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Posts published in March 2020

FIGHTING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: County issues “Stay Home Work Safe” order

HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE LINA HIDALGO AND HOUSTON MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER MAKE JOINT ANNOUNCEMENT TUESDAY MORNING.

Effective thru April 3rd; Virus cases reach 284

HARRIS COUNTY – Faced with the reality of mounting cases of the infectious and potentially lethal Coronavirus known as COVID-19, local leaders have issued an order to “Stay Home Work Safe” which amounts to a shelter in place directive.

At a joint news conference Tuesday morning, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called for all but essential members of the public to stay at home, not to travel and not to congregate in groups. Businesses were advised to have their employees work at home. The order is set to last ten days, until Friday April 3rd.

As of Tuesday, there were 284 virus cases in the greater Houston area that had tested positive. These include Houston 55, Harris County 79 including 1 death, Brazoria County 28, Brazos County 16, Fort Bend County 46, Galveston County 21, Matagorda County 8, including 1 death, Montgomery County 23, Chambers County 1, Liberty County 1, Grimes County 2, Wharton County 3, and Walker County 1.

The Order allowed the public to travel for necessities such as food and fuel, and allowed workers in 16 essential categories to continue to work. These include: Healthcare, Law Enforcement and Public Safety, Food and Agriculture, Electricity or Utility workers, Petroleum, Natural and Propane gas workers, Water and Wastewater workers, Transportation and logistics, including auto repair and postal service, Public Works, Communications and Media including newspapers, Government and Education, Critical manufacturing, Hazardous materials, Financial services including banks, Chemical workers, and Defense industries.

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Federal relief available for businesses and other tax filers impacted by COVID-19

Coronavirus Emergency Aid Package Signed

The legislation signed last Wednesday evening provides paid sick and family leave for some for U.S. workers impacted by the illness, expands unemployment assistance, includes nutrition assistance and increases resources for testing. Efforts are already underway to put together a third, larger relief measure that could total $1 trillion.

Deadline for Tax Filing extended to July 15th

Following President Donald J. Trump’s emergency declaration pursuant to the Stafford Act, the U.S. Treasury Department and IRS issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.

SBA to Provide Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Constable Eagleton’s statement on Covid-19

Our community is known for its strength and ability to overcome challenging times such as unprecedented flooding, the occasional ice storm, chemical fires and the San Jacinto Bridge outage. We will fight the Corona Virus with that same ferocity. At the onset of this virus we began preparing for the worst, as did most of our community. We ask that every one of you help us combat COVID-19 and be proactive with us.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has issued a “Stay Home – Work Safe” Order for all Harris County residents. Simply put, everyone should stay home unless they are an “essential employee”. If you’re able to stay home, try to leave only if you have a medical emergency or an “essential” need, such as groceries, medications or pet supplies. Restaurants can and should remain operational with drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options only. Grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores will remain open but should regulate the number of customers allowed in the store at a time. For those that are deemed essential personnel, use every precaution while performing your job duties. You should keep a distance of six feet between yourself and anyone in the same area. Refrain from social gatherings with 10 or more people or where space is limited making it difficult to maintain six feet of separation. (more…)

Governor Abbott postpones Runoff Primary Election until Tuesday July 14th.

AUSTIN, TX — March 20, 2020 – Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation postponing the runoff primary election until July 14, 2020 — the same date as the special election for Texas State Senate District 14. The runoff election was originally scheduled for May 26th, but has been postponed in conjunction with the state’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

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AREA FIGHTS AGAINST SPREAD OF VIRUS

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Health officials and Rodeo officials, at press conference last week, announcing that the city and county were issuing Health State of Emergency notices for the month of March. The Rodeo closed immediately and most city events were cancelled.

Number of Cases rises to 36; Officials close Schools, cancel Public Events

UPDATED – March 17, 2020 – Health Officials confirmed the fifth case of coronavirus in the City of Houston, five more cases in Harris County, making a total of 36 in the Houston areas. Officials said that they recorded 5 cases in Houston, 11 cases in Harris County, 9 cases in Fort Bend County, 2 cases in Brazoria County, 2 in Galveston County, 4 in Montgomery County, 2 in Matagorda County, where a 90 year old man died, and 1 in Brazos County. (NOTE: This number will change as days go by.)

HOUSTON – With 36 coronavirus (COVID-19) cases reported in the Houston and Harris County areas, the city and the county are on high alert. Most of the cases can be traced to either a vacation cruise on the Nile River in Egypt, or attendance at the Houston Rodeo cook-off. However, several cases have not been identified with these causes, and are being investigated.

Actions have been taken to prevent the virus spread, such as closures of the Rodeo, schools and colleges, athletic events, and entertainment. This week the closure of all restaurants and bars was added and groups were limited to less than 50 persons. The scope of closures is unprecedented in modern times.

In East Harris County, school districts were closed, and hot meals were being distributed at various schools. Colleges and many public facilities, parks and libraries, were also closed.

A call center has been opened to answer questions from the public. Houstonians can call the center at 832-393- 4220 to speak to Health department staff and obtain information about the disease or get their questions answered.

The call center will open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will return voice messages left after hours the following day on a first call, first served basis.

Federal action is expected later this week, with test centers and financial relief for those unable to work. The government has been criticized for a slow, late response to what the World Health Organization now calls a pandemic.

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List of Cancellations, postponements in area

The containment of the Coronavirus has caused the following cancellations or postponements: Harris County and the City of Houston had adopted States of Emergency for one week, that have been extended to the end of March with the probability of longer.

EDUCATION

The following School Districts have cancelled classes thru April 10: Aldine, Channelview, Crosby, Dayton, Deer Park, Galena Park, Goose Creek, Houston ISD, Huffman. Sheldon said they cancelled classes through March 20, subject to review. Free meals will be served by most districts on the days off. Many daycare facilities are staring open, with limited access.

Houston ISD cancelled all classes and events until April 10th.

The Texas Education Agency and Governor Abbott have suspended the STAAR tests for this school year.

Lee College and San Jacinto College cancelled classes until April 23 at which time they will hold online classes, Lone Star College extended their break until March 25, Houston Community College extended cancelled classes through April 27, and the University of Houston will start remote classes April 23.

EVENTS

Houston Rodeo cancelled. Most city sponsored events are cancelled for March.

Crosby Fair & Rodeo has cancelled the Rockin C Round-Up and the BBQ and Steak Cook-off.

East Aldine District Ground breaking cancelled.

Highlands, Crosby, and North Houston Little League Parade and Opening Day Postponed. Reset for April 6th or later.

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Mike Parrot inducted into Softball Hall of Fame

Mike Parrott with Commemorative Bat, Award Plaque, and Souvenir Ring.

North Shore’s favorite son, and retired Judge, was honored in January at the Texas USSSA Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremonies held at the Dallas Marriott South Hotel.

Mike Parrott was recognized as being in the Top 100 Greatest Softball players nationally by the USSSA softball association. His career in adult amateur softball competition spans from 1975 to 1983, and then two returns from retirement in 1987 and 1990.

Parrott’s awards are many, including in 1980 leading the nation in home runs, with 323. In his career he garnered 61 awards for his home run prowess and in tournament play.

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Dayton issues declaration of disaster public health emergency

The Dayton City Council has issued a second Declaration of Disaster for Public Health Emergency in response to COVID-19. The declaration, which supersedes the one issued by the Mayor last Friday puts into place recommendations made today by the White House. It went into effect immediately and will be in effect until the Council rescinds it.

There are currently no confirmed cases of the virus in Dayton, however, the declaration has been issued to assist the City in its efforts to prevent, and if necessary, contain COVID-19 from spreading throughout the city and county. The declaration prohibits community gatherings of over 10 people for its duration, authorizes the City Manager to suspend late fees on utility bills and echos White House recommendations of schooling at home where possible, avoidance of discretionary travel, and refraining from eating or drinking in bars restaurants or food courts.

In addition, certain nonessential City facilities are closed, including the Jones Public Library and the Dayton Community Center. All City events scheduled for March and April, including Food Truck Friday, Friday Night Bites and the Dr. Seuss Carnival will be canceled or postponed until further notice.

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Chambers County under disaster declaration to avoid spreading of COVID-19

The following is a summary of current actions that Chambers County is taking to curtail the spread of COVID-19. These actions are being taken upon the recommendations of the CDC and the Chambers County Local Health Authority:

County Closures

– All County-owned rental facilities (community centers, arenas, etc.) are closed until April 28th . Parks are currently still open.

– All County libraries will be closed until April 28th.

– The 344th District Court is closed for two weeks.

– No County Court judicial proceedings until April 28th.

– County Solid Waste Permit renewals (dump stickers) are suspended until April 28th. If you have a sticker that has expired, you will be allowed to dump. If you need a new sticker you will have to purchase one as normal.

Recommendations for the Community

– Local places of assembly (restaurants, churches, places where people gather) are encouraged to follow current CDC guidance, which recommends not to have gatherings of more than 10 people. This guidance is voluntary at this time.

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LOCAL SCHOOLS PROVIDE MEALS FOR STUDENTS

Local school districts provide meals for students.

Barbers Hill ISD

Will be serving lunch from 11a-12p each day only for families in need at Elementary School South.

Goose Creek ISD

GCCISD will offer Grab and Go breakfast and lunch for all children (18 and under) on weekdays, starting Monday, March 16th, for lunch from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Breakfast will be served, starting Tuesday, March 17th, weekdays from 8-9 a.m. Adults can purchase breakfast for $2.50 and lunch for $2.85

OFFICIALS CONFIRM 13TH CASE OF CORONAVIRUS IN HOUSTON AREA

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Health Director Umair Shah, at press conference last Thursday on Coronavirus.

Events Cancelled, Stock Market Down

UPDATED – March 10, 2020 – Health Officials confirmed the second case of coronavirus in the City of Houston, making a total of 13 in Houston and Fort Bend, Harris and Montgomery County areas. (NOTE: This number may change as days go by.)

The female patient, in the 60 to 70 age range, is part of the same group of travelers to Egypt associated with recent cases announced in Fort Bend County and Harris County. She is currently hospitalized and stable.

Harris County has established several phone numbers that the public can use to gain up-to-date information, or help reaching a healthcare professional. If you are without access to healthcare, call 713-634-1110. If you want information, call the Harris County Health Department at 832-393-4220.

HOUSTON, Texas – Harris County Public Health (HCPH) confirmed last Thursday four more cases of Coronavirus, bringing the total confirmed or presumptive to 13 in areas surrounding Harris County.

As a result of the health concerns, and to avoid spreading the virus, many schools and groups cancelled events. The Stock Market dropped 15% in a week, but slowly regained.

The new cases involved four people in their 60s who were exposed to the virus during a trip to Egypt last month. The 70- year-old from Fort Bend took the same trip and this case was confirmed last Wednesday by a Houston laboratory.

Three of the patients with coronavirus are hospitalized in stable condition and one is self-quarantined at home with mild symptoms, health officials stated. The others have cases have been resolved.

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