Latest in Richardson: Dallas County judge announces launch of virtual food drive

Here is the latest information on the coronavirus in Richardson. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Here is the latest information on the coronavirus in Richardson. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Here is the latest information on the coronavirus in Richardson. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic. (Screenshot courtesy FOX 4 News)
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Over the past week, the number of coronavirus patients admitted to intensive care units has surpassed the number of flu patients admitted to Dallas County ICUs during the peak week of the 2019-20 flu season, the county reported. (Community Impact staff)
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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins presented possible coronavirus case trends March 22. (Screenshot courtesy WFAA-TV)
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Hospitals across the nation are experiencing a shortage in personal protective equipment. (Courtesy Fotolia)
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Collin County Judge Chris Hill announced a stay-at-home order March 24 to limit the spread of the coronavirus. (Emily Davis/Community Impact Newspaper)
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There are two drive-thru testing sites open in Dallas County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
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The coronavirus first surfaced in China in late 2019. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Editor's note: A new blog has been created for the week of April 6. Read those updates here.

Updated at 5:19 p.m. April 5

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced during a Sunday afternoon press conference the launch of a virtual food drive to benefit North Texans struggling with food insecurity as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Money donated to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors drive will go toward 25-pound food boxes distributed through the North Texas Food Bank, Jenkins said.

"As you can imagine, there are a lot of people who for the first time in their lives are experiencing hunger," he said.


According to Jenkins, the state has said it is not able to provide additional funding to stock food banks. This comes at a time when demand for North Texas Food Bank services are at an all-time high, he added.

Jenkins said he has asked Gov. Greg Abbott to unlock additional SNAP and WIC benefits approved by Congress last week. Texas is the only state that has not yet done so, he added.

"If we can't get help replenishing our food banks, please at a minimum do what every other state is doing," he said.

Those who wish to donate to the food drive can visit www.dallascountycovid.org. Jenkins urged county residents to donate money instead of food bought from the grocery store.

"We are running out of food for these hungry families," he said. "Please give online and let us buy at bulk rates what we know they need."

Updated at 1:35 p.m. April 5

Dallas County health officials reported 97 additional cases of the novel coronavirus as of 10 a.m. April 5, bringing the total cases in the county to 1,112.

About 71% of cases involve people who are over 60 years old or who have at least one known high-risk chronic health condition, according to health officials. About 28% of the county's patients hospitalized with COVID-19 have diabetes, officials stated.

We will get through this, North Texas," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement.

He outlined four things to help residents "stay strong throughout this crisis."

"First, please don’t let the uncertainty overwhelm you," he said. "Rather, take life one day at a time. Second, many of you are leading in your homes or jobs. Let someone else lead for a few hours or a day and recharge so you can stay in the fight. Third, you can’t help everyone but you can help someone. Do for one what you wish you could do for all. For instance, give to the North Texas Food Bank (@ntfb). And finally, practice gratitude. Gratitude drives out despair."

He also gave thanks to those who are working on the front lines to help others amid the coronavirus crisis.

"I’m thankful for our healthcare and essential business heroes, first responders, your spirit, my team’s hard work and my family being together," he said. "What are you thankful for? #StayWellTexas."

More information from Dallas County about COVID-19 is available here.

Collin County has reported a total of 268 cases and three deaths as of April 4. More information from Collin County is available here.


Updated 12:39 p.m. April 4

Dallas County is reporting 94 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the countywide case tally to 1,015.

A Dallas man in his 30s with no underlying health conditions has died, according to an April 4 press release. This marks the 18th death from the virus in Dallas County.

About three-quarters of cases requiring hospitalization involve patients who are over the age of 60 or have at least one known underlying health condition, according to the county.

Dallas County's daily case count reports can be found at this link.

Updated 4:30 p.m. April 3

Collin County health officials announced April 3 that an Anna woman in her 40s has died due to COVID-19, making it the second coronavirus-related death in Collin County.

The woman died in a local hospital April 2 and no other personal details were shared.

“All of us at Collin County are saddened at the report of a second COVID-19 death within our community,” Collin County Judge Chris Hill said in the release. “To her family, please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Collin County had 227 confirmed cases as of April 3.

Updated at 2:09 p.m. April 3

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Dallas County has risen to 921, with an additional 90 cases reported since April 2.

This is a slight decline from Wednesday and Thursday, which both saw 100 new cases reported overnight.

“We are beginning to see some rays of hope that we are benefiting from the Safer at Home order I implemented on March 22,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a release. “The next two weeks are critical to #FlattenTheCurve. Please stay home and save lives.”

Dallas County’s disaster declaration, which includes a mandatory stay-at-home provision, has been extended until May 20 following an April 3 vote by Dallas County Commissioners Court. Read the full story here.

Updated at 10:39 a.m. April 3

The number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Collin County has risen to 227, with 156 of those cases still considered active.

Of those known to have the virus, 26 were hospitalized late April 2, according to the Collin County health authority.

Seventy county residents who tested positive for the virus have since recovered.

Updated 10:39 a.m. April 3

At a press conference last night, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins clarified aspects of the shelter-in-place order while also calling out entities that are ignoring the directive.

Employees who work for essential businesses but have the capability to work from home must now do so, Jenkins said. This is intended to curb the number of new coronavirus cases, which totaled 831 in the county as of April 2.

Jenkins also condemned businesses, such as craft supply store Hobby Lobby, for refusing to follow the shelter-in-place order. He said that when staff went to prepare a cease and desist letter, they discovered other municipalities reporting similar illegal activity by Hobby Lobby. The company was not immediately available for comment.

Read the full story here.


Updated at 12:53 p.m. April 2

Dallas County is reporting 100 additional coronavirus cases as well as the 16th and 17th deaths from the virus.

This brings the countywide case count to 831.

The deaths include a woman in her 70s who was a resident at a long-term care facility and and a Dallas woman in her 80s, according to the county.

“North Texas and all of Texas is safer today now that Gov. Abbott has adopted the Dallas County Safer at Home model," Jenkins said in an April 2 news release. "We continue to build capacity as we enter the beginning of the curve. There are enough beds and ventilators in hospitals at present. The challenge is to continue to build capacity so that the curve doesn’t overtake our resources."

Abbott issued the order March 31, and it will extend through April 30. Read the full story here.

Updated at 10:01 a.m. April 2

Dallas County is partnering with the Communities Foundation of Texas to create the Dallas County COVID-19 Response Fund, according to a April 2 press release.

The fund will be used to supply the county’s front-line responders with resources necessary to fight the virus, the release stated.

The fund has already raised $10,000 in donations, according to the release. This money will pay for the production of hand sanitizer.

“The fight against the spread of COVID-19 can only be won if we protect our front-line responders, including police, fire, EMS and health care workers,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in the release.

To learn more about the fund or to donate, visit this link.

Updated at 3:01 p.m. April 1

Richardson ISD will now require parents picking up meals without their child to show proof that they have a student.

This policy, which is required by a new rule by the Texas Department of Agriculture, will go into effect April 6.





RISD sent out a verification email to students' parents April 1.

Documents that can be used as proof include school-issued student IDs, report cards, birth certificates and the verification email.





Updated at 10 a.m. April 1

The number of people hospitalized in Collin County with confirmed cases of the new coronavirus jumped to 24 the morning of April 1—up from 16 the previous day.

In all, there have been 184 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 reported to the county health authority, a number 15% higher than the tally reported March 31.

So far, 53 people in the North Texas county are known to have successfully recovered from the virus. One was confirmed to have died from the virus. Most confirmed cases have not required hospitalization.

Hundreds more are under monitoring for similar symptoms.

Updated at 7:06 p.m. March 31

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is asking the federal government to extend funding for the county's two drive-thru test sites. According to Jenkins, funding is set to be cut off on April 10.

Jenkins also noted during a March 31 press conference that the county is in critical need of more personal protective equipment. He said he is working with North Texas congressional leaders to get more gear to health care workers.

“We need masks on nurses at all times,” he said.

Effective at midnight on March 31, all public and private commercial labs conducting coronavirus testing in Dallas County must report by 5 p.m. each day the number of tests performed as well as the number of tests that were positive. Additionally, all system and county hospitals must provide daily reports on the total number of beds versus the number of beds occupied, Jenkins said.

Read the full story here.


Updated at 1:43 p.m. March 31

Dallas County is reporting 82 more cases of coronavirus, bringing the countywide total to 631. Two more deaths have also been announced.

The first death was a Rowlett man in his 50s. The second was a Dallas man in his 90s. Both patients had underlying chronic health conditions, according to the county.

Over the past week, the number of coronavirus patients admitted to intensive care units has surpassed the number of flu patients admitted to Dallas County ICUs during the peak week of the 2019-20 flu season, the county reported.

“We are at the beginning of what will be a difficult time for Texas, especially here,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement. “We need each one of you to stay in the fight. To do that, I need you to practice self-care, have faith in the science and stay safe by staying home.”

Additionally, the county reports that it has identified 26 coronavirus cases in long-term care facilities, including two deaths.

Dallas County's daily case count reports can be found at this link.

Updated at 11:02 a.m. March 31

Collin County unveiled its new interactive dashboard March 30 that shows updated information on novel coronavirus cases in the county.

In addition to showing the number of new cases confirmed each day and the county's total number of cases, the dashboard also lists information on how many people have recovered, died and are hospitalized. A map shows which cities in the county have seen confirmed cases as well as a breakdown of cases by age and gender.







Updated at 3:56 p.m. March 30

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced March 29 that he is opening the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas to serve as a joint medical site run by the Texas Military Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“A lot of it depends on whether or not it comes with staffing,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said at a March 29 news conference. "We've had 130 health care heroes that have stepped up so far to sign on to our list, ... and I'm sure we'll have more.”

Abbott said in the news release that this is just the first of several sites being considered to expand Texas’ hospital bed capacity.

"While hospitals will remain the primary location to treat and care for those in need, we are ensuring that Texas is prepared for any possible scenario in which current hospital capacity is exhausted,” Abbott said in the release. "This joint initiative with the Texas Military Department and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will expand the care capacity in communities across Texas.”

Nurses and physicians looking for ways to help can email the county at volunteer@dallas-cms.org.

Updated at 12:47 p.m. March 30

Dallas County officials have updated their COVID-19 case total to 549—that’s 61 new cases reported since March 29. The county is also reporting an additional COVID-19 death for a total of 11.

In a press release, Jenkins urged people to follow social distancing guidelines, particularly outdoors.

"If you are jogging past 500 people going the opposite direction on a trail, you’re breathing droplets on the trail from all of those people, and likewise they are breathing yours," he said. "A lack of compliance with physical distancing only increases the chance that more people will get sick and lengthens the time before we get the economy moving again."

Updated at 6:20 p.m. March 29

Collin County reported six new cases of the new coronavirus, including four that required hospitalization. Three patients were from Plano, two from Frisco and one from Celina.

As of late Sunday afternoon, 134 cases of the virus had been reported to Collin County health authorities. One case that had previously been counted as a McKinney resident has been confirmed as a Dallas County resident and taken off Collin County's total, according to officials.

Coming into the day, 41 people who tested positive for the new coronavirus in the county had recovered. Eleven were hospitalized, not including the four new hospitalizations reported March 29. The majority were in home isolation.

Coronavirus updates from the week of March 22 can be found at this link.
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.


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