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The original item was published from 3/13/2020 3:30:50 PM to 3/13/2020 4:08:55 PM.

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Posted on: March 13, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Tarrant County Declares Local Disaster Amid Coronavirus Concerns; FWISD Extending Spring Break

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The Star-Telegram reported Friday that Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley has declared a local disaster in response to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

The declaration means that officials will implement an emergency management plan.

The Star-Telegram states that, as of Friday afternoon, there are at least 34 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Texas, and two Tarrant County residents have tested “presumptive positive.” The paper reports that the two cases are not related.

Tarrant County is recommending that events involving more than 250 people be cancelled, and strongly recommends cancelling any events where people are in close contact with each other. Read the full Star-Telegram story here; note that because of the seriousness of these events, the newspaper will not require you to have a subscription to access the story.

Also on Friday, the Fort Worth Independent School District announced that it was extending Spring Break for at least two weeks, through Friday, March 27.

This extension includes all FWISD schools serving Benbrook residents. The district’s announcement reads in part:

“We are aware the closing of our schools presents a challenge for families with small children and for parents who must now find ways to provide daycare. We also know that many of our students depend on the healthy breakfast and lunch they eat at school. However, the risk of contracting COVID-19 – to children and family members or employees who have underlying health conditions -- is far too great. … We are looking at ways to mitigate some of these circumstances. School administrators and teachers will continue to work to serve our children even though school is not in session.”

For more information about the school closures, please check the FWISD website or their social media.

You can find extensive information about the coronavirus, including ways to reduce your risk of contracting the disease or spreading it to others, on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. The Tarrant County Public Health website has also posted information, and has a hotline you can call during regular business hours, 817-249-6299. 

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