County Officials Report Additional COVID-19 Cases At Long-Term Care Facilities

A lot is happening, and it may be hard to find time to read the things that could impact your family, friends, and neighbors. Today’s digest gives you some bullet points.

  • County Officials Provide Updates About COVID-19 Cases At Long-Term Care Facilities 
  • SMU Announces New Spring 2020 Commencement Date 
  • SMU: Dr. Bob Smith Health Center Employee Tests Positive For COVID-19
  • Gov. Abbott Waives Regulations To Expand Health Care Workforce During COVID-19 Response
  • Bank Of America Contributes $400K To DFW United Way Chapters

County Officials Provide Updates About COVID-19 Cases At Long-Term Care Facilities 

Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang April 5 provided an update about clusters of COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities, including Monticello West, Skyline Nursing Center, Edgemere, the Reserve at Richardson, Westridge nursing home, Brentwood Place One, St. Joseph Village, and the Villages of Dallas. 

Huang said there are notably 30 cases associated with Skyline, 17 cases associated with Brentwood Place One, four cases and one death associated with Monticello West, 10 cases and two deaths associated with Edgemere, seven cases associated with the Reserve at Richardson, and one case each associated with Westridge, St. Joseph Village, and Villages of Dallas.

He added the Centers for Disease Control recommended wearing a cloth face covering when out in public to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“It’s really important to emphasize a couple of things about that… that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to still maintain the physical distancing. It’s still important to keep that 6-foot distance, and it’s still important to stay home,” Huang said. “This is just added protection when you do have to go into those public settings.”

He said it’s important to wash the cloth masks immediately after use.

SMU Announces New Spring 2020 Commencement Date 

SMU announced this week via the university’s website that the spring 2020 commencement is postponed until August 15. Although the ceremony date is moving, graduates will still receive degrees May 16th. Transcripts with degrees will be available in early June, and diplomas will be mailed to graduates.

SMU: Dr. Bob Smith Health Center Employee Tests Positive For COVID-19

SMU announced on its website this week that an employee of the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center on the campus tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was tested April 1, received the positive results April 2, and will self-isolate for the next two weeks, according to the university.

A limited number of students have physically visited the health center in the past 14 days, and the center’s medical director is notifying those students about what is perceived to be limited risk of exposure, according to a statement from the university. The university will also reportedly contact any other employees, such as health center, custodial, and facilities staff as well as any vendors who may have been in the building during the last two weeks.

No student has tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, officials say. Three other health center employees worked in close proximity with the staff member who tested positive, according to the university. Those three employees will reportedly self-monitor at their homes for the next two weeks. 

Following advice of the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department, the health center re-opens April 6 after a deep cleaning. 

Gov. Abbott Waives Regulations To Expand Health Care Workforce During COVID-19 Response

Governor Greg Abbott April 5 temporarily waived certain regulations to expand the health care workforce to assist with Texas’ COVID-19 response.

Under the waiver, physician assistants (PA), medical physicists, perfusionists, and respiratory care candidates for licensure who have completed all other requirements may enter the workforce under a​n emergency license working under supervision prior to taking the final licensure examination. 

The waiver also allows for emergency licensees to undergo name-based background checks in place of fingerprint checks while fingerprint checks are unavailable because of the crisis.

Additionally, the waiver allows more flexibility between physicians and the PAs and advance practice registered nurses they supervise including allowing for oral prescriptive delegation agreements to allow for rapid deployment of those practitioners during the emergency.

“The state of Texas is bolstering our response to COVID-19 by expanding our health care workforce and removing barriers that might prevent professionals from serving their fellow Texans,” said Abbott. “Our front line health care professionals play a vital role in our ongoing response to protect public health, and we are committed to supporting them and ensuring they have the ability to perform their important duties.”

Bank Of America Contributes $400K To DFW United Way Chapters

As usual, we end today’s digest with a bit of good news. Bank of America recently announced a $250,000 contribution to the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and another $150,000 to support the United Way of Tarrant County. 

Both organizations have established coronavirus emergency funds to help with basic needs such as rent assistance, utilities assistance, food, supplies for seniors and the homeless population, as well as childcare support for first responders.

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at

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