Tarrant County declares public health emergency

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley held a news conference at 1:30 p.m. today to discuss the latest developments to contain and mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Tarrant County.

During the conference, Whitley said a second person in Tarrant County has a presumptive positive case. That person had recently traveled overseas, officials said.

Whitley also said he had signed an order declaring a local disaster “due to a public health emergency,” following up on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s declaration of emergency for the state.

Abbott said Texas has 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 220 people have been tested so far.

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On Friday, San Antonio banned large public gatherings and postponed its giant Fiesta celebration until November.

That followed Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson issuing a proclamation late Thursday declaring a local state of disaster for the city of 1.3 million people, shortly after a countywide ban on large public gatherings of 500 or more people was announced.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said smaller gatherings of 250 people should be canceled or rescheduled. He said schools, office towers, airports and movie theaters are exempt, the Dallas Morning News reported.

“I know Dallas County is up to the challenge,” Jenkins said. “Use your brains, as we’re all very good at doing in this community. … I want everyone to soberly consider and take responsibility for your life decisions.”

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Also late Thursday, Dallas County announced five more cases of the illness, including one that was being investigated as community-spread.

Trinity Metro Board of Directors:

In the interest of public safety in regard to the health of Trinity Metro’s employees and the community, the Trinity Metro Board of Directors committee meetings to be held on Monday, March 16, are canceled.

The upcoming board meeting to be held on Monday, March 23, is also canceled.

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The decision to cancel the meetings was made as Trinity Metro joined a long list of Tarrant County organizations that are committed to preventing the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing and by avoiding events where there are large groups of people.