Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: April 21, 2020

Harris County appoints Walle ‘Recovery Czar’ to lead relief from COVID-19 crisis

Houston appoints Marvin Odum to lead city’s efforts

HARRIS COUNTY — April 20, 2020 — County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Monday selected State Representative Armando Walle to lead the COVID19 pandemic relief and recovery effort on her behalf. As Harris County COVID19 Relief and Recovery Czar, Rep. Walle is tasked with leading the effort to drive the region’s economic recovery. He will join the Houston relief and recovery Czar in this effort and jointly they will convene community and government stakeholders as necessary.

“State Rep. Walle is uniquely positioned to build consensus across Harris County’s diverse communities to help our region emerge from the COVID-19 disaster. As a leader in the state Legislature on issues of health, safety, and the economic well being of families, he’s a champion for the important priorities that we want to make sure are in the forefront of this relief and recovery effort,” Judge Hidalgo said. “Like the rest of the world, Harris County will not be the same when this crisis abates. But with inclusive, fast and coordinated planning, we will build an economy and a social services network that gives every resident the tools they need to thrive once again.”

A Harris County native, Rep. Walle is a graduate of the University of Houston School of Law and has served in the Texas Legislature since 2009. Rep. Walle serves on the Business and Industry Committee, serves as Vice Chair of the Land & Resource Management Committee, and serves on the Federalism & Fiscal Responsibility Committee.

(more…)

Governor plans to reopen state

Governor Greg Abbott at a new conference in Austin last Friday, announcing steps to re-open the state.

By Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott last Friday, April 17, 2020, announced initial steps to re-open the Texas economy as it continues to reel from the coronavirus pandemic.

During a news conference at the Texas Capitol, Abbott said Texans’ efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus were paying off.

“We’re now beginning to see glimmers that the worst of COVID-19 may soon be behind us,” Abbott said. “We have demonstrated that we can corral the coronavirus.”

To get the economy going again, Abbott named a “statewide strike force” chaired by James Huffines, the Austin banker and former UT regent. The task force staff will be led by Mike Toomey, a veteran lobbyist who was chief of staff to Abbott’s predecessor, Rick Perry.

Abbott offered a host of names that will advise the task force, including fellow statewide officials, top medical experts and business leaders.

After naming the task force, Abbott said he was issuing an executive order loosening the restrictions he previously put in place on non-essential surgeries.

(more…)

Harris County Expands COVID-19 Testing

One of 14 Drive-thru test sites in Harris County, at Forest Brook MS.

Mobile Units to Reach All Precincts, Conduct 1,200 Tests Per Day

HARRIS COUNTY – County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced last Monday, April 13, 2020, that two new Harris County Public Health (HCPH) mobile units will provide drive-through testing for COVID-19, adding up to 200 tests per day to the county’s current testing capacity. Each pop-up site, which will rotate locations across the precincts starting Tuesday, will be able to make up to 100 drive-through tests per day. Additionally, testing capacity at HCPH’s two existing stationary sites will increase to 500 tests per location, per day, starting Wednesday.

These two units are in addition to 13 Drive-Thru sites around the county, both public and private. These include 2 Harris County sites, 2 City of Houston sites, 4 free sites by UMMC, and 3 sites by MD Medical.

“Until we make testing accessible to everyone who needs it, we will not be able to fully tackle this disease in Harris County,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “These efforts are a key step forward, but they’re not enough. We have to be nimble. We have to reach underserved communities and expand our ability to help folks identify if they are sick, and isolate immediately.”

The pop-up testing locations were identified in coordination with Harris County Precincts. To be tested, residents must complete online screening via ReadyHarris.org and obtain an authorization code. Once confirmed they meet the criteria for testing, residents will be provided an appointment time and directed to a testing site closest to them. Walk-ins will be turned away.

Testing sites will be allocated to the precincts from Monday through Saturday, spending three days in two precincts, and three days in the other two precincts.

All individuals can access the online screening tool at readyharris.org. Individuals without access to a computer or Internet can call the Harris County Public Health COVID-19 resource line at 832-927- 7575.

DETAILED LIST OF TEST SITES:

(more…)

County orders Masks to be worn in public

Harris County, Texas — April 22, 2020 — Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on Wednesday issued an order requiring residents to wear masks when in public for the next 30 days, beginning on Monday, April 27, 2020 and will continue until May 26, 2020 at 11:59 pm. The order requires individuals over the age of 10 to wear a face covering, which can be a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or handkerchief, when outside the home. Medical masks or N-95 respirators are not recommended as they are needed for health-care workers and first responders.

Masks should cover the nose and mouth, and must be worn except when an individual is exercising or engaging in physical activity outside alone; alone in a separate indoor or outdoor space; eating or drinking; when driving; or when doing so poses a threat to their health, mental health, or safety. Masks are not required when an individual is in the presence of only members of their residence.

“When it comes to fighting this virus, each of us is capable of committing heroic acts by making adjustments in how we live our daily life,” said Judge Hidalgo. “Steps like wearing a face covering, getting tested, and staying home save lives and reduce transmissions, which will get our economy back online sooner. I’m heartened by the number of residents who have already been following guidance to wear face coverings already, but we are in this for the long haul. The best way to get our economy back up and running again – and keep it open – is by making sure we’re working together to prevent the spread of this virus. Wearing face coverings is a vital piece of our playbook.”

The order comes as an uptick in hospital admissions indicates the region has not yet reached the peak of the Coronavirus outbreak. During the past week, the county has doubled its testing capacity and dispatched mobile testing units to all four precincts. (more…)

METROLift to deliver groceries to families in need

Pictured from left to right, METRO’s Senior Director of Contracted, Paratransit and Micro Transit Services, Art Jackson; Executive Director, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Gabe Cazares; Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner; and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo

METROLift is partnering with the city of Houston, the Houston Food Bank, Walmart and Sam’s Club to make sure no family goes hungry during the COVID-19 crisis. Today, the city announced the program to deliver groceries to those in need.

Thanks to a $30,000 donation from Walmart, beginning Friday, April 24, METROLift will make 500 grocery deliveries each week. The agency is proud to support this worthy cause while the city and county’s “Stay Home” order remain in effect.

Anyone interested in signing up, or learning more about the program can call 832-394-0814 or go to the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Website: houstontx.gov/disabilities/

(more…)

AISD school nurses use their talents to create hundreds of masks

Spence Elementary School nurse Deborah Stevenson models one of the many masks she sewed for Aldine ISD employees to wear when they distribute Chromebooks to Aldine ISD students this week.

When Maisha Guillory, Aldine ISD program director of health services, presented a challenge to her school nurses, she was overwhelmed with the response. And did they respond in a big, big way!

Guillory asked a number of AISD school nurses to create masks to help protect district employees while they distributed Chromebooks to Aldine ISD students April 15 and 17. The masks were used as a preventative in response to the Covid 19 pandemic.

“I am so proud of our nurses,” Guillory said. “They stepped up to the plate and used their talents to create hundreds of masks for their fellow Aldine employees. They not only tend to the needs of their students, but they came to the aid of Aldine’s staff and the community as well.”

The nurses who created the masks were Deborah Stevenson of Spence Elementary School, Sofia Salazar of Dunn Elementary School, Emily Carter of Vines Primary School, Cindy Albee of Lane School, Sheri Quada of Aldine Education Center, Susan Klosterboer of Goodman Elementary School, Beverly Kelly of Cypresswood Elementary School, Cynthia Crafts of Odom Elementary School, Tequia Babineaux of Carver High School, Linda Linzy of Hambrick Middle School and Tawanna Chargois of Caraway Elementary School.

(more…)