Latest in Richardson: Dallas County reports 36 additional cases and 1 new death

The city of Richardson is making changes to daily operations in order to stem the deadly outbreak of coronavirus. (Tracy Ruckel/Community Impact Newspaper)
The city of Richardson is making changes to daily operations in order to stem the deadly outbreak of coronavirus. (Tracy Ruckel/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Richardson is making changes to daily operations in order to stem the deadly outbreak of coronavirus. (Tracy Ruckel/Community Impact Newspaper)

Editor's note: A new blog has been created for the week of March 23. Read those updates here.

Updated at 3:01 p.m. March 22

Dallas County is reporting 36 additional cases of coronavirus since yesterday. This brings the countywide total to 131, according to a March 22 press release.

A second death has also been confirmed, the press release stated. The patient was a male in his 80s and a resident of Dallas. He was critically ill in an area hospital at the time of his death, according to the release.

This comes just two days after the county reported the death of a Richardson man in his 60s, who was found deceased in his home March 20.

More information about confirmed cases in Dallas County can be found here.

Updated at 5:48 p.m. March 21

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced a new set of restrictions meant to slow the spread of coronavirus. The amended order, effective at midnight, also extends limitations on social and community gatherings that went into effect March 18.

Massage parlors, barber shops, hair and nail salons, tattoo and piercing shops, and spas are now among the types of businesses that must close, Jenkins said during a press conference. Additionally, all medical, dental and surgical facilities must postpone or cancel elective procedures, according to the amended order.

The county is also implementing new limitations on the sale of toilet paper, Jenkins said. Effective at midnight, shoppers may purchase no more than 12 rolls per visit; however, larger packs may be purchased in the off-chance they are available, Jenkins said.

These new restrictions are needed because "some of us have not moved from selfishness to sacrifice," Jenkins said.

"There is not a supply chain problem with the toilet paper," he said during the conference. "Shoppers are the problem."

The county is also ordering the suspension of outdoor activities that require people to be in close proximity to each other, Jenkins said. He referenced pickup basketball games as an example. Officers have been instructed to monitor outdoor areas and ticket those who are not observing social distancing, he said.

"We could be headed to toward [shelter in place] if we don't flatten curve soon," he said.

The amended order is in place until April 3, Jenkins said.

Updated at 9:57 a.m. March 21

Drive-thru testing for the novel coronavirus will begin in Dallas County on Saturday, March 21, according to social media posts from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

People must have symptoms, must have a doctor recommendation and must be either over age 65, a DART bus driver, a first responder or a health care worker, according to Jenkins.

Saturday’s testing will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Plaza in Dallas. Sunday’s testing will start at 8 a.m. at Ellis Davis Field House, 9191 S. Polk St. in Dallas.

People do not have to be a resident of Dallas County to be tested, Jenkins said, but they must meet the criteria set out by the county.

People with questions should call 2-1-1 for more information.

Updated at 8:50 p.m. March 20

A 49-year-old Richardson woman was among nine new cases of the novel coronavirus confirmed by Collin County on the evening of March 20, bringing the county’s total number of confirmed cases to 27. Three others are from Plano, two are from McKinney, and one each comes from Dallas, Frisco 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 4:49 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 4:49 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 3:55 p.m. March 20

The city of Richardson announced today the closings of Bush Central Barkway and Ann Eisemann Inclusive Playground, effective at midnight. The community has also been advised not to use any playground or park fixture at any Richardson park, a press release stated. Parks and trails are still open, but residents who go outside should keep a safe distance from others, according to the release.

Updated 11:45 a.m. March 20

Dallas County officials have confirmed 19 new cases of the coronavirus, bring the total tally to 74. That count was up-to-date as of 10 a.m. March 20.

The county continues to report new confirmed cases daily and will provide more detailed summaries on Tuesday and Thursdays, according to a news release.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in the release that those who choose to go outside should remain a minimum of 6 feet away from other individuals.

Updated 10:45 a.m. March 20

Out of 18 confirmed coronavirus cases in Collin County, four people have successfully recovered, two are hospitalized, 11 are self-isolating in their homes, and one has died, according to county health officials.

At this time, 79 people are under monitoring in the county.

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 6:05 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 1:33 p.m. March 19

During a news conference at the state Capitol, Gov. Greg 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. The executive order is effective midnight March 20 through midnight April 3, Abbott said. Read full story by The Texas Tribune here.

Updated 1:30 p.m. March 19

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a waiver March 18 to allow restaurant patrons ordering food by delivery to also order beer, wine and mixed drinks. This is meant to ease the financial hardship caused by coronavirus, according to a release from the state. The action went into effect immediately.

Updated 11:50 a.m. March 19

Dallas County is reporting 20 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the countywide total to 55 as of March 19.

One of those cases includes a Richardson man in his 60s, who was found deceased in his home. He did not have a high-risk health condition, according to the county.

The 20 new cases include six men and two women in their 30s, two men and two women in their 50s, two men and three women in their 60s, one woman in her 70s and one woman in her 90s. The majority of the new patients had no recent travel history, and three have been in close contact with another coronavirus patient.

Three people are hospitalized, including one in critical care. The remainder are self-isolating at home.

“Things will get worse before they get better," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said. "How bad this gets is directly tied to how well each of you follow the CDC guidelines and exercise smart personal responsibility."

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 6:29 p.m. March 18

The city of Richardson announced March 18 sweeping regulations to help contain and mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

A disaster declaration in place for the next seven days restricts community gatherings to no more than 50 people and social gatherings to no more than 10 people, according to a statement from the city.

In addition, effective as of midnight March 18, all bars must close, and restaurants must shift to providing takeout, drive-thru or delivery only, the order says. This measure had already been put in place by Dallas County but has not yet been instituted by Collin County. By issuing a blanket declaration, all Richardson citizens must follow these rules, regardless of which county they reside in.

“We will continue to work with local, state and federal officials to monitor the progression of infection here and in our region and will continuously re-evaluate these measures so they can be lifted as soon as it is safe to do so,” Mayor Paul Voelker said in a statement.

The mayor said he is working closely with the Richardson Chamber of Commerce to identify ways to help the local business community, which is being "dramatically impacted by the threat from the spread of this disease," he said.

Earlier today, Dallas County confirmed 11
new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of countywide cases to 35. One of those cases was the first to be confirmed in Richardson.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the community, and I urge the people of Richardson, especially those considered to be at higher risk, to continue to maintain a heightened sense of awareness to social distancing and personal hygiene as we work together to reduce our community’s risk," Voelker said.

Citizens can visit for a copy of the mayor's signed declaration.

Updated 5:22 p.m. March 18

Dallas County is reducing the number of people allowed at gatherings from the previous restrictions issued March 12, according to an updated order from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

As of midnight March 18, the county will no longer allow community gatherings of more than 50 people and social gatherings of more than 10 people. These restrictions are in place until 11 a.m. March 20.

A community gathering is defined as any indoor or outdoor event at locations including auditoriums, theaters, stadiums, arenas, event centers, meeting halls, conference centers or large cafeterias. They also include, but are not limited to, weddings, religious ceremonies and funerals.

A social gathering is defined by the county as any activity that is recreational in nature. These could include parties, backyard barbecues, social events and sporting events.

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 3:44 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 educations agencies and schools to complete an application to be included in the map.

Updated 3:30 p.m. March 18

At an emergency meeting March 17, Richardson ISD board of trustees voted unanimously to continue staff compensation and student meals during coronavirus-related school closures. Meals will be available to children starting March 23. Online classes begin March 25.

Updated 1:02 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 illness 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 11:38 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 11 a.m. March 18

A Richardson resident is among 11 new patients with confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Dallas County, according to a March 18 press release. This is the city's first confirmed case of the disease.

The 11 patients include one individual in their teens, one female in her 20s, one male and one female in their 30s, one male in his 40s, three males and two females in their 50s and one male in his 70s. Three patients have been hospitalized, and one is in critical condition. The remaining eight people are self-isolating at home.

Five of the patients have not traveled recently and are therefore indicative of in-community transmission, the county said.

These new patients bring the countywide total number of confirmed cases to 35, according to the county's website.

Updated 9:30 a.m. March 18

Collin College approved 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 like continuing pay for staff and student workers during leave and other actions not included in the college’s emergency plan, District President Neil Matkin said.

“This is really a circumstance of ... 'What if something hits that isn’t covered by our policy?'” Matkin said.

The action was passed unanimously by Collin College board members.

Updated 8:56 a.m. March 18

County health officials confirmed a ninth case of coronavirus in Collin County on March 18. The ninth case is a 32-year-old Plano woman, who is self-quarantined in her own home and has no underlying health conditions, according to public health officials.

Updated March 17, 3:27 p.m.

New Dallas County regulations require all restaurants to only offer delivery, takeout or drive-thru services.

Additionally, all bars, lounges, taverns, arcades and private clubs must close. The county also urges individuals not to attend any nonessential gatherings of 50 people or more.

Individuals are advised to remain at least 6 feet from one another at transit facilities, airports, office spaces, residential buildings, grocery stores, shopping malls and other large-gathering facilities.

The order will remain in effect until 11 a.m. March 20. It comes as part of a March 16 announcement from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Updated March 17, 12:15 p.m.

Collin County is canceling all 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 March 16, 6:14 p.m.

Richardson ISD will close schools indefinitely in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a March 16 announcement from the district.

Following return from spring break on March 25, RISD will move to an online format. Lessons will be made available on district's website, the announcement said. Students in grades three through eight will also have access through school-issued devices.

RISD's leadership team continues to discuss how best to serve students during this time, according to its website. It should have information on a plan to provide meals for food-insecure students later this week, the announcement said.

The governor announced this morning that statewide standardized testing set to take place in the spring has been suspended. Superintendent Jeannie Stone applauded this decision in a statement to Community Impact Newspaper.

"In this time of uncertainty, educators, parents and school districts will not have to make decisions related to the health of stakeholders and our communities while factoring in state testing schedules and preparedness," she said.

So far, no RISD staff or students are among those infected by the coronavirus, according to the district.

Updated March 16, 2:39 p.m.

The city of Richardson has announced that it is postponing, modifying or canceling various municipal events until April 30.

Programs and events hosted at the Richardson Civic Center, the public library, the senior center, recreation centers and the Eisemann Center have been canceled. While programs have been put on pause, some facilities will remain open to the public. For information on the status of municipal buildings, visit this link.

The city has activated its emergency plans to maintain staffing levels and provide essential services, a March 13 press release stated. It has put into place operational safeguards intended to protect public safety officers from the coronavirus, the release stated. It also continues to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information on Richardson’s response to the coronavirus, visit this link.

Fifteen total cases of the virus have been confirmed in Dallas County as of this posting. Collin County is reporting eight confirmed cases. None of these residents live in Richardson, according to the counties.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.