Denton County Adds 13 New COVID-19 Cases; Lewisville Man Dies After Infection

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Denton County Judge Andy Eads says there are 13 new cases of COVID-19 in the county and that a Lewisville man in his 40s is the first person in the county to have died after becoming infected with COVID-19.

Few details about the man were released, but Eads said the man died Wednesday night and he was the county's first case of community-transmitted COVID-19.

“Today, as we announce the first death related to COVID-19, we want to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the individual. Our thoughts and prayers are with you,” Eads said. “We are saddened by this tragic loss but know the worst is yet to come in Denton County as we deal with this highly contagious disease. We must work collectively to limit the spread of COVID-19. We simply cannot allow this disease to spread to the point of pushing our hospitals beyond their capabilities to cope.”

Eads said there are now 83 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Denton County, including those announced Thursday.

“I also want to firmly reiterate the importance of heeding the mandatory stay-at-home order Denton County issued this week. We need everyone to heed these orders and stay home. This virus spreads easily and can lead to severe symptoms and death,” he said. "We must all take this seriously. It is a matter of life and death."

After announcing the shelter-in-place order earlier this week that closed all non-essential businesses and limited travel to essential trips only, Eads also discussed the first cases of COVID-19 coming from within the Denton State-Supported Living Center. The sprawling campus is home to more than 400 people who have either intellectual and developmental disabilities, are medically fragile or suffer from behavioral problems. The residents are cared for by approximately 1,400 employees at the center.

Eads said Thursday that one of the new cases included a new case at the DSSLC, bringing the total number of infected residents there to eight. Earlier this week, Eads said he'd expect more COVID-19 cases to come from the center and that an outbreak at the home could be overwhelming to the county's health care system.

Denton County officials issued a mandatory, county-wide stay-at-home order Tuesday, asking people to stay home in an attempt to stall the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, NBC 5 Investigates reported county leaders have asked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to provide a temporary hospital on the sprawling campus.

In a letter to the governor, Eads and Denton Mayor Chris Watts said, “Many residents have pre-existing health conditions that leave them especially vulnerable to diseases that have a disproportionate mortality on the medically compromised" adding residents have, "intellectual or developmental disabilities” that make it hard for them to understand simple isolation protocol and social distancing instructions.

Eads told NBC 5 Investigates they heard back from the governor's office quickly.

“They have heard our concerns. They share our concerns. And they share the desire to get the resources here as soon as possible,” Eads said.

In an urgent plea, Denton County’s top leaders have asked the governor for a temporary hospital on the campus of a sprawling home for those with disabilities, seven of whom have already fallen ill to COVID-19.

The state has 13 state-supported living centers, but the DSSLC is the only state-supported living center in Dallas-Fort Worth.

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