5 things for Houstonians to know for Tuesday, Nov. 24

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Here are things to know for Tuesday, Nov. 24:

1. US agency ascertains Biden as winner, lets transiton begin

The General Services Administration has ascertained that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election. President Donald Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said Monday that he is directing his team to cooperate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight.

The move clears the way for the start of the transition from Trump’s administration and allows Biden to coordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20.

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2. Abbott: Health care workers helping COVID-19 patients among first to receive coronavirus vaccine in Texas

Health care workers likely to provide direct care for COVID-19 patients and other vulnerable residents will likely be the first group to receive the coronavirus vaccine in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of State Health Services announced Monday.

The coronavirus vaccine will be distributed across the state as early as next month, Abbott’s office said.

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3. Mayor Turner urges Houstonians to follow Thanksgiving protocols as COVID-19 positivity rate reaches 8.8%

Mayor Sylvester Turner encouraged Houstonians Monday to follow health and safety protocols during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Turner announced the city’s positivity rate and current COVID-19 cases ahead of the holiday weekend. He said the Houston Public Health Department reports 463 new cases and three new deaths as of Monday. Turner said the city’s positivity rate is now 8.8% -- last week it was 7.9%.

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4. Houston close to surpassing two-decade homicide record as murder rate continues to soar

Houston’s murder rate is surging and the Houston Police Department is investing $4 million into trying to tamp it down. But over the weekend, the numbers continued to surge with five new killings.

Houston’s murder rate is surging, now up 44% year to date, with a total of 358 homicides. Officials said nearly 50 homicides have been reported since mid-October.

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5. The Salvation Army gives out 500 gift cards to local families in need

Vehicles waited in line for hours Monday in Pasadena as The Salvation Army handed out gift cards to families in need.

Instead of serving up food boxes, The Salvation Army gave out money. They handed out 500 gift cards from Walmart valued at $30 each, courtesy of a $15,000 grant.

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