houston Forward Times March 25 - 31, 2020
Off the Press
OP-ED: We Count Too
As a millennial in 2020, this will be the third time the Census has occurred in my lifetime. The first time it happened I was 6 years old in the first grade and my mother was pregnant with my baby sister. I remember the Census distinctively because they would play the Census commercials over and over while I was watching Nickelodeon. My mother had to still work while she was pregnant as well as raise me and my younger brother with the help of my grandmother who had just come from Nigeria to help with the pregnancy. Sometimes my mother would have to leave us at home when she had to work long hours and both her and grandma did not like opening the door for strangers. I would be home watching cartoons after school hearing the Census volunteers knock on the apartment door multiple times, and even though we were home, we would never answer. If I really think about it, I am very unsure if my changing family at the time was counted in the 2000 Census. The last time the census happened in 2010, I was a 16-year-old high school student and I made sure that we definitely did a better job of filling out the census that year. I remember actually filling it out together with my mom and what caught my eye about the census that year was the questions they asked about race. I did not think the question was inclusive at all of anyone who was an African immigrant and identifying their country of origin. I could see how confusing it could be for someone still forming their understanding of their identity in America or still on the pathway to citizenship. I share these Census stories because as the 2020 Census is quickly approaching, I applaud all the ways the Census Bureau has made the Census more accessible, but I recognize that there is still so much work to be done to ensure that everybody is counted. You can complete
the census online, by mail, or in person which is great for young people living life on the next flight like myself. Like many other millennials, I am not constantly checking my mail unless I’m expecting something from Amazon and I’m not home waiting for someone to come to my house unless we planned to meet there. The online option of the census works for me but I understand that it does not work for all of us. There are communities with limited access to the internet, single parent households where the provider has to work long hours, and immigrant families that are unsure of the information that is necessary to provide. These communities classified as “hard-tocount” are in fact some of the most necessary to count as the lack of resources for hospitals, public safety, and school infrastructure would impact them the most. There is over $675 billion in federal funding tied to this year’s census count and we cannot go through another census like the one in 2010, where over 800,000 Black people were not counted and we missed out in the Census, costing our community over $16 million dollars. We must think about the future of the Black community both present and those to be born in the next decade. This federal funding will be necessary for the world all people including young Black people will be growing up in. The NAACP as well as our collation of partners through the racial equity anchor collaborative have taken the initiative to GET OUT THE 2020 COUNT. We recognize that there are multiple factors that will inhibit a complete and accurate count of the census, so we are urging all of our members, activists, and allies to map the count. Through a very special partnership with ESRI we are able to identify the hard-tocount communities and use our power to mobilize our friends, families, and loved ones to be counted so that all of our needs are seen and heard in the 2020 Census. For more information on what you can do to make sure everyone is counted in the 2020 census visit makemyfamilycount.org/mapthecount.
Wisdom Cole National Organizing Manager, NAACP, Youth & College Division
Let’s Talk About It!
reporting the truth | affecting change | moving forward
Will the Corona Virus Hit Black Folks Harder?
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By Julianne Malveaux TriceEdneyWire.com
Restaurants, museums, libraries, gyms, and bars are closed. So are schools, from K-12 to higher education. Classes will be conducted online or not at all. A local vendor told me her receipts were down by 85 percent, and she hopes not to close before the “national emergency” is over. Our streets are deserted, with some cities asking people to “self-quarantine”, or in the words of several mayors, “stay home unless it is urgent.” The shutdowns have impacted our economy. Consumer spending is more than two-thirds of GDP. If people aren’t working, people aren’t spending. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin estimates that unemployment will rise to a scary 20 percent, just a bit lower than depression rate unemployment levels. And when America gets a cold, Black America gets the flu. Black unemployment has been twice the white unemployment rate. That means the Black community might experience unemployment of around 40 percent. That’s frightening! Why are Black folks more vulnerable? We are more likely to work in the service occupations and in the gig economy. While jurisdictions are exploring the possibility of paying people who cannot work because of quarantines, it is not clear how many will be excluded from this relief. There are talks of giving everyone with an income under $85,000 a $1000 cash payment. And then what? Meanwhile, government is planning a big bailout for airlines, hotels, cruise lines, the auto industry, and others. If these folks get a bailout, it ought to be a loan, not a gift. After all, some of these industries, notably the auto industry, got bailouts in 2008, but they were loans, not grants. Those who got grants, like the “too big to fail” banks, were supposed to
use it to pump money into the economy. Instead, they tightened credit requirements, so few could qualify for loans. The 2008 bailout was unevenly applied, and industries that didn’t have effective lobbyists did much worse than others. Many of the companies paid the government back. We need to make sure they all pay it back this time. My greatest concern is the medically vulnerable, people who have diabetes, lung disease, and heart disease, as well as those who are over 60. This includes nearly half of all African American women (47.3 percent), along with 44.8 percent of African American men. The incidence of heart disease for white women (33.8 percent) and men (37.4 percent) is significantly lower. There are racial differences in the incidence of diabetes, as well. African Americans are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than whites and twice as likely to die from the disease. African Americans are also far more likely to contract lung disease than whites, and four times more likely to die from asthma. Tests for the coronavirus seem to be in short supply. Will there be any targeted outreach to African Americans to ensure they are tested for the virus, especially because African Americans often delay doctor’s visits even when they are sick? Coronavirus knows no race, gender, or age. When the virus first hit, medical professionals, said that older people were more vulnerable than younger ones. Now, the numbers are rising for young people, and even some children have been diagnosed with the virus. It may be churlish to point out that African Americans are likely to be harder hit than other populations. When white America gets a cold, Black America gets a fever. Inequality is hard woven into our nation’s very fabric. Thus, it is hard to imagine the hardest coronavirus relief will be race neutral. African Americans are more likely than others to be unemployed, part of the gig economy, or otherwise at the economic periphery. Furthermore, recession is inevitable. Except for grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks, nothing is open. People aren’t spending because there is no place for them to spend. We don’t know how long this emergency will last – some say as long as 18 months. But we do know that recession hits Black folk, poor folk, and marginalized folk harder than it hits others. We won’t see the impact of this pandemic until after the fact. But if the past is any indication, our nation will experience a harsh blow, and for African Americans, the impact will be even more jarring. Dr. Julianne Malveaux is an economist, author, media contributor and educator. Her latest project MALVEAUX! On UDCTV is available on youtube.com. For booking, wholesale inquiries or for more info visit www.juliannemalveaux.com
houston Forward Times March 25 - 31, 2020
Nation and The World
Census Bureau Extends Decennial Count By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
In a conference call on Friday, March 20, Tim Olsen, the associated director for field operations at the Census Bureau, noted that the original end date for the 2020 census was in July. However, because of the pandemic and resulting delays, the deadline now extends to the middle of August. The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it would delay its decennial count by at least two weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a conference call on Friday, March 20, Tim Olsen, the associated director for field operations at the Census Bureau, noted that the original end date for the 2020 census was in July. However, because of the pandemic and resulting delays, the deadline now extends to the middle of August. Al Fontenot, the Census Bureau’s associated director for decennial programs, added that 18.6 million households have already answered questionnaires, many of them doing so online. Fontenot stated that the bureau’s website went live a week ago, and residents began receiving notices to participate either online or by mail. Fontenot did lament the unforeseeable outbreak of the coronavirus. “Of all of our worst nightmares of things that could have gone wrong with the census, we did not anticipate this set of
actions,” Fontenot said. “But our staff has been extremely resilient about looking for solutions.” During the call, bureau officials noted that field operations had been suspended because of measures taken to protect workers and the public during the pandemic. The bureau has received over 2.8 million job applicants for temporary positions to help with the count. More than 600,000 applicants had accepted job offers, and officials said they’re seeking to hire at least another 500,000 people. The census count determines how much money a community gets from the estimated $675 billion in federal funds distributed locally for the programs that protect the health and overall well-being of citizens. The results of the census directly determine the amount of funding communities will receive for the next ten years for essential services to senior citizens, public education, heating assistance, road improvements, public transportation, police and fire departments, community block grants, and other services. For every person who is not counted, the municipality must cover the cost of these essential programs without the benefit of federal dollars. To respond to the census, visit www.2020Census.gov.
Covid-19 Is a Plague, but We Are Sticking Together By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr. Forward Times Contributor
The Coronavirus is beyond anything that I have ever witnessed. This is a nightmare. However, the difference is that it is not a six or seven-hour nightmare. Some reports suggest it may be July or August before things get back to normal. Reports say that the United States has over 26,382 active cases second only to Italy which has 42,681. Some states like New York and California are seeing its citizens being heavily impacted by this illness. In fact, both states have ordered its citizens to stay at home. I believe other states will follow suit. The theory is that the less contact we have with each other, the better off we will be. There is a new term that has entered our lexicon and that is social distancing. In simple terms we must be at least six feet from each other when having a social interaction. My wife and I went to an electronics store recently and they implemented a check-in system along with reduced hours. This type of system is probably going to be used by some other companies as well. Now Walmart has instituted what is called “senior hours”. The senior hours are from 7 am until 8:30 am. During this time, we’ll be able to do our shopping. These hours will begin on Tuesday, March 24th. As this strategy is implemented, we will see how long it lasts and what the effects will be. An interesting observation will be to watch if other businesses follow suit. My thinking is that Walmart can do it because almost every person in the United States of America shops there. Will other businesses be able to withstand the economic slowdown that senior hours might have? Public and private schools have also made concessions to the Coronavirus. Schools have closed and online instruction is being offered. Because this has been such a shock to the system, I wonder how successful this will be. I don’t know if school leaders have thought about online instruction as a long-term solution. It’s one thing to have on-line instruction for Spring Break or for a special project however it’s an entirely different beast to have it possibly for the rest of the school year. COVID-19 has raised multiple questions for educators. What happens to state-wide testing? What will student grade promotions look like this year? Will teacher evaluations be possible? Having been a teacher, I wonder if students will be tuned into this new education normal? Will students really use their computers, and will they be consistent? Suppose a student doesn’t have a computer. What will they do? As you know, most libraries are closed now. Colleges and universities are also in an educational fix. They have gone to alternative instruction as well. If you are a senior with graduation on the horizon, you are more than a bit anxious. Some colleges have already cancelled their graduation exercises and other special events. My beloved alma mater, Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte NC cancelled its commencement last week. Caution is what higher education officials should be using during this period. With the numbers rising seemingly by the hour, more testing is being done. Stay at home is now the mandate being given to citizens by city mayors and state governors. Limiting contact with each other will hopefully stem the tide of the coronavirus. Television and radio are giving us almost around the clock information on this modernday plague. Our country’s mantra is now stick together and stay together. We are going to get through it, and It will be because of His grace and His mercy. The views and opinions expressed in this article is that of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Forward Times Publishing Co.
If I could do one thing, I’d make sure we stay healthy. If you could do one thing for your community, what would it be? More walk-in clinics? More funding for health services closer to home? Completing the 2020 Census is a safe and easy way to inform billions in funding for hundreds of services and programs in your community. Respond online, by phone, or by mail.
Complete the census at:
2020CENSUS.GOV Paid for by U.S. Census Bureau.
houston Forward Times March 25 - 31, 2020
CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 Information Provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
What is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.
Can people in the U.S. get COVID-19?
STOP THE SPREAD OF GERMS Help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Yes. COVID-19 is spreading from person to person in parts of the United States. Risk of infection with COVID-19 is higher for people who are close contacts of someone known to have COVID-19, for example healthcare workers, or household members. Other people at higher risk for infection are those who live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Learn more about places with ongoing spread at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/about/transmission.html#geographic.
Have there been cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.? Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Yes. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on CDC’s webpage at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us. html.
How does COVID-19 spread? The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but is now spreading from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses at https://www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of • fever • cough • shortness of breath
What are severe complications from this virus? Some patients have pneumonia in both lungs, multi-organ failure and in some cases death. If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include: • Trouble breathing • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest • New confusion or inability to arouse • Bluish lips or face *This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Groups at Higher Risk: COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include: • People aged 65 years and older o 8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older. • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility Other high-risk conditions could include: • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma o People with asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease. • People who have heart disease with complications • People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment • People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [(BM]I)≥40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk • People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
Among adults with confirmed COVID-19 reported in the U.S.: Estimated percent requiring hospitalization o 31-70% of adults 85 years old and older o 31-59% of adults 65-84 years old • Estimated percent requiring admission to intensive care unit o 6-29% of adults 85 years old and older o 11-31% of adults 65-84 years old • Estimated percent who died o 10-27% of adults 85 years old and older o 4-11% of adults 65-84 years old •
Treatment: There is currently no specific treatment for or vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
For more information: www.cdc.gov/COVID19 CS314915-A
For more information visit www.cdc.gov
To get information about the Novel Coronavirus Call 211 Sealed Bid Solicitation #MB11-20
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If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*: • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest • New confusion or inability to arouse • Bluish lips or face *This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Interim Guidance for Implementing Home Care of People Not Requiring Hospitalization for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Information Provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
This interim guidance is for staff at local and state health departments, infection prevention and control professionals, and healthcare personnel who are coordinating the home care and isolation of people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection, including persons under investigation. This includes patients evaluated in an outpatient setting who do not require hospitalization (i.e., patients who are medically stable and can receive care at home) or patients who are discharged home following a hospitalization with confirmed COVID-19 infection. In general, people should adhere to home isolation until the risk of secondary transmission is thought to be low. Preventing COVID-19 from Spreading in Homes and Communities: Interim guidance that may help prevent COVID-19 from spreading among people in homes and in communities. This document does not apply to patients in healthcare settings. CDC will update this interim guidance as needed and as more information becomes available. Assess the Suitability of the Residential Setting for Home Care In consultation with state or local health department staff, a healthcare professional should assess whether the residential setting is appropriate for home care. Considerations for care at home include whether: • The patient is stable enough to receive care at home. • Appropriate caregivers are available at home. • There is a separate bedroom where the patient can recover without sharing immediate space with others. • Resources for access to food and other necessities are available. • The patient and other household members have access to appropriate, recommended personal protective equipment (at a minimum, gloves and facemask) and are capable of adhering to precautions recommended as part of home care or isolation (e.g., respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, hand hygiene); • There are household members who may be at increased risk of complications from COVID-19 infection (.e.g., people >65 years old, young children, pregnant women, people who are immunocompromised or who have chronic heart, lung, or kidney conditions). Provide Guidance for Precautions to Implement during Home Care A healthcare professional should • Provide CDC’s Interim Guidance for Preventing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) from Spreading to Others in Homes and Communities to the patient, caregiver, and household members; and • Contact their state or local health department to discuss criteria for discontinuing any such measures. Check available hours when contacting local health departments.
For more information visit www.cdc.gov
houston Forward Times March 25 - 31, 2020
Houston Local Grocer Hours Please note that store information is subject to change. Central Market by H-E-B: Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Curbside pickup and delivery available. Fiesta Mart: Open 8 a.m. daily with changing closing times, depending on when they need to restock. Food Town: Open 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily. Senior hours 7–8 a.m. daily. Delivery available. H-E-B: Open 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily. Curbside pickup and delivery available. H-Mart: Open 8 a.m.–10 p.m. daily. Kroger: Most stores open 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily. Curbside pickup and delivery available. Randalls: Open 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily. Curbside pickup and delivery available. Whole Foods Market: Open 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily. Delivery available through Amazon Prime. Walmart: Open 7 a.m.–8:30 p.m. daily. E Every Tuesday from March 24–April 28, for an hour before the store opens, will be a shopping time for seniors only.
HISD @ H.O.M.E. Distance Learning Plan Provides Essential Resources for Students Online The Houston Independent School District is launching HISD @ H.O.M.E. (Home-based Online Mobile Education), a distance learning plan to ensure students’ academic and non-academic needs are met as the district remains closed due to COVID-19 precautions. Students and parents will be able to access the site on their school’s main landing page by clicking on the HISD @ H.O.M.E. icon or visiting the site at: HoustonISD.org/HOME The HISD @ H.O.M.E. distance learning plan includes curriculum by grade level and subject matter that is designed to maintain productive instruction for students using computers, laptops, tablets, iPads or smartphones. Instruction will be available online as follows: Week of March 23: Students will be able to log in and interact with the digital resources Week of March 30: Curriculum-based lessons and activities will go live Webinars will be held to assist parents with accessing the digital instructional materials. The webinar schedule will be announced soon. Also, beginning the week of March 23, HISD teachers will reach out to families to establish each student’s digital curriculum access needs so campuses can determine the number of paperbased curriculum resources schools need to provide to families. A survey is available online at: https://www. surveymonkey.com/r/9VPFZ5Q All HISD high school students (grades nine through 12) have district-issued laptops. Additionally, Social and Emotional Learning is working to upload online lessons, activities, and videos that students and parents can engage in at home, while HISD Wraparound Services is also working on similar communications and virtual supports. Current precautions call for all HISD schools and district offices to remain closed through Friday, April 10, with classes resuming on Monday, April 13. Please continue to visit HoustonISD.org/ HealthAlerts for additional information and updates.
houston Forward Times March 25 - 31, 2020
Where You Can Get Tested for COVID-19 in the Houston Area
Health professionals and public officials are facing mounting pressure to test communities for COVID-19, as the number of confirmed cases increases and the virus spreads throughout communities across the country. Although health providers across the country are dealing with a shortage of tests, in part due to a lack of testing swabs, Texas has lagged behind much of the rest of the country when it comes to prevention and containment, according to a recent analysis from WalletHub. Because of that shortage, people exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms may be refused testing, meaning there are likely more people in the community who have the disease than is reflected in the numbers, according to health officials. The lack of testing is in part why self-quarantine and social distancing are critical tools to prevent the spread of disease, according to Dr. Dona Murphey, a neurologist and community organizer in Houston. “Testing at this point is for a disease that has no vaccine and has no cure,” said Murphey, who started a petition to Governor Greg Abbott to include health professionals in the government response to the crisis. “The purpose it serves for the general public is really to illustrate to them that it’s actually a real problem, that this thing is really widespread.” Murphey said measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 should be a top priority for everyone, especially people exhibiting symptoms, and that healthcare workers should be favored for testing, since they are in direct contact with vulnerable patients on a daily basis and are more likely to be exposed to the virus.
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Testing Sites (as of March 23, 2020): United Memorial Medical Center has free COVID-19 testing at 510 W. Tidwell Road. The hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. Who can access the tests? The testing program will begin by testing only the highest-risk individuals. Register online for a pre-screening test at https://www.ummcscreening.com/. Legacy Community Health has COVID-19 testing at three of their Houston locations and one Beaumont location. • Legacy Fifth Ward, 3811 Lyons Ave. • Legacy Montrose, 1415 California St. • Legacy Southwest, 6441 High Star Dr. • Legacy Central Beaumont, 450 North 11th St., Beaumont Who can access the tests? Legacy has said it will only test those who screen positive for the virus, meaning: • Those who are experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other respiratory conditions. • Only if they are over the age of 65, or have a chronic medical condition. Underlying conditions or those who are immunocompromised can include pregnancy, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, or a transplant recipient. It is not necessary to call ahead before going to one of the locations. Patients with questions should call a primary care physician or Legacy’s contact center at 832-548-5000. All testing is done on a sliding scale, and the clinics will bill insurance companies for those who are covered, Legacy said. MD Anderson’s Diagnostic Imaging Clinic in Bellaire has been repurposed to offer COVID-19 testing to current MD Anderson patients and employees only. Who can access the tests? Only MD Anderson patients and employees who meet certain screening requirements, the hospital system said. “Testing is by appointment only and no walk-ins are permitted. Current MD Anderson patients who think they may need testing must call their MD Anderson clinic for further direction. MD Anderson employees must first contact Employee Health.” My Family Doctor has one drive-thru testing facility, at 6430 Hillcroft Ave., open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Who can access the tests? “You should not visit our testing center unless you have fever and/or symptoms of respiratory illness (e.g., dry cough),” My Family Doctor said. Priorities include older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, or who are otherwise in “an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor outcomes (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease).” People who have come into contact with a person with a suspected or confirmed case of the illness in the last 14 days, or who have a history of travel in areas identified by the CDC as at-risk countries, are also priorities. For the latest information on testing, including costs, head to My Family Doctor’s website. This testing site is currently cash only. They advise all patients to bring $150 cash for the test just in case they cannot verify your insurance. The clinic says they cannot process more than 120 vehicles per day, so they will stop allowing patients to line up for the drive thru as early as 10 a.m. Harris County Public Health and the City of Houston are expected to open a total of four testing sites in partnership with FEMA. The City’s first location opened March 20. Two county sites opened over the weekend to test first responders and healthcare workers, and each of those locations can test up to 250 people per day. The public-private partnership offering the tests includes Texas Medical Center institutions Houston Methodist, Memorial Hermann and CHI St Luke’s Health, and HCA Houston Healthcare. Who can access the tests? The City’s first testing site was initially only for first responders and healthcare workers. As of Monday, March 23, the site is open to symptomatic medical professionals, first responders, people 65 and older, and people of any age with chronic illnesses. What you need to know to get tested at a City of Houston site: • First, call the Houston Health Department’s COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. • Once you’re screened over the phone, you will receive a unique identification code and instructions on where to go for testing. • You must have a unique identification code obtained through the screening process, or else you will not get tested. What you need to know to get tested at a Harris County site: • Harris County has launched an online tool to access testing. • Once you’re screened online, you will receive a unique identification number and a phone number to call to get the site location. • You must have a unique identification code obtained through the screening process, or else you will not get tested. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should contact a doctor, and Harris County residents without access to health care can call the county’s triage line at 713-634-1110 any day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with questions.
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in. People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19 • Children and teens • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call • 911 • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517) Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones • Changes in sleep or eating patterns • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating • Worsening of chronic health problems • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSAexternal icon) website. Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
or call (800) 51-FROST. For more information visit www.cdc.gov
Covonavirus- A Guide To The Pandemic presented by the Houston Forward Times.