SMU To Have In-Person Commencement Ceremony This Weekend, Greg Abbott Extends The State Disaster Declaration And Much More.

These past few months have found DFW climbing a steep, upward trajectory in COVID-19 cases, and with the academic school year on the horizon, the reopening of grade schools and universities remains among the highest concerns of the virus’ spread.

For more on this, here are some of the latest developments you might have missed over the past few days:

  • On Tuesday, Dallas County reported 298 additional cases and 29 confirmed deaths. Jenkins said there is one more probable death to be reported. These numbers bring the total number of confirmed cases in Dallas County to 55,553, and the death toll to 785. Tuesday’s reported deaths spanned from people in their 30s to one woman 100 or older.

  • On Saturday, Gov. Greg Abbott extended his COVID-19 disaster declaration for all Texas counties. “I urge Texans to remain vigilant in our fight against this virus,” he said in a statement. “Everyone must do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly.”
  • Per Judge Jenkins, eight out of 10 justices of the peace in Dallas County agreed to postpone hearing eviction cases until Monday, August 24. This moratorium specifically addresses the economic toll the pandemic has taken on households, and as such, only applies to evictions for delinquent rent payment. Evictions for criminal activity will still continue.

  • 3,903 out of 5,971 hospital beds in Dallas are occupied, which brings the total occupancy to approximately 65%. 633 out of 956 ICU beds are filled, while 386 out of 1,000 ventilators are in use.

  • With active residential real estate listings down nearly 20%, and closed sales up by 8.6%, the North Texas housing market has seen increased demand during the pandemic. As real estate veteran Jeanie Marten told WFAA, “People are fighting over houses again, multiple offers. The sellers are reaping the benefits right now.”
  • Even with the onslaught of the coronavirus, thousands of college students are still expected to move into dorms and residence halls this coming week. According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, Texas Woman’s University is anticipating its dorms to be at 75% capacity, while University of North Texas is estimating that 5,800-6,000 students will live on campus for the Fall 2020 semester. Meanwhile, Southern Methodist University will be offering quarantine housing at Martin House to students living on campus who test positive for coronavirus.
  • SMU will also host an in-person commencement ceremony on Saturday, August 15. Per the university, the graduates will be seated six feet apart from each other in the campus’ Gerald Ford Stadium. The school also maintains speeches and introductory remarks will be brief, and according to NBC DFW, the use of masks will be required.
  • Four new testing sites in Tarrant County are slated to open this week and will provide free services to those who schedule appointments. These sites include Scarborough-Handley Field, Tarrant County College’s Northwest Campus, Beth Eden Missionary Baptist Church and Christ Church Fort Worth Assembly of God. Appointments can be scheduled online or via phone at 817-248-6299.
  • Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will both reopen on Friday, August 14, and the Nasher Sculpture Center on Thursday, August 20. “We have all been working together since our closures in March to prepare for the days when we can safely welcome visitors again,” the museums said in a joint statement. “The past five months have been times of significant change. As cultural institutions, we each recognize our unique roles as places for visitors to find solace, joy, and connection. We are excited to finally reopen our spaces to the community.” All visitors will be required to wear a mask, in accordance to a uniform set of safety guidelines outlined here.

That concludes our biweekly COVID-19 news roundup. Be sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing as often as possible. Don’t be a selfish, inconsiderate jerk, y’know?

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