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Posts tagged as “COVID-19”

Harris County Small Business Relief Fund now open for applications

COVID relief grants from $5,000 to $25,000 available until October 4

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Pct. 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis held a new conference last Monday afternoon, September 20 to announce the start of the Harris County Small Business Relief Fund Application period. The application window will remain open until Monday, October 4 at 5:30 p.m.

On August 10, Harris County approved the $30 million relief fund to support small and micro businesses recovering from the effects of the pandemic. The Small Business Relief Fund was created with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and is being administered by LiftFund, a nonprofit organization that supports small business owners with funding and business education.

Harris County urges business owners to apply by visiting the website at www.harriscountybusinessrelief.org to review the applicant checklist to verify eligibility for this program and also to be prepared with the proper documentation needed to apply before the application portal opens.

AVOID EVICTION: Rent Relief available from Harris County

Money available for Residents Facing Eviction

HOUSTON — (August 27, 2021) — The Harris County Community Services Department has funds available for emergency rent relief for tenants living in unincorporated Harris County who are financially affected by COVID-19. The deadline to apply for aid was just extended to Nov. 30.

“People who find themselves in a bind right now may never have needed help before and they don’t know where to turn,” said Dr. Adrienne Holloway, executive director of CSD. “We want them to know we have resources and we are here to help.”

Tenant eligibility for the Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program relies on the ability to provide a copy of the lease agreement, a household income at or below 80% of area median income and proof that financial hardship is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most importantly, this program requires landlords register their property to enable tenants to participate. Landlords may be able to recover up to six months of rent (dating back to April 2020).

County offers $100 for new vaccine shots

HARRIS COUNTY – Harris County Public Health Announced New Vaccine Incentive Initiative for All First Dose Recipients on Tuesday of this week.

Residents who receive their First dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through HCPH will receive a $100 cash card.

In an effort to improve vaccination rates and better protect the residents of Harris County from COVID-19, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) will provide $100 cash cards to residents receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at an HCPH vaccination site.

Personal Responsibility urged as Positive COVID-19 Cases Increase in County

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia, Chambers County Local Health Authority Dr. William Clay Brown, Chambers County Public Health Director Mary Beth Bess and Chambers County Emergency Services Director Ron Nichols urgently appeal to Chambers County residents to take personal responsibility for their own health and actions and take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.

The COVID-19 Pandemic is wreaking havoc on the local, regional and state healthcare system, restricting the level of and speed at which emergent care can be delivered. As of the issuance of this statement, the Chambers County EMS call volume has increased 73 percent over this time last year and 67 percent of calls are to either COVID-19 positive or suspected positive patients.

Many regional hospitals have declared Internal Disasters or are unable to take patients due to lack of available beds or staff. Patients are spending an average of 96 hours in the Emergency Room before they are moved to a bed. Many are being treated in hallways and medics are being left with patients who are waiting to be admitted so that ambulances are able to return to service.

Abbott sued over mask mandate ban

A growing number of school districts, counties and cities have defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order banning mask mandates, as COVID-19 cases continue to spike due to the delta variant and a low rate of vaccination among Texans.

As KUT.org reported, officials in Dallas and Bexar counties won a first round in court in requiring masks in public schools and most government buildings. School districts in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, among others, are requiring students, teachers and staff to wear masks.

Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are appealing the initial district court decisions and have vowed to sue any government official who defies the governor’s order.

HOSPITALIZATIONS, COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO RISE

Meanwhile, the number of new cases of COVID-19, overwhelmingly among unvaccinated Texans, continues to rise with 98,383 reported in the past week along with 628 deaths, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations are approaching the peak levels of mid-January, with 11,381 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, up 27% from the week before.

As students return to classrooms across the state, the number of children in Texas hospitalized with COVID-19 is at one of its highest levels since the pandemic began. In the 19- county region around Dallas and Fort Worth, there were no staffed pediatric beds available late last week, according to KUT.org.

County returns COVID threat level to RED

Delta Variant fills Hospitals

HARRIS COUNTY – Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo raised the COVID-19 threat level to “red” on Thursday afternoon, as the COVID-19 delta variant has increased hospitalizations and strained the region’s hospital resources over the past month.

It’s the first time the county has hit its highest threat level since June 2020.

The new advisory indicates that severe and uncontrolled outbreaks are present in the community and worsening, and that the public health capacity in the region is strained or exceeded, Hidalgo said.

“It’s straining our staff, it’s straining our hospitals, and it’s imposing heartbreak and anxiety in so many families in Harris County,” Hidalgo said.

The county judge called the latest surge a “perfect storm” of strained staff, a more transmissible virus, and the limited ability for local leaders to implement public health policies after Gov. Greg Abbott issued orders preventing such measures.

Hidalgo urged everyone eligible for a vaccine to get one, or else avoid “all but the most essential interactions.” She also recommended both the vaccinated and unvaccinated wear masks, and told the public to use ERs for life-threatening emergencies only.

County returns COVID-19 threat level to Orange; urges mask wearing

HARRIS COUNTY – Judge Lina Hidalgo announced she was increasing the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level Indicator from Level 3: Yellow, the system’s second-lowest threat level, to Level 2: Orange, the system’s second-highest threat level due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Threat level 2 indicates a significant and “uncontrolled level” of COVID-19 in Harris County, meaning that there is ongoing transmission of the virus, according to the county’s COVID-19 data hub.

At this level, county officials, urge unvaccinated residents to minimize contact with others, avoid any medium or large gatherings, and visit only permissible businesses that follow public health guidance.

Hidalgo blamed the Delta variant and flattening vaccination rates for the increase in infections.

Over the past few weeks the region has been hit hard by the arrival of the Delta variant, Hidalgo said during the briefing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that the Delta variant accounts for an estimated 83 percent of new coronavirus cases in the United States. As for the region Texas is a part of, as of July 17, the variant comprises 84 percent of new coronavirus cases, Hidalgo noted.

Hidalgo also noted that the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate is doubling every 2.3 weeks, faster than at any point during the third wave of the disease in December.

“It’s not too late,” Hidalgo said. “But if we don’t act now, it will be too late for many people.”

Hidalgo also said “everybody” should resume wearing masks to protect those that aren’t vaccinated. Currently, around 2.1 million Harris County residents, 44.1 percent of Harris County’s total population, are fully vaccinated, according to the county’s COVID-19 data hub.

It’s Way Too Early to Claim Victory Over the Virus

Many Harris County Residents Still at Risk for Getting COVID-19

HARRIS COUNTY –– Don’t get too comfortable with Harris County’s decline in COVID-19 cases. At this time, 58% percent of Harris County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and almost 48% of ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated. However, that means nearly half are not and still at risk for getting the virus. To ensure cases continue to decline, more people must get fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated residents are not only at risk of contracting the virus but spreading it to others, including children under the age of 12 who can’t be vaccinated. Be cautious when you’re public with your family since most people are not wearing masks, more than half are not vaccinated and some could be infected. In addition, many people who are sick with the virus don’t know they have it. 4 out of 10 infected people have no symptoms but are still contagious. Harris County Public Health recommends all adults get vaccinated and that parents of 12- to 17 year-old children get them vaccinated.

Vaccines are free at HCPH vaccination sites throughout Harris County and no appointment is needed. To find one near you, go to vacstrac.hctx.net or call 832-927-8787.

Get Vaccinated; let’s move the Threat Level to Green

COUNTY CONNECTION
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

Since the COVID-19 virus was first detected in Harris County, we have been working non-stop to beat it. We stayed home, wore our masks, maintained social distance, and sacrificed many, many moments with friends and family. When safe, effective vaccines became available, Harris County Public Health rushed to acquire and distribute them equitably, establishing over 100 vaccination sites, including a mega distribution site at NRG stadium that has become a model for the nation. Many of our residents are getting vaccinated, moving us closer to a place where COVID-19 is no longer a major threat to vulnerable populations and our hospital capacity. Thanks to all of this hard work, we have made substantial progress in turning a corner against this virus.

Last week, based on this progress and the meeting of the relevant thresholds, I moved the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level from Level 2: Orange to Level 3: Yellow, the system’s second-lowest threat level. We should all be proud of reaching this significant milestone. Under the Yellow threat level, unvaccinated individuals should continue to mask and social distance. Fully vaccinated individuals, however, may resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where otherwise required.

We are making considerable strides, but our success is fragile.

Harris County Judge Moves COVID-19 Threat Level to Level 2: Orange

Key COVID-19 Trends Continue Downward Trajectory; Hidalgo Commends Community for Driving Indicators Down By Getting Vaccinated, Urges Continued Vigilance and Action to Reach Non-Vaccinated Population

Harris County, Texas – May 18, 2021, Judge Lina Hidalgo today announced that she is moving the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level Indicator from Level 1: Red to Level 2: Orange, the system’s second highest threat level. The move comes as a variety of indicators demonstrate significant progress in reducing the threat of COVID-19 and the availability, administration, and efficacy of vaccines for eligible age groups.

Over the past several weeks a convergence of factors has led to the lowering of the threat level. Among them, a variety of key indicators used to inform the county’s threat level system made significant improvements. These include hospital population trends, hospital usage trends, case trends, and positivity rate. Additionally, the on-demand availability of vaccines, their efficacy against variance, an increasing number of individuals getting vaccinated, and updated CDC guidance regarding mask usage and testing. These indicators have been used by the county in conjunction with health experts to make decisions about policy changes and community guidance.

“Thanks to the hard work of our residents, we have made substantial progress in turning a corner against this virus,” said Judge Hidalgo. “This is not a mission accomplished moment, but we should feel encouraged that these vaccines have helped us finally trend in the right direction. Let’s continue to pull together and help persuade friends, family members, and others those who haven’t been vaccinated to do their part.”