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Posts tagged as “public health”

Houston Methodist Leads Vaccination Effort to End Pandemic

Houston Methodist Baytown Chief Nursing Officer Becky Chalupa gives vaccination to Chief Medical Officer/Chief Quality Officer Dr. Shawn Tittle

BAYTOWN — (December 18, 2020) — Following this week’s historic roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine, Houston Methodist has provided more than 4,373 vaccines across the Houston Methodist system and over 530 at Houston Methodist Baytown for physicians, nurses and staff to ensure that they can continue to care for patients in the safest possible environment.

The vaccine is currently only being given to health care workers, with priority given to nurses, physicians and other providers in direct contact with patients. On Wednesday, December 16, the first day that the vaccine was made available in Baytown, more than 205 hospital employees received their COVID-19 vaccinations.

The arrival of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine marks a true turning point in the fight against COVID-19. Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital CEO David Bernard said while there is still much work to do as the number of COVID-19 patients in the Houston area continues to rise, the vaccine brings hope that these numbers will decrease as vaccines become more readily available.

“This week has been pivotal in our fight against this virus that has impacted all of our lives for the past nine months,” Bernard said. “I want to thank Houston Methodist Baytown employees for demonstrating to their colleagues and our community how easy and safe it is to be vaccinated. The vaccine offers light at the end of the tunnel, and our hospital remains committed to helping our community emerge even stronger from the enormous challenges created by the pandemic.”

Bernard said the hospital will be focused on informing the public and patients when there is enough vaccine to begin vaccinating them and encouraging them to take it.

In late-stage clinical trials, the vaccine was found to be 95 percent effective. Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital Thoracic Surgeon Dr. Shawn Tittle, the hospital’s chief medical officer/chief quality officer, received his vaccination Wednesday and says it has proven to be extraordinarily effective and safe.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Garcia brings Covid-19 Testing with rapid results

EAST HARRIS COUNTY – Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia issued the following statement regarding Covid-19 Testing:

“I understand there are many individuals who want and need to get tested for Covid-19, but lack access or ability to travel to a designated site. To meet this critical need, I’ve partner with UHPHealth to offer income based FREE testing with rapid results at two of our community centers.

“North East Community and East Harris County Activity Center are now offering blood and nasal swab testing from 8 AM to 4 PM Monday to Saturday. The test is offered for free for those who qualify and self pay is also available. Antibodies tests are being offered and results are available within ten minutes. Antibody testing determines whether you had COVID-19 in the past and now have antibodies against the virus.”

Barbers Hill ISD set to open classes Aug. 17 amidst controversy and concern

GREG POOLE, BHISD Superintendent

CHAMBERS COUNTY – Parents in the Barbers Hill school district seem ready to send their children back to school, in spite of the threat of the COVID-19 virus rampant in the state.

Many parents are comfortable with the in-person option but the issue is causing tension between the superintendent and the Chambers County Public Health Department.

The department on Wednesday August 5th posted a letter saying it had “urged” local school boards to “take further action to protect their staff and students by delaying in-person instruction until September 8th at the earliest.”

Classes are scheduled to begin August 19 with parents having the option of starting kids online or at home, per TEA guidelines.

“With them giving the option to home school or send the kids to school, I think that eliminates a lot of the number of kids in school, which makes it easier for them to social distance,” said one parent.

The advisory applied to all school districts in Chambers County, but they have all chosen to open before the suggested date of September 8.

Barbers Hill teachers actually reported for training this week, on Monday August 10.

Other Chambers County districts include Anahuac, who will start on Wednesday August 13, and East Chambers starting on Monday August 17.

Limited visits to nursing homes now okay

HHSC to Allow Limited Visitation at Nursing Facilities and Long-Term Care Facilities State Enhances Certain Emergency Safety Rules

AUSTIN –The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) today announced limited visitation rules for nursing facilities and long-term care facilities. HHSC is also issuing enhanced emergency rules requiring additional actions by nursing facilities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation and we are constantly assessing what actions are necessary to keep residents and staff safe in these facilities,” said Phil Wilson, Executive Commissioner, Texas HHSC. “By following these procedures and rules, facilities can more effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help us achieve our shared goal of reuniting residents with their families and friends.”

“Access to family and loved ones is an important part of every resident’s health and well-being, which is why this policy shift is a move in the right direction for some of our most fragile Texans,” said Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (SD18), Chair, Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.

“Today’s announcement is a critical first step for every person in a longterm care facility and their loved ones,” said Rep. James Frank (HD-69), Chair, Texas House Committee on Human Services. “This decision underscores that state leaders recognize the need to balance the emotional and physical health impacts of isolation against the serious dangers that COVID poses to these vulnerable Texans.”

COVID MASKS new policy for Houston

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner announced today that he has directed the Houston Police Department to issue warnings and citations to anyone not wearing a face mask or face covering required by the state’s mandatory mask order. Police will not ticket those who are not wearing a mask if they meet the exemption criteria. The citation carries a $250 fine.

“We know that wearing a mask or face-covering in public is one of the most effective methods to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Lives are at stake, so I am taking this step to save lives and slow the virus from spreading in August.”

Houston police will not respond to 9-1-1 calls about people not wearing masks.

EPA Releases Preliminary Design for Remediation: WASTE PITS REMOVAL WILL HAVE MAJOR IMPACT ON AREA

Removal method of dry waste inside cofferdam

Plan will cause Seven years of noise, dust, truck traffic

HIGHLANDS – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just released many volumes of reports from the GHD Consulting Engineering firm, detailing their ideas for how to remove the toxic wastes from the North and South Impoundments along the San Jacinto River, known as the Superfund Site.

The report is extremely long and detailed, consisting of 10 volumes of information for the Northern Impound Site, and Two volumes for the Southern Impound Site. In total, there are many thousands of pages with data, drawings, boring logs, and most important a Work Plan on how to remove the waste material, and how it will impact the environment around the communities of Highlands and Channelview.

The engineers have proposed excavation within “cells” on the Northern site, encompassed by sheet piling, and on the Southern site removal without the piling enclosures. The full extent of the work includes driving piles to form five cofferdams, dewatering the soil, excavating the material, and hauling it away to licensed landfills approximately 100 miles away. They envision one year of preparation, five years of excavation, and one year of clean-up and restoration, for a total of seven years of work.

HOUSTON & HARRIS COUNTY HEALTH DEPTS: Health order requires no in-person instruction until at least Sept. 8

Harris County, Texas – July 24, 2020, Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health (HCPH) and Local Health Authority for Harris County, and David Persse, MD, FACEP, FAEMS, Local Health Authority for the Houston Health Department, signed a joint public health order requiring all public and nonreligious private schools in Harris County to remain closed to in-person instruction until at least September 8. The start of on-campus instruction and activity may be delayed further based on ongoing monitoring and assessment of public health mitigation conditions.

The order follows the release of a provision from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) permitting schools to delay in-person instruction and a letter sent to local school districts from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Dr. Shah on July 20 strongly urging schools to delay in-person instruction given the ongoing public health crisis. Over the past several weeks, Harris County authorities have consulted with local school officials, parents, teachers, and other public health and safety experts on reopening plans and the most responsible path forward regarding school operations.

“In order for students to be able to learn and grow, they must also be healthy and safe,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “Right now, we continue to see a severe and uncontrolled spread of this virus and it would be self-defeating to reopen schools as usual for in-person instruction. We are all desperate to move on from this crisis and get life back to normal. September 8 is still likely too soon, but the truth is, the fastest way we can all work together to bring this virus under control, the sooner we will be in a position to reopen again for the long term.”

Local schools adjust start dates for academics, athletics

CROSBY-HIGHLANDS – Crosby schools are scheduled to begin opening August 13 with virtual learning, and face-to-face classes on September 8 with an option for virtual or in-person classes. Goose Creek schools will start September 8 with three weeks of virtual classes.

Both virtual and face to face classes will happen in these districts, with face-to-face enrollment dictating the number of classes. Interactions in virtual learning will be real-time, pre-recorded and posted assignments in “Schoolology,” a software program for handling such classes.

About 6 to 8% of Crosby students do not have access to on-line or virtual learning according to a surveys taken by the school. Another survey was due in back to Crosby ISD on Tuesday. Some school board members including Tanya Eagleton have advocated legislation to fund instructional virtual access for all students.

UIL SETS ATHLETIC SCHEDULE

Covid-19 testing now at Crosby Community Center

Free COVID drive-through testing at Crosby Community Center Monday, July 20 through Friday, July 24 from 8 am to 4 pm. Pre-registration is required but can be done at the test site. Participants will hear via telephone within 24 hours to verify information and results should be received within 48 to 72 hours. Plans are working to make the center a permanent site for testing but has not been achieved yet. For more information, visit www.coronavirus.gov.

City of Dayton to resume COVID-related closures

With the State of Texas and Governor Abbott rolling back the reopening of certain businesses and returning to earlier stage restrictions, and increasing numbers of COVID positive cases in Liberty County, the City of Dayton will resume some of its earlier precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure the continuity of city services.

“We’re resuming our previous COVID 19 processes to ensure that city staff remains healthy and ready to serve our residents,” said City Manager Theo Melancon. “While City facilities will mostly close to foot traffic, the services we provide will continue unabated.”