DALLAS - Dallas County reported 72 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, including two more deaths.
This brings the county's total to 439 cases and nine coronavirus-related deaths. The county leads the state with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The two new deaths reported were a man in his 50s who lived in DeSoto, and a man in his 70s who lived in Dallas. The county reported they had been critically ill in local hospitals.
County health officials report that hospitalizations from COVID-19 are increasing, with 36 percent of those hospitalized COVID-19 patients being admitted to intensive care units.
So far, of the cases requiring hospitalization, 65 percent have been either over the age of 60 or have had at least one known high-risk chronic health condition.
On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that three Texas National Guard units have been activated, including the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which is based in the DFW area.
Denton County health officials reported 11 new cases, and their second COVID-19 death. Denton County now has 148 total cases, and 28 have recovered. Collin County also reported 11 new cases, which brings the county's total to 129 cases.
Tarrant County reported 14 new cases on Saturday, bringing their total to 128 cases.
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One of the Dallas County men who died is being identified as Orlando McDaniel - a well-known North Texas track coach.
Two of his former athletes said they knew the coronavirus was a serious issue, but when it affects someone you know personally, concerns about the virus come with a different perspective.
McDaniel was the head coach for the North Texas Cheetas (NTC) - a track club in the Metroplex.
Former athletes that were coached by McDaniel said he was well known in the track community nationwide.
Coaches from colleges and former athletes posted on social media after hearing about his death from complications with COVID-19. The health department pointed out the 59-year-old coach had no known underlying conditions.
Two of his former athletes, one who is about to start running track on scholarship at Baylor and another who is currently running on scholarship at the University of Arkansas, said it’s because of coach Orlando they are able to live their dream of competing on the collegiate level.
“It wasn’t just us NTC girls that he had, he made waves throughout the track community, through the Dallas community. I've seen professional track athletes and Olympians post about him and kids that grew up in other parts of Dallas posting about him that are also very hurt because he didn’t only help us, but if someone needed a helping hand in track or anywhere, he made an impression on a lot of people,” said Morgan Burks-Magee.
“I joined NTC when I was six. My older sister started running so I would get out there and practice with them. One day, it just turned into me running. He meant a lot, he is the reasons why I started running, started running with his team and where I am today being able to get a scholarship and run in college,” Cierra Wash said.
McDaniel is from Louisiana, another state that has been hard hit from the coronavirus.
Former teammates and college friends said his career has impacted so many lives and they know his legacy will live on through his athletes.
Coronavirus health tips
While COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus, daily precautions recommended to prevent respiratory illnesses are the same:
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when you can't wash your hands.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw the tissue away. If you don’t have a tissue, use the elbow of your sleeve. Don’t use your hands to cover coughs and sneezes.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick and keep children home when they are sick.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• Get a flu shot. (Although the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it is flu season.)