UPDATED – March 14, 2020 – Health Officials confirmed the fifth case of coronavirus in the City of Houston, and another in Montgomery County, making a total of 27 in the Houston areas. Officials said that the recorded 5 cases in Houston, 6 cases in Harris County, 9 cases in Fort Bend County, 2 cases in Brazoria County, 1 in Galveston County, and 4 in Montgomery County. (NOTE: This number will change as days go by.)
HOUSTON – With 27 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. The scope of closures is unprecedented in modern times.
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 next week, with test centers and financial relief for those unable to work.
Last Thursday, Mayor Turner updated the public on the city of Houston’s response to containing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 at a press conference.
The mayor’s office has received questions about whether the city is going to shut down through the end of March. ”That is not true. For the month of March, we are rescheduling or canceling events that are produced, sponsored, and permitted by the city of Houston,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “The status of our grocery stores and retailers remains strong and while it is always good to buy supplies or groceries that can last for a week or two, there is no reason for you to overdo it.”
Harris County Health Officials recommend the following steps for people at higher risk. These steps are recommended until March 31, 2020 or until otherwise noted.
GUIDANCE FOR PEOPLE AT HIGHER RISK FOR SEVERE COVID-19 ILLNESS
People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others.