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Posts published in “Day: June 18, 2020”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo implements new COVID-19 public threat level system

4-level, color-coded system to help residents navigate current state of virus spread.

Harris County Hospital Admissions Reach Highest Level to Date

Harris County, Texas – June 11, 2020 — As hospital admissions for COVID-19 in Harris County reach their highest level ever, today County Judge Lina Hidalgo unveiled a new public threat level system designed to help residents understand the threat level from COVID-19 and provide clear guidance on steps the general public must take to protect themselves, their community, and support the conditions to avoid a crisis and sustainably reopen the local economy.

The system, informed by the latest data from local health authorities, research institutions, and public health experts, informs a color-coded level indi-levels: Level 1 severe (red), Level 2 significant (orange), Level 3 moderate (yellow), and Level 4 minimal (green). Along with the level of transmission are actions residents should follow: Stay home, (red); minimize all contacts (orange); stay vigilant (yellow); and resume normal contacts (green). To help residents easily understand and navigate the current level of risk, the county has shared an indicator dial on readyharris.org, along with descriptions of the latest data-driven community guidelines.

“We all want to get back to work, see our friends, hug our family, go out to eat, and resume our livelihoods without limitations, but we still have a long road ahead of us to end this epidemic,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “We owe it to our residents to make sure we’re providing clear, consistent, and data-based information to keep them as healthy and safe as possible. Our only way out of this crisis is for our community to work together to avoid further uncontrolled transmission of this virus so that we can be in a position to reopen our economy in a way that is sustainable over the long term.”

Regardless of current level indicated, all residents should continue the use of social distancing, frequent hand washing, and the use of face coverings until there is a vaccine or a treatment for the virus. Additionally, residents exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days regardless of level indicated.

Consistent with the latest threat data the current level of the advisory system is set to Level 2 (orange): minimize all contacts.

Information and public guidance posture for each level is as follows:

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Search continues for Vanessa Guillen, soldier who vanished from Fort Hood

Army Private First Class Vanessa Guillen 20 has been missing for 2 months without a trace. Last seen April 22 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood. Her Military Occupational Specialty is a 91F, Small Arms/Artillery Repairer. (Photos provided by Guillen family)

EXCLUSIVE Reward increased to $50K

By Allan Jamail

Houston, Tx. – June 15, 2020 — North Channel Star photo journalist Allan Jamail interviewed Mayra Guillen, the missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen’s sister, to obtain this story.

Mayra said, “My sister loved the army. She dreamed about wanting to serve the country. She joined right after graduating from Houston’s César E. Chavez High School at age 18. She graduated in the top 15% of her high school class. In school she was athletic; she liked sports jogging and soccer. At the base she loved to jog and exercise in the gym.”

“Upon joining the army first she was sent to South Carolina for boot camp, and then Virginia for training, before lastly being station at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. She lived on the base because from our Houston home to the base, it’s a three hour drive.”

“She enjoyed Fort Hood until recently, but then something changed. Shortly before her disappearance she began acting unusual and had trouble sleeping. This never happened before. She finally told our mother (Gloria) she was being sexually harassed by one of her sergeants. Mother tried to convince her to give her the name of the harassing sergeant, but she didn’t want to get mother involved or in trouble. She also said he would follow her whenever she would go jogging or to exercise and how uncomfortable he made her feel. She said she knew of other female soldiers who had reported sexual harassment and the Army didn’t believe them. She felt she could put a stop to it herself. She was ready to take care of his harassment near the time of her disappearance.”

“From the bottom of my heart, I strongly believe my sister is alive. I believe whoever is keeping her hostage is doing it for a reason, because they know that at this point if we find her deceased, it’s going to be much worse, I just hope they’re keeping her okay,” Mayra concluded.

Vanessa’s mother Gloria said, “My nights are long with agony and sadness to think my daughter is suffering so much and being kept away from her family.”

She wants the case to be led by the FBI. The Army Criminal Investigation Command now leads the investigation.

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Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia exposed to deadly virus, self-quarantined

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

Houston, TX. – June 16, 2020 – Today Congresswoman Garcia told NC Star writer Allan Jamail that she’s in self-quarantine because of being exposed to a family member who had recently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

After consulting with her physician and the Attending Physician of the United States Congress, the Congresswoman went into self-isolating for the period of time recommended by the CDC.

Today Garcia said, “I’m thankful my #COVID19 test came back negative, but I still need to self-isolate and watch for symptoms out of an abundance of caution.”

“Working on behalf of the people of the Texas 29th Congressional District in the midst of this pandemic is my highest priority and I will be taking the necessary precautions to make sure I can continue fighting for our community. I want this to serve as a reminder for everyone in the Houston region and across the country that we are still combating COVID-19 and that everyone should be following public health guidelines that will help keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy,” she said.

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Harris County COVID-19 relief fund to open public application for aid

HOUSTON, TX (June 17, 2020) – The Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund will open its public application to all eligible Harris County residents in its second phase of fund deployment. The public application will be open Tuesday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

“The fund’s main goal is, and always has been, to help those most vulnerable in our communities,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “That’s why, in the design of this process, it was paramount that this application be as intuitive and accessible as possible for all members of our community. We’ve taken extra steps to establish two ways to apply, extend the hours the application will be open, and ensure language and time accessibility for those with different working schedules.”

To ensure a fair, accessible application process, the public can access the application in two ways once it opens: online or over the phone. Applications will not be accepted at the Greater Houston Community Foundation office.

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18 yr. old Swimmer drowns in San Jacinto River

Gilberto Martinez drowned while swimming in the San Jacinto River last week.

HOUSTON – The body of a teen swimmer was found in the San Jacinto River after he went missing Wednesday morning, June 10, 2020, prompting search and rescue efforts from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Houston Police Dive Team.

Deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit searched the river near the intersection of Guinn Avenue and Riverside Street in the Magnolia Gardens Park area.

Relatives who took the teen to the river have identified him as Gilberto Martinez, 18, from El Salvador.

Mario Recinos, the teen’s uncle, said Martinez tried swimming to the other bank but struggled 3/4 of the way. Recinos said his nephew started yelling for help around 10 a.m., but the currents were too strong for anyone to get near the teen. Recinos said he even borrowed a stranger’s kayak but was unsuccessful.

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HARRIS COUNTY COVID-19 Recovery Czars announce Housing relief program

Harris County Czar Armando Walle announces housing relief.

Recovery Czars Rep. Armando Walle and Marvin Odum Launch Effort to Reduce Evictions and Maintain Affordable Housing

Harris County, Texas – Thursday, June 11, 2020 – County and city recovery leaders on Thursday announced the formation of a task force to prevent evictions while bridging gaps in housing stability that have been exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Housing Stability Task Force, which will include stakeholders with deep experience in the community who touch all points of the housing stability cycle, will align resources to address evictions while developing strategies and recommendations to strengthen the region’s housing delivery system. Although the city and county each have independent czars leading their respective COVID19 recovery efforts, city and county leadership decided to unify their efforts to deal with the unprecedented housing crisis through the creation of a joint task force.

“Evictions were a serious issue before the COVID-19 pandemic, and they will continue to be of great concern throughout the course of the economic downtown. We unfortunately anticipate a substantial increase in the volume in the weeks and months ahead, and we are determined to make our best attempt at proactive planning to reduce as many as we can. The Houston region had systemic barriers to affordable housing before COVID, and the current crisis has exposed in plain sight the underlying system shortcomings,” said State Rep. Armando Walle, Harris County Recovery Czar. “With key players at the table, working together toward the same end goals, we will structure our efforts to be responsive to the immediate crisis, even as we maintain a firm resolve not to lose sight of the importance of future work required to make housing stability a reality for more people.”

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Rotary welcomes two new members

North Shore Rotary Club admitted two new members at their regular weekly luncheon, last Thursday. However, this is the first time in 3 months that the club held an “in-person” meeting, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting was held at the Rotary Pavilion behind the Harris County courthouse on Wallisville, and was a sign that the parks and the county are returning to more of a normal state. Seen above, new members Mini and Bethany, with Rotarians Shawn Sillman, Derrill Painter, and president Ryan Dagley.