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Posts tagged as “public health”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

STEPHENS “GOING BIG” NATIONALLY

Scott and wife Melody Stephens stand outside the Pennsylvania Senate with a photograph of Cody Stephens hoping that their testimony reached the ears of lawmakers deciding what to do about sudden death among student athletes.

Quest to save lives with ECG in 7 states

CROSBY – What began here as a quest to see if sudden death of young athletes could be stemmed by ECG screening has become a national issue with seven states currently undertaking bills much like the Cody Bill HB76 having passed the Texas Legislature last year.

After five years of effort, surprisingly with significant elements of the Medical community opposing it, Texas passed the Cody Bill enabling parents of first year athletes to opt into an Electrocardiogram screening to check their athlete’s heart for anomalies before the athlete takes to the field. Previously, annually sudden death from heart attack was generally an annual event somewhere in the state.

The Cody Bill finally passed the Texas House unanimously Stephens acknowledged the work from Rep. Dan Huberty, lobbyist Kathy Grant, everyone who testified at the Public Education Committee hearing and all who wrote letters to representatives to vote in favor of HB76. The bill passed the Texas Senate on May 20 by a vote of 20-11.

Stephens then said, “It has been seven years and two weeks to the day since Cody died in my easy chair for what we would later discover was unnecessary. So, my wife, Melanie and I said let’s give this thing seven years to get passed while we show them that screenings can be done all over the state without excessive spending and save some young lives.

Cody Bill passes House with 145 – 0 vote

AUSTIN – The final vote in the House of Representatives got unanimous approval of those attending the session on Tuesday for HB 76, the Cody Stephens Bill.

According to Scott Stephens, who has made it his mission to get Texas to use E.C.G. machines in addition to the exam a doctor does with a stethoscope, “The Texas House of Representatives voted to pass HB 76 today with no opposition! This was a huge step for us and for Cody’s Law, bringing us so much closer to getting heart screening into every school across Texas.

“This is a wonderful cause for celebration. We definitely want to take a moment to acknowledge all the hard work from Rep. Dan Huberty, lobbyist Kathy Grant, everyone who testified at the Public Education Committee hearing, and all of you who called and wrote letters to your representatives to vote in favor of HB 76.”

CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS: Supplemental funding legislation draws from “Rainy Day Fund”

By Ed Sterling

AUSTIN — A few of the funding priorities expressed by the executive, legislative and judicial branches are not covered in Senate Bill 2, the state’s tentatively approved appropriations bill for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

So, on March 13, the Senate voted unanimously in favor of SB 500, $6 billion in supplemental funding to plug many holes. Some $4.3 billion of the total would be taken out of the Economic Stabilization (“Rainy Day”) Fund. Authored by Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, the legislation proposes the following allocations:

• $3 billion for Hurricane Harvey recovery expenses;

• $2.1 billion to address the Medicaid shortfall;

• $100 million for school safety, with an amendment that gives districts greater flexibility on the type of safety equipment they can buy;

• $300 million to improve state hospital facilities;

• $542 million to address pension liabilities for the Teacher Retirement System and provide retired teachers a “13th check” up to $500;

Community leaders travel to D.C. to demand EPA action at Superfund Sites

JACKIE YOUNG

Leaders from communities met with EPA representatives on Tuesday, March 5th, at EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., to push for action at their Superfund sites.

“We need action in our communities where people are sick and dying because of exposures to chemicals in the environment,” was the resounding cry for help from community leaders.

Jackie Young, executive director of Texas Health and Environment Alliance, discussed the San Jacinto River Waste Pits and Jones Rd Superfund Sites with the agency. “I asked the agency to finalize the Community Involvement Plan for the Waste Pits and to create a Community Health and Safety Plan for the cleanup,” said Young.

The group met with Steven D. Cook, Deputy Assistance Administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM), Peter C. Wright, Assistant Administrator of OLEM, James E. Woolford with the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) and other EPA staff. The meeting was organized by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice as part of a commitment from EPA to meet quarterly with communities at risk from Superfund sites.

Relocation of families living among some of the most toxic chemicals was an overarching issue. How can communities trigger relocation as the policy is unclear? Leaders called for a committee or task force to find ways to clarify this section of the law.