Here are the latest updates on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic:
Texas reports 18,260 cases and 453 deaths
[1:15 p.m.] Texas reported 889 more cases of the new coronavirus Saturday, an increase of about 5% over the previous day, bringing the total number of known cases to 18,260. Two new counties reported their first cases Saturday; three quarters of the state’s 254 counties have reported at least one case.
Harris County has reported the most cases, 4,460, followed by Dallas County, which has reported 2,190 cases. See maps of the latest case numbers for each county and case rates per 1,000 residents.
The state has reported 25 additional deaths, bringing the statewide total to 453 — an increase of about 6% from Friday. Harris County reported four additional deaths, bringing its total to 67 deaths, more than any other county.
As of Saturday, 1,321 patients are known to be hospitalized in Texas. That’s a decrease of 201 patients from Friday. At least 176,239 tests have been conducted. — Mandi Cai
Dallas homeless shelter reports 38 cases
[9:40 a.m.] On Friday, Dallas officials were notified that a privately-operated homeless shelter, Dallas Life, had reported 17 guests who tested positive for the new coronavirus. The number has now increased to 38, according to the shelter’s executive director Rev. Bob Sweeney, who confirmed the figure on Friday to The Dallas Morning News.
On Friday morning, the city relocated 164 guests at this shelter to a hotel while the facility undergoes a thorough cleaning, according to Roxana Rubio, the city’s public affairs officer.
“[The City’s Office of Homeless Solutions] is working collaboratively with the shelter and the organization is providing staff and operational support at the hotel site,” Rubio said. “OHS is also working with the medical community to provide guests in the hotel virtual appointments and check-ins throughout their stay.”
Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang told county commissioners Friday that up to 200 staffers and residents at the shelter had been exposed. Sweeney told the News that the outbreak started when the first person of three tested positive for the virus eight days ago. As of Friday evening, he said, 47 people had tested negative.
Rubio told The Texas Tribune that because of limited social distancing abilities among the homeless, Dallas’ Office of Homeless Solutions began operating a temporary, overnight shelter at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on March 15. To date, there have not been any positive coronavirus cases inside of the center, the spokeswoman said. — Alex Samuels and Cassi Pollock
Local officials criticize prison officials for moving infected inmates to Brazoria County units
[5 a.m.] Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, and Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta are criticizing Texas prison officials for moving more than 100 inmates infected with the novel coronavirus to units in their county, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Both men indicated they weren’t told about the Texas Department of Criminal Justice plan and Bonnen delivered to Gov. Greg Abbott a letter Sebesta wrote complaining about the matter, the paper reported.
“We need to know so we can let the public know,” Sebesta reportedly said. “We’re increasing the chances for the spread of the disease, not only for the prisoners that are normally housed here, but for the guards and their families.”
By Thursday, 327 Texas prisoners had tested positive for the coronavirus. A total of 531 tests had been completed of the approximately 140,000 inmates in the state’s prison system, according to TDCJ reports. More than 25 of the state’s more than 100 prison units were on lockdown — where all activity is halted and inmates are largely kept to their dorms or cells — because a person recently tested positive.
This article first appeared on The Texas Tribune. Click here to view the article in its original format.
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