Houston News : Coronavirus live updates: Emergency declared in Dallas County

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People wear face masks, amid fear of the new coronavirus, while exiting the international terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Houston. President Donald Trump set in place a travel ban for people traveling from countries in the European Union. less
People wear face masks, amid fear of the new coronavirus, while exiting the international terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Houston. President Donald Trump set in … more

Photo: Godofredo A. Vásquez, Staff Photographer

Photo: Godofredo A. Vásquez, Staff Photographer

People wear face masks, amid fear of the new coronavirus, while exiting the international terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Houston. President Donald Trump set in place a travel ban for people traveling from countries in the European Union. less
People wear face masks, amid fear of the new coronavirus, while exiting the international terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Houston. President Donald Trump set in … more

Photo: Godofredo A. Vásquez, Staff Photographer

Coronavirus live updates: Emergency declared in Dallas County

10:45 p.m. Dallas County declared a statement of emergency after reporting five additional presumptive positive cases of the new coronavirus, the Dallas Morning News reported.

One of the people who tested positive had no travel history, making it a possible case of community spread, the Morning News reported.

Public gatherings larger than 500 people will be prohibited in the county from 11 a.m. Friday to March 20.

9:40 p.m. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the Associated Press reported late Thursday.

In a statement, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau said she was “experiencing uncomfortable symptoms” but would be back on her feet soon.

“Being in quarantine at home is nothing compared to other Canadian families who might be going through this and for those facing more serious health concerns,” according to the statement, reported by the Associated Press.

The prime minister is in good health with no symptoms and would remain in isolation for 14 days, his office said.

9 p.m. All Harris County Department of Education buildings will be closed next week, March 16-20, “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a news release.

“We will be issuing status updates through our website and social media platforms (@hcdetx),” the release said.

8:50 p.m. Late-night talk show staples are going dark next week, according to the New York Times.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” will suspend production next week due to the new coronavirus pandemic, NBC and CBS said, according to The Times.

The earliest date that the three shows would return with new episodes is March 30, The Times reported.

6:40 p.m. The city of Conroe has issued a disaster declaration and new local policies to combat the spread of COVID-19, according to a news release.

The requirements include:

No parade or outdoor events with an estimated attendance of more than 2,500 people allowed within the corporate city limits. 
Events with more than 250 guests shall cease at all public facilities owned or operated by the city.  
Events with more than 250 guests held at private events are urged to cancel but should make those determinations with their organization 
Nursing homes and senior living centers should limit pubic visitation. 

6:25 p.m.The XFL is suspending its season indefinitely due to health concerns created by the coronavirus pandemic, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly. 

It’s unclear at this time when the football league will resume operations, reports the Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson.

Several teams, including the undefeated Houston Roughnecks, are holding exit meetings within the next few days to provide more information to players.

6:15 p.m. Chambers County officials have signed a disaster declaration as they monitor the spread of COVID-19 cases in the region, the county announced.

There are no known cases of COVID-19 in Chambers County as of Thursday evening, officials said.

“Our public health department continues to monitor the situation as it evolves daily, and will release information regarding positive cases and will promptly inform the residents and public if a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in our county,” the county said.

5:45 p.m. Houston ISD schools will be closed tomorrow thought March 30 due to coronavirus concerns, Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan says.

All spring break camps and UIL events have also been canceled. The district will be sending additional information later tonight, reports the Chronicle’s Jacob Carpenter.

The Chronicle is updating a list of school district closures around the Houston area.

5:30 p.m. The Houston Symphony is canceling all remaining concerts this month to protect the health of audiences, musicians, and staff, according to a statement.

The concerts include:

Adams’ El Niño, March 14 and 15 
Swing to Rock with Dave Bennett, March 20, 21, and 22 
Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, March 26, 28, and 29 

The Chamber Music Series Concert with Cédric Tiberghien, previously scheduled for March 27, will now be rescheduled.

5:20 p.m. Initial tests of the potentially exposed healthcare workers at Memorial Hermann have all come back negative, the hospital announced.

“As precautionary measure and consistent with the recommendations from the public health department, we are testing the healthcare workers again before their return to work,” the hospital said.

5:05 p.m. Rice University announced Thursday that it will move all of its classes online or to “remote formats” for the rest of the semester and has advised students to return home or relocate off-campus amid concerns of the spread novel coronavirus, COVID-19, reports the Chronicle’s Brittany Britto.

All classes will switch to a remote-learning format starting March 23, Bridget K. Gorman, dean of undergraduates, said in a letter to the school’s undergraduates.

The dean encouraged students who left campus for spring break to not return, and “all who live on campus and remain in Houston are encouraged to return home or remain in Houston in their off campus location for the duration of the semester,” Gorman wrote. Only students who petition to stay on campus or meet a certain criteria will be allowed to reside on Rice grounds, she said.

5 p.m. Harris County District Courts have suspended jury service from March 13 to March 20, according to an announcement from the Board of District Court Judges.

Jurors who received a summons for those dates do not need to appear and do not need to reschedule, the board said.

“We are monitoring the situation and will provide updates as soon as practical,” according to the announcement. “Each Thursday the courts will make a decision regarding jury service for the following week.”

4:30 p.m. A slew of other Houston-area school districts have announced closures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the Chronicle’s Shelby Webb reports.

The districts include Conroe, Spring, Dickinson, Texas City ISDs. See the full list here.

4:15 p.m. Cy-Fair ISD, the region’s second-largest school district, announced it is canceling school next week.

“In an abundance of caution, CFISD, along with most neighboring school districts, will close all schools and facilities next week,” according to the district’s statement.

Fort Bend ISD also announced it will suspend classes for at least two weeks starting March 16.

“During this period, FBISD will finalize online learning logistics and training for staff,” the district said.

3:50 Houston Community College officials said two “campus locations” were possibly exposed to the new coronavirus, according to an announcement on its website.

The Fraga Academic Building and Coleman College were impacted and will be closed immediately, the school said. Deep cleaning is underway.

Houston ISD operates Middle College at Felix Fraga out of the Fraga Academic Building, reports the Chronicle’s Jacob Carpenter. About 120 students attend.

Classes at both locations are canceled for this afternoon and for the rest of the week, HCC said.

3:40 p.m. The NCAA on Thursday announced the cancelation of the men’s and women’s basketball tournament in response to growing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, reports the Chronicle’s Joseph Duarte.

This marks the first interruption in the widely popular men’s tournament, known as March Madness, since it began in 1939. The women’s tournament has been played every year since 1982.

In a release, the NCAA said the decision was made on “our ability to ensure the events do not contribute the spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities.”

Earlier in the day,  most conferences, among them the Big 12, Big Ten, ACC, SEC, AAC and C-USA, announced the halting of conference tournaments used to determine the automatic qualifier for the 68-team field that was to be unveiled Sunday.

2:34 p.m. A third person has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 in Montgomery County, this time a man in his 40s who recently traveled to Florida, health officials said.

The man lives in the northwest part of the county.

Already the county has found presumptive positive cases in a man and woman, both in their 40s. The woman recently went to New Orleans, while the man did not leave Texas.

2:25 p.m. Mayor Sylvester Turner said Thursday the city of Houston will not be disconnecting water service because of late payments. This order will last through the end of April, he said.

The outstanding bill, however, will not be forgotten, Turner said, but water service will continue so residents can keep washing their hands.

2:08 p.m. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo stressed during a press conference Thursday that residents should not gather in large groups, citing the potential impact on medical care should the number of the region’s COVID-19 cases increase.

She said that based on their estimates, if 30 percent of Harris County becomes sick, and 20 percent of those people end up in the hospital, “we simply do not have enough hospital capacity to assume all of those people,” she said.

“We can’t afford to have a sudden spike in cases,” Hidalgo continued.

She recommended that organizers of events expected to draw more than 250 people cancel or postpone their gathering. Employers should make use of telecommuting if possible and senior citizens should take care to avoid crowds, she said.

1:09 p.m. The Houston Chronicle is keeping tabs on the latest in closures and cancelations, including Houston area schools, sporting events, and food and entertainment.

These stories are being updated throughout the day.

12:45 p.m. A person who on Wednesday tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 in Houston came in contact with “a known case in New York,” rather than contracting it through community spread. The female, in the 15 to 25 age range, is a resident of New York and is staying in Houston, officials said.

She attended the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo on March 8 but was not symptomatic at the time.

“There is a low risk to attendees,” city officials said.

12:10 p.m. Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough has signed a declaration of local disaster in the wake of two people testing presumptive positive for COVID-19.

He also signed an order Thursday ordering that county events, including those permitted by the county to operate, to cease. That includes events with more than 250 people expected to congregate. The order is will take effect at midnight Friday and will last for at least 30 days.

The order will not apply to “law enforcement activities, emergency responses, court operations, including juries.”

Nursing homes will also be limiting their visitor access, according to Keough’s statement.

11:47 a.m. Fort Bend County is expected to announce a public health disaster declaration at 2 p.m. Thursday after six people tested presumptive positive with COVID-19.

Staff writer Brooke Lewis will be attending the news conference hosted by Fort Bend County Judge KP George.

In Montgomery County, an emergency commissioners court meeting has been scheduled for noon to relay updates from the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

11:11 a.m. The University of St. Thomas is canceling its classes at noon Thursday through Friday, officials said. Classes will resume online during the week of March 23 “until the university reassesses whether there is a need to continue with online delivery.”

The campus will remain open for business operations.

11:00 a.m. Mounting concerns into the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Harris County to cancel jury trials in the district civil courts through the end of March.

Harris County Civil Administrative Judge Michael Gomez said individual judges would determine how to handle bench warrants.

In Montgomery County, officials shared no indication that criminal and civil cases would be impacted.

10:20 a.m. Health officials in Montgomery County said a second presumptive positive case of COVID-19 was found in a woman in her 40s.

The woman lives in south Montgomery County and recently traveled to New Orleans. Her test is awaiting further confirmation from the Centers of Disease Control. The man behind the county’s first diagnosis remains hospitalized.

At least 16 people have tested presumptive positive in the Houston area in the past two weeks.





Houston Forum

Source : chron.com