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This AP file photo shows coronavirus testing. The first confirmed case of the coronavirus COVID-19 was reported within Denton city limits Thursday as three other cases in the county were confirmed Denton County Public Health officials.

Editor’s note: This article is available free of charge for all readers as part of the Denton Record-Chronicle’s continued coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and response. Look for additional articles on the outbreak, available free for unlimited access, at DentonRC.com. To support critical journalism such as this, please consider a digital subscription.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the city of Denton along with three other cases in the county were confirmed Thursday afternoon by Denton County Public Health officials.

The Denton patient is a man in his 60s who is in home isolation after travel-related exposure. The four cases confirmed Thursday bring the countywide total to nine.

Two more Lewisville women, one in her 20s and the other in her 50s, were confirmed Thursday. The older woman is in isolation at an undisclosed hospital after local transmission, and the younger woman is in home isolation after travel-related exposure.

The first case reported from Lewisville on Wednesday was a man in his 40s who also experienced local transmission, health officials reported. He is in critical condition in hospital isolation.

The fourth new patient is a Frisco resident in his 40s in home isolation following travel-related transmission.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday issued an executive order to prohibit eating and drinking at restaurants and bars, temporarily closing gyms and schools, limiting social gatherings to 10 people and banning visitors from nursing homes except for critical care. The order goes into effect from midnight Friday and lasts through April 3.

State health commissioner John Hellerstedt also declared a public health disaster in the state Thursday. Section 81.002 of the Texas Health and Safety Code states people should act responsibly in order to control community spread of the disease.

Hellerstedt’s declaration said actions should include only going out in public for essential outings, practicing sanitation methods known to be effective against COVID-19, limiting social gatherings to 10 people or fewer, practicing social distancing and isolation for people who are sick — especially if they’re showing symptoms of the virus.

ZAIRA PEREZ can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @zairalperez.

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