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Posts published in “Day: July 2, 2020

COVID-19 SPREAD CONTINUES: Harris County raises threat level to ‘Severe’, advises masks, stay home

Judge Hidalgo Urges Residents to Stay Home, Leave Only for Vital Needs

Harris County, Texas — June 26, 2020 — Today at noon, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo updated the county’s COVID-19 public threat level from significant (orange, level two) to severe (red, level one). Level one indicates a “severe and uncontrolled” level of COVID19, meaning outbreaks are worsening, contact tracing capacity is strained or exceeded, and healthcare surge is likely. The elevation to threat level 1 – the highest in the system – comes as a variety of data demonstrate alarming trends that are on track to overwhelm the local healthcare system.

“The harsh truth is that our current infection rate is on pace to overwhelm our hospitals in the very near future,” Judge Hidalgo said. “We hope this serves as a wakeup call to everyone that the time to act is now. I’m calling on all residents and businesses to take immediate action to help our medical community get this virus back in check before it spirals beyond control and more lives are needlessly sacrificed. Stay and work from home except for essential business. Wear a face covering if you absolutely have to be out. We’ve flattened the curve before, and we can do it again, but we need to buckle down and do this together.”

Under a level one threat, the public is urged to:

Stay home, except for the most essential needs like going to the grocery store for food and medicine

Avoid and cancel all gatherings of any size.

Essential workers practice special precautions to prevent spread.

All vulnerable individuals (65+ or with pre-existing health conditions) stay home.

Self-quarantine for 14 days if in close and prolonged contact with someone who has tested positive with COVID-19. Wear face coverings to protect others.

Avoid non-essential business and personal travel. Avoid public transportation where possible.

Cancel visits to nursing homes, long term care facilities, and hospitals.

Avoid and cancel all indoor and outdoor gatherings, including concerts, rodeos, large sporting events, etc. Schools and after-school activities for youth close, as directed by educational authorities.

Area hospitals have reached their full ICU base capacity and are now relying on surge space to treat patients. The number of daily cases and hospitalizations have also reached their highest point since the beginning of the pandemic.

Constable Race key in Early Voting

By Gilbert Hoffman

Harris County voters are currently voting by Early ballots, prior to Election Day on July 14. This is a Run-off Election, with many important positions to be decided. Winners will go to the General Election in November.

One of the races of most interest in the North Channel area is Harris County Precinct 2 Constable race, with incumbent Constable Chris Diaz facing a strong challenge from Jerry Garcia, a Lieutenant in the Precinct 3 Constables office, under Constable Sherman Eagleton. Voters have been following this race for months, since the Primary in March, with charges and innuendos thrown out by both candidates. In the Primary, Diaz got 34% of the votes, or 5081, and Garcia got 39% or 5721 votes. Neither received a majority and therefore face this run-off.

Diaz has held the office for the last 7 years, and is running on his record of accomplishments. Prior to his term as a constable, he was a councilman and mayor of Jacinto City, where he still lives. Garcia is running on his long experience as a law enforcement officer for over 22 years. He lives in the South Belt area of the Precinct.

Both candidates have accused the other of improprieties.

Update on San Jacinto River Waste Pits: EPA says deeper toxic waste means more time & money

This illustration of a typical cofferdam and dewatering process, furnished by the EPA, may be the type called for in the Design Package.

By Jennah Durant, EPA Press Office

Here is more information on recent SJR waste pits questions:

1. Have you received the 30% Design package for the South impoundment?

Yes. The 30% design package for the south impoundment was submitted to EPA on April 13, 2020.

2. Have you received the 30% Design package for the North impoundment?

Yes. The 30% design package for the north impoundment was submitted to EPA on May 28, 2020.

3. Will these documents be available to the public? When?

The documents are currently under review by the regulatory agencies. Following EPA’s review of the document and determination that the design is appropriate based on the remedy selected in the Record of Decision, EPA will make the document available to the public.

4. Regardless of whether the reports are public, could you furnish me with an executive summary or your own summation of what they say? 

• The pre-design investigations have refined the volume of waste to be removed in the north and south impoundment;

• Waste in some areas of the northern impoundment are deeper than presented in the Record of Decision;

Doctors ask Republicans to cancel Houston’s in-person convention

Dr. Diana Fite, President Texas Medical Association

By Allan & Linda Jamail

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 – Houston, TX. — Today Dr. Diana Fite, President of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) in behalf of the 53,000 members has asked the Republican Party of Texas to cancel their in-person convention in Houston. The State Republican Convention is scheduled to begin Thursday July 16 – 18 in at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

President Dr. Diana Fite in an open letter today to the Republican leadership of Texas cited the growing number of corona virus cases and hospitalizations in Harris County as a reason for the Texas Republican Party to cancel its Houston convention.

Fite said, “The County has the highest number of cases and deaths in the state. The daily chart of active cases in Harris County has been nearly a straight line upward for the past two weeks. As an emergency physician in Houston treating patients with COVID-19, I speak from firsthand experience: It would be best for the health of your convention goers and the residents of Houston for the Republican Party not to hold its biennial convention there as planned.”

GALENA PARK CURFEW: Mayor Moya talks on BBC World News

BBC NEWS, seen locally on Channel 8, interviewed Galena Park Mayor Esmeralda Moya on reasons for imposing a curfew on the city. Moya said she was prompted to order the curfew after Harris County imposed a requirement for face masks in certain businesses. She also said she is concerned about the high rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations and wants to protect the citizens of Galena Park.


Limits certain businesses and services with link to infections

AUSTIN – June 26, 2020 – Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order limiting certain businesses and services as part of the state’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. This decision comes as the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations have increased and the positivity rate in Texas increased above 10%, which the Governor previously stated would lead to further preventative action. The targeted, measured directives in the executive order are based on links between certain types of businesses and services and the recent rise in positive cases throughout the state.

The order includes the following:

All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close at 12:00 PM today. These businesses may remain open for delivery and takeout, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50% of total listed indoor occupancy, beginning Monday, June 29, 2020.

Rafting and tubing businesses must close.

Outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people must be approved by local governments, with certain exceptions.

Judge Lina Hidalgo self-quarantining after potential COVID-19 exposure

HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced that she is self-quarantining after being potentially exposed to COVID-19 last week.

The exposure came on Monday from a member of the Harris County Judge’s office, who tested positive and now is self-isolating.

Hidalgo and staff who were potentially exposed will be tested and are self-quarantining for 14 days from exposure until Monday, July 6, following the CDC guidelines. Hidalgo has not shown any symptoms.

“Given what we have learned, I will be quarantining at home. The reality of it is, there are thousands of residents across Harris County that are increasingly finding themselves in the same position I am in today,” said Judge Hidalgo. “There are rising numbers of residents testing positive for this virus, and more and more requiring hospitalization.