD's ongoing school closures have been extended until April 3, the district said.

The district will re-evaluate the length of the closure during the week of March 30, according to a district statement.

Details of a long-term plan for instruction are being discussed and will be rolled out to parents and staff.

PISD buildings will remain closed to the public.

Updated: 3:40 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.

Updated: 1 p.m. March 18

Collin County health authorities have been notified that a 64-year-old Plano man diagnosed with coronavirus died March 17 in a local hospital. The patient had an underlying health condition, according to the county.

The case was not confirmed until after the man's death. His case was not among the nine coronavirus cases previously reported by the county.

County officials have not been able to confirm the cause of the man's death. Due to the nature of how his case was reported, it is unclear whether he came in contact with the virus locally or through travel, according to the county.

Updated: 11:30 a.m. March 18

Local 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 city of Plano has no scheduled municipal or school board elections for May 2.

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: 10:00 a.m. March 18

A third positive novel coronavirus case has been confirmed in Plano by the Collin County Health Department.

The case is a 32-year-old woman, who is self-quarantined in her own home and has no underlying health conditions, according to public health officials.

This is Collin County’s ninth confirmed positive case.

Updated: 9:30 a.m. March 18; 4:00 p.m. March 18

Collin College will move the majority of classes online beginning March 23.

This may continue until the end of the semester, a release from the college March 18 said, but has not been determined at this time.

Classes that are not able to move online are discussing other ways of learning and many are already moving forward, the release said

Collin College libraries and computer, math and writing labs will remain open at this time.

Employees will be guaranteed normal pay during the crisis, including full and part-time faculty and student employees.

The college has also decided to postpone its May 15 graduation until late August.

Each of these decisions were approved at a special trustee meeting March 17, as well as approval of temporary authority for its president to implement measures as needed for the health, safety and well-being of its college students and employees at an emergency meeting March 17.

This authority will allow for actions not included in the college’s emergency plan, District President Neil Matkin said.

Updated: 6:45 p.m. March 17

Plano Fire-Rescue's medical director told council members to expect the number of confirmed Plano cases of the new coronavirus to jump in coming days as more private labs enable testing.

Residents should continue to distance themselves from crowds, work from home and treat even small social gatherings with caution, Dr. Mark Gamber told Plano City Council at their March 17 meeting.

“It’s already here," Gamber said. "We just don’t have the ability to test for it right now.”

Two Plano residents have tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to Collin County.

Updated: 12:15 p.m. March 17

Collin County is canceling all nonessential county board and commission meetings through March 31, according to a March 14 statement.

Boards and commissions have also been instructed to use digital communication for any critical issues during that time, the statement said.

Commissioners Court will continue to meet during this time.

Updated: 11 a.m. March 17

A mobile food pantry will take place from 3-5 p.m. March 20 at the Plano ISD Williams High School parking lot, hosted by the North Texas Food Bank.

Families will be able to drive through and receive food, according to the district's health page. This change from a normal model, where people walk up to the truck to get their food, to a drive-thru model, where guests stay in their cars and are brought food, helps limit contact, the food pantry said.

The food bank is including additional sanitization kits with its mobile food drives, according to a member of its media team.

If the event is rescheduled or canceled, the district will let the public know through its social media channels, the food bank said.

Updated: 3 p.m. March 16

Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 16 that the requirements for the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR testing, 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. Plano ISD has extended its spring break 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.”

Plano ISD is one 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 on 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.

Plano ISD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Updated: 12:30 p.m. March 16

The city of Plano plans to shut down its libraries and recreation centers and cancel sports leagues and nonessential city commission and board meetings, as it has declared the new coronavirus a public health emergency.

The facility closures are expected to go into effect 5 p.m. March 16 and last through March 27, the city said in a news release. The “extraordinary changes” were intended to help contain the spread of the virus, the city said.

“This is an important declaration for a serious and changing situation,” Plano City Manager Mark Israelson said in the release. “Plano, our neighboring cities and Collin County all recognize the importance of prudent and proactive actions at this time. We need all citizens and businesses to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

As part of the measures, the city has activated its emergency operations center.

City staff are expected to brief Plano City Council members on coronavirus at their March 16 meeting. In its statement, the city encouraged residents to follow council meetings on the city’s website and to submit public comments electronically to the city secretary’s email address, [email protected].

Plano City Council and Plano Planning & Zoning Commission are still expected to meet, as are all other groups with meetings required by law.

The Plano announcement coincided with a formal disaster declaration issued by Collin County Judge Chris Hill.

“This declaration ensures that we are able to access and share strategic resources and supplies as they become available,” Hill said.

Eight total cases of the new virus have been confirmed in Collin County as of this posting.

For Collin County coverage prior to March 16, visit our previous updates page.

Correction: A previous version of this article misnamed a Plano ISD school.

Daniel Houston