Texas Mumps Cases Hit 20-Year-High With No Signs of Slowing

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelApril 14, 2017 11:25 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The number of mumps cases have reached a 20-year-high in TexasSo far the state has had 221 mumps cases in 2017.

Chris Van Deusen is a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services:

“And so that’s the highest total we’ve seen for a year since 1994, so more than 20 years now, and we don’t expect the number of cases to be slowing down so we’ll probably surpass that before too terribly long,” he says. 

Back in 1994 there were 234 cases in total. Van Deusen said mumps has had a resurgence in the U.S. recently and pointed to neighboring Arkansas, which had an outbreak that exceeded 2,000 cases at the end of 2016. 

Van Deusen adds that the mumps vaccine is the best way to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease.  

Yesterday, the Dallas Stars announced who their new coach will be – and it happens to be one of the team’s old coaches: Ken Hitchcock. He’s replacing Lindy Ruff. As KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports, Hitchcock is returning to the hockey team after one of the Stars’ worst seasons since moving to Dallas 24 years ago:

Ken Hitchcock said he and the game have changed since he coached the Stars to their only Stanley Cup championship in 1999. Despite this year’s losing record, he’s focused on the team’s energy from last year, when he coached the St. Louis Blues.

“I got to tell you coming here, I was selfish. I was selfish because I’m the one guy that’s coached against this team more than anybody,” he says. “And I saw what this team did to us last year. I saw how hard it was to play this team…. I saw the reckless energy and spirit this team played with and I know I can get that back quickly.”

The Stars fired Hitchcock in 2002. He then coached the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets before moving to St. Louis. The Blues fired him in February.

Stars General manager Jim Nill has known Hitchcock for years and began speaking with him after St. Louis dropped him.

“I was so excited and thrilled of his passion and energy that he had to get back to coaching,” Nill says. “He’s recharged, he wants to make a difference and I know that he’s the right man for the job.”

Hitchcock, who’s 65, says he almost retired after St. Louis let him go. He’s back with new ideas which he hopes will soon lead this young team to the playoffs again.

Plano-based retailer J.C. Penney is delaying the closing of almost 140 stores a little bit longer. 

The reason? Business has picked up at a lot of stores, especially in smaller towns. The Dallas Morning News reports that now the stores will shutter by the end of July instead of mid-June.

About nine stores are closing in Texas.