Editor’s note: To allow our limited staff to focus on more than keeping up with the daily case count, we will publish a weekly report of the latest case counts and other regular updates. This change will allow staff to continue covering significant breaking news and campus-related coverage without asking them to sacrifice their well-being. To keep up with daily case counts, we encourage you to follow local professional news outlets and Denton County Public Health.
County case count
Denton County Public Health reported two COVID-19 related deaths Friday afternoon, raising the total number of deaths in Denton County to 22.
The first patient, a male resident of Denton Rehabilitation Center in his 80s, was confirmed Thursday afternoon. The second patient, another of Denton Rehabilitation Center, was in her 60s and was isolated in the hospital after being exposed to the virus.
“As we report the loss of a 22nd life to COVID-19 in Denton County today, please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers,” Denton County Judge Andy Eads said. “We know that each life lost to COVID-19 is one too many.”
DCPH also announced 13 new coronavirus cases Saturday afternoon, raising the countywide total to 799. As of Saturday morning, there are 386 active COVID-19 cases in Denton County and 391 patients have recovered. The city of Denton has the highest number of cases in the county with 149, followed by Carrollton with 96 and unincorporated Denton with 80.
COVID-19 drive-thru testing center
DCPH held its first drive-thru COVID-19 testing center Saturday.
DCPH will offer drive-thru testing on an ongoing basis and will announce additional dates, times and locations on their social media platforms. To register for the testing center, those experiencing symptoms should call 940-349-2585.
Testing centers offer a maximum of 200 COVID-19 tests per clinic based on the available supplies, medical personnel and lab capacity.
Patients must have had coronavirus symptoms in the past seven days in order to be eligible for testing. Symptoms include cough, fatigue, fever, shortness of breath, chills, headache, loss of taste or smell, muscle pains, abdominal pain, nausea and sore throat.
After being tested, patients must self-isolate to limit potential spread of the illness. A DCPH staff member will reach out within five to seven days concerning the result of the test.
Reopening the state
Texas’ stay-at-home mandate lapsed Thursday night, allowing many businesses to re-open Friday.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday the expiration of the state’s stay-at-home mandate in hopes that the reopening of certain businesses will restart the Texas economy. Retail stores, malls, restaurants, and movie theaters are allowed to operate at a 25% capacity. Libraries and museums can also operate the 25% capacity, but hands-on exhibits must remain closed.
Denton city officials have already heard about 140 complaints concerning the business operations. While most Denton business are choosing to remain closed, city staff calculated occupancy percentages for those who opened Friday.
City officials extended the COVID-19 emergency order until May 31. While Abbott’s order encourages people to wear face masks in public, city officials do not have the authority to penalize someone for not doing so. But businesses are allowed to require customers to wear masks, City Attorney Aaron Leal said.
The second phase of Abbott’s business reopening plan could take effect May 18 as long as the state sees two weeks of data with no COVID-19 flare-ups, Abbott said.
Plamedie Ifasso can be reached at email@example.com.
Featured image by Amber Gaudet.