New initiative targeting communities hardest hit by coronavirus

HOUSTON – The city of Houston kicked off the public health campaign Better Together on Friday, by canvassing some of the most vulnerable communities in the coronavirus pandemic. Officials said they wanted to ensure families were practicing safe health precautions.

The city provided educational information to residents at the Chestnut Hill Apartments and the Mar Del Sol Apartments in southwest Houston. The information highlights four easy ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus: Wash your hands, wear a mask, social distance, and get tested.

The flier also featured a QR code with a link to free testing sites.

Albert Brooks and Nisha Harris live at the complex and said the flier is a good approach to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“I do like that they are trying to let everyone know they do have free COVID testing in the area,” Harris said.

“I think it’s important for you to be safe to protect yourself and to protect the other people around you,” Brooks said.

Harris said she is staying at home as much as possible.

“Lucky for me I work from home. I stay inside order groceries, if I can, or minimize me going and picking up,” Harris said.

The health department said the Sharpstown area has one of the high positivity rates for COVID-19 in the city. While the citywide positive rate is at 23 percent, Mayor Sylvester Turner said he wants to reduce the rate to 5 percent.

“Of the people getting a COVID 19 test, we have certain populations were those tests are more often positive than negative,” said Dr. Faith Foreman-Hays with Houston Health.

Brooks said he wasn’t aware he lived in a hot spot.

“I didn’t even know this particular area was a hot spot, but I’ve been protecting myself, social distancing, and staying at home,” he said.

The health department said they will continue to canvass areas with a high positivity rate.

“That’s the reason for the better together campaign by doing those four things washing your hands, wearing a mask, distancing yourself from people, and getting a test is how we are going to stop this,” Foreman-Hays said.