Dallas County

Your Dallas Coronavirus Update for Monday, March 16

This thing, the coronavirus, is making everything weird.
Here's where we stand, as of Monday morning: There are 14 confirmed positive cases of the novel coronavirus in Dallas County. That's up from eight Friday afternoon. Thirteen of those cases have been linked to travel, be it international, domestic or on a cruise. Collin County has reported eight cases and Denton County confirmed its first positive test for COVID-19 over the weekend.

On a more positive note, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced Saturday that the man suffering from the county's first reported case of the coronavirus has been released from the hospital.

Dallas' annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, slated for Saturday, didn't happen, but pockets of revelers could be seen throughout the city at bars and restaurants, ignoring the advice of public health experts.

Many Dallas churches elected to hold their services online Sunday. Robert Jeffress and First Baptist Dallas did not, adhering to the letter of a Dallas County directive banning gatherings of more than 500 people by worshiping in separate parts of the church's massive downtown campus.

Sunday night, the Centers for Disease Control recommended against all gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

Cities across the U.S. have elected to limit bars and restaurants to making deliveries and preparing take-out. Dallas hasn't done so yet, nor has Dallas ISD made an announcement about canceling classes next week, when students return from spring break. City schools are currently undergoing a deep cleaning.

The Dallas County Community College District announced Monday afternoon that it is extending spring break one week. That means no classes until March 29. During the extended break, faculty and staff will work to make their classes online-friendly. When students return, all classes will be online only.

“Because every decision we make has a far-reaching impact on our students, we are taking steps to minimize their health risk, while still maximizing our students’ opportunity to complete a college degree/credential,” DCCCD Chancellor Joe May said.

If students return to the classroom this school year, they will not be taking the STAAR assessment test. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott canceled it Monday morning.

Other Notes:

Parkland Hospital will begin drive-thru coronavirus testing this afternoon. The tests will be available only to patients with an order from a Parkland doctor, according to the hospital.

All jury trials have been canceled in Dallas County until May 8.
Sen. Ted Cruz remains in self-quarantine, following his discovery that he'd been potentially exposed to coronavirus for a second time.