Here are things you need to know for July 16:
1. INTERVIEW: If all Texans wear masks there will be no need for lockdown, Gov. Abbott says
As the coronavirus cases in Houston and Texas continue to surge, many are wondering if Gov. Greg Abbott will issue new lockdown orders and stop schools from reopening with on-campus classes.
Abbott answered questions live on KPRC 2 Wednesday evening. Here are the questions we asked him and his answers.
2. Texas classrooms can stay closed this fall without losing state funding if local health officials order it
Local public health officials will be able to keep Texas schools closed for in-person instruction this fall without risking state education funding, a Texas Education Agency spokesperson confirmed to The Texas Tribune Wednesday.
Last week, the state's education agency released an order requiring schools to open their buildings to in-person instruction five days a week for all students who want it. The order gives districts a transition period of just three weeks at the start of the year to hold classes virtually and get their safety plans in place before allowing students back on campuses. After the three-week transition, districts that stay entirely virtual would risk losing funding.
But TEA officials confirmed Wednesday they would continue to fund school districts if local health officials order them to stay closed, as long as they offer remote instruction for all students.
3. Corpus Christi official issues plea to tourists: Stay home, we’re in ‘free fall’
Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales issued a plea Monday to tourists: Don’t come to Corpus Christi beaches and stay home.
Canales, who spoke with the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, called the request “almost unthinkable” amid “freefall (COVID-19) conditions” believed to be linked to the sheer numbers of tourists drawn to the Gulf Coast.
4. 2 new testing sites announced as COVID-19 cases spike in Houston, Harris County
As coronavirus continues to spread like wildfire in the Houston-area, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced two new testing sites to help accommodate the high volume of people seeking tests.
Houston Health Department reported 703 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the city’s total to 32,693.
The city also announced 16 new COVID-19 related death, bringing the total to 295.
5. With shortage of medical professionals in Houston area, officials warn patient care may suffer
COVID-19 patients currently fill 2,514 hospital beds, which is 28% of the general beds available in the nine-county Houston region, according to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council, the agency that keeps a daily count of available hospital beds at 12 local hospitals. More than 850 COVID-19 patients are in ICU beds, which is 45% of the ICU availability.
The lack of manpower is a big problem causing delays that can affect patient care.
3 things to share
WORD OF THE DAY
Zeitgeber [tsahyt-gey-ber] (noun) an environmental cue, as the length of daylight or the degree of temperature, that helps to regulate the cycles of an organism’s biological clock.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
July 16, 1945. The Manhattan Project comes to an end as the first atom bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“A work of art that contains theories is like an object on which the price tag has been left.” - Alexander Pope
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