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Live COVID-19 updates: Dallas, Tarrant counties report more than 300 new cases and 13 more coronavirus deaths

Phase 1 of reopening in Texas began Friday, with the relaxation of restrictions on retail, restaurants and more.

Health officials in Tarrant and Dallas counties reported 13 deaths related to the novel coronavirus on Tuesday. 

In Dallas County, 253 additional positive cases of COVID-19 were reported, and in Tarrant County, health officials reported 62 new cases. 

Dallas County has recorded 121 deaths and Tarrant County has recorded 83 deaths from the disease. 

“These latest deaths are sad and troubling to all of us,” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.

Top updates for Tuesday, May 5:

  • Texas saw a big increase in cases over the weekend, setting a record for the largest gain of COVID–19 cases over a two-day period since the pandemic began.
  • The Texas Workforce Commission announced some good news for those who may have run out of or be nearing the end of their unemployment insurance-- they may now get an additional 13 weeks of insurance. And, that extra $600 a week will now be coming to all of those who've recently filed unemployment. Click here for the details. 
  • Dallas ISD is considering different options for how students will return to their lessons in fall 2020 following the coronavirus pandemic and while leaders say it is "likely" they'll return to campuses in the fall, it won't be business as usual.

For a daily roundup of the biggest coronavirus news from around North Texas, sign up for the WFAA COVID-19 email newsletter.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins highlights new assistance programs at news conference

In a Tuesday night news conference, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins urged people to listen to medical professionals and healthcare professionals when deciding if it's safe to go back out and about as Texas gradually begins to reopen.

"I've had a lot of people who have asked me, 'When is it safe to go get my haircut?'" Jenkins said, referring to Gov. Greg Abbott's new order that will allow barbershops, nail salons, hair salons and tanning salons to reopen Friday.

RELATED: Texas hair salons, barbershops, nail salons cleared to reopen Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott says

"The people who are the most knowledgeable about this is not me, it's not Gov. Abbott, it's not any elected official, which is not a not a knock on them, but it's the medical specialists who have trained their whole adult life for this moment."

Jenkins discussed the day's coronavirus case numbers and also talked about new assistance programs for small businesses, renters, mortgage holders and child care.

RELATED: Dallas small business, rent and mortgage relief programs overwhelmed by initial applications; city website crashes

Watch the whole news conference here:

Jenkins also talked about the Commissioners Court's decision to vote 4-1 earlier Tuesday to pass a resolution allowing mail-in voting in November, but the issue remains on heavily contested legal ground.

"What the court said today is that we shouldn't force our voters to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote," Jenkins said.

Texas hair salons, barbershops, nail salons cleared to open Friday, governor says

Hair salons, barbershops, tanning salons and nail salons can reopen on Friday in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a 3 p.m. news conference.

Abbott clarified and amended many of his reopening orders during a Tuesday afternoon news conference. 

Retail stores, restaurants, malls and movie theaters were allowed to reopen last week at 25% occupancy rate as part of the first phase of reopening Texas. The state has been under variations of stay-at-home orders for more than a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Abbott said Tuesday that 427,210 total tests have been done in Texas, with 33,369 positive results, 16,791 patients recovered, and 906 fatalities. As of Tuesday, there were 15,672 active cases and 1,888 hospitalizations, said Abbott.

The following are available for use across Texas: over 19,000 hospital beds, 2,000 ICU beds, and 6,600 ventilators. 

RELATED: Texas hair salons, barbershops, nail salons cleared to open Friday, governor says

Dallas County reports 253 additional positive cases, 7 deaths of COVID-19

On Tuesday, Dallas County health officials announced 253 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total case count in the county to 4,623, including 121 deaths.

They also announced seven additional deaths, ranging in ages from a Dallas man in his 40s to an Irving man in his 70's.

RELATED: MAP: These are the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Dallas-Fort Worth area

Six more people have died in Tarrant County, officials say

Eighty-three people who lived in Tarrant County have now died from COVID-19, officials said Tuesday. Six new deaths were reported by health officials Tuesday, including four people from Fort Worth and one each from Keller and Grapevine. All six had underlying health conditions. 

The Fort Worth victims include both a man and woman in their 50s and two men in their 80s. The victims from Keller and Grapevine were both women in their 80s, officials said. 

“These latest deaths are sad and troubling to all of us,” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.

The county also reported 62 new cases, bringing the county's total to 2,686. More than 650 people have recovered so far.

Grand Prairie ISD employee tests positive for COVID-19

Grand Prairie Independent School District officials are asking those who picked up meals from one of their locations to self-quarantine or seek medical advice.

One of their employees who works in the child nutrition department has tested positive for COVID-19, officials said, prompting the call to self-quarantine.

The meals in question were handed out at David Daniels Academy of Math and Science, according to officials. 

The employee last reported to work on Wednesday when they had no symptoms. But by Friday, the employee did have symptoms that required medical attention and they received the positive test result Monday. 

Interim Superintendent of Schools Linda Ellis said the call to self-quarantine was "out of an abundance of caution," but did not provide any additional details.

Across the state, more than 33,360 cases have been reported since the outbreak began, and 906 people have died. Currently, 1,888 people are hospitalized in their fight against the disease, while almost 16,800 have recovered. 

At least 427,210 people have been tested in Texas.

Dallas County leaders want residents to be able to vote by mail

Dallas County's commissioners voted Tuesday to pass a resolution that would allow voters to send in their ballots by mail if they are concerned about contracting COVID-19. 

The resolution would apply to any elections held in 2020, but could be contested by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who argues that such measures violate Texas Election Code. 

RELATED: Dallas County wants voters to be able to mail-in ballots due to coronavirus fears

Nearly 10,000 Dallas residents applied for small business, rent and mortgage relief programs

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted Tuesday that 9,966 people had applied for the city's rental and mortgage assistance program. The applications are now closed.

On Monday, the city's website crashed after people completed applications for two new COVID-19 relief programs.

RELATED: Dallas small business, rent and mortgage relief programs overwhelmed by initial applications; city website crashes

Lewisville cancels all city events through late September as city faces major budget shortfall

City officials announced Tuesday they would be canceling all city-sponsored public events through late September due to the uncertainty of the situation with the coronavirus' spread as they face "major budgetary concerns."

Canceled events include: 

  • KTA Jam Session on May 8
  • St. Paddy’s Texas Style on May 23 
  • Fiesta Charra on May 30
  • The entire Sounds of Lewisville Concert Series in June and July
  • The Sounds of Red, White and Lewisville concert and Old Town fireworks show on July 3

Officials said the city is facing nearly a $1 million loss in revenue from the Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund due to the pandemic. The fund pays for those special events. Overall, the city is looking at a budget shortfall of more than $15 million due to the pandemic. 

The city may still hold Western Days on Sept. 25 and 26, but officials have not yet made a decision on that event. Cuts could be made to it, but those will not be decided on until early June, according to officials.

“This is a very difficult decision to make,” said City Manager Donna Barron. “From a budget standpoint, we’re at a point where we must choose between cutting programs or cutting people, and we felt it best to cut programs in order to retain our employees. The employees help make these programs so successful.”

Hood, Navarro counties holding testing Tuesday

Hood County will have COVID-19 testing available for any resident who is displaying one or more of the symptoms on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The tests are free to anyone who needs one. The testing site is located at the Emergency Operation Center in Granbury at 401 Deputy Larry Miller Drive. 

Navarro County is holding a free COVID-19 testing site on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., as well, at the I.O.O.F. Event Center at 601 N. 45th St. in Corsicana.

To be tested, you must call to set up an appointment ahead of your arrival. 

You can do that by either calling 512-883-2400 or visiting txcovidtest.org

Drive-thru testing site open for first half of week in McKinney

Anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and all health care workers and first responders can sign up to get tested for the disease in McKinney on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, Mayor George Fuller said. 

The testing will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. in a Walmart parking lot located at 1721 N. Custer Road. 

Those wishing to get tested will need to sign up for an appointment through eTrueNorth at doineedacovid19test.com. When visiting the testing site, bring an appointment confirmation and photo ID. 

There will be no out-of-pocket cost to those wishing to get tested.

Testing sites open this week in Parker, Rockwall counties

Parker County is opening a second drive-through testing facility on Thursday at Heritage Park 317 Santa Fe Dr. Visitors must select an appointment time.

Rockwall County will have the testing site from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at 701 E. Interstate 30 at Lake Pointe Church. You will be screened to see if you have fever/chills, cough, fatigue, body aches/muscle or joint pain, shortness of breath, sore throat, headaches, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, nasal congestion and loss of taste/smell.

To visit any of these sites, you must preregister at txcovidtest.org or call 512-883-2400.

Health experts recommend taking the following actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice "social distancing" and stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid large public gatherings
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the U.S.

WFAA digital producers Eline de Bruijn and Jake Harris contributed to this report. 

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