Five more people have died after contracting COVID-19 in Tarrant County, health officials say, bringing the county's total number of people killed by the virus to 18.
Two of the victims are from Fort Worth while the three others are from River Oaks, Grand Prairie and Haltom City.
Two of the patients had underlying health conditions; their ages ranged from 47 to 88.
“It is very unfortunate and disheartening for our community to see the death toll rising from COVID-19” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja.
Further details about the patients has not been released citing patient confidentiality.
"Based on all the reports we are seeing, we could very well be about to see a spike in COVID-19 activity in our county,” Taneja said. “Although it is difficult to predict, we must do everything we can to prepare ourselves for what may be ahead. Early indications are that we could be looking at significant numbers of positive cases and many more deaths."
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Taneja strongly urged all residents to strictly follow the Executive Orders issued by County Judge Glen Whitley and engage only in essential activities; stay home as much as possible; and maintain social distancing.
“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to follow these directives,” Taneja said. “This is not the time to be complacent. We can get through this, but only if everyone does their part and follows the guidelines without exception. These are difficult times for all of us; and particularly for the families and friends of those we have lost to this disease. Our hearts go out to them.
Monday, the county's public hospital, John Peter Smith, announced nine employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
Dallas County, on Tuesday morning, confirmed their 19th death with another 106 cases of the virus. Though their number of fatalities are now similar, Dallas County has so far confirmed more than 1,200 cases compared to Fort Worth's 418.
Should it be needed, Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Fort Worth hospital set up a "temporary external morgue" Monday to deal with a significant number of sudden deaths.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.