5 things for Houstonians to know for Monday, Dec. 14

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Here are things to know for Monday, Dec. 14:

1. Navy ends search for Texas sailor who fell overboard from ship

The U.S. Navy announced Saturday that it has called off search and rescue efforts for a 20-year-old sailor who reportedly fell overboard earlier this week from the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

The Navy said in a statement it ended the effort at sunset Saturday after it searched more than 607 square nautical miles for more than 55 hours off the coast of Southern California. The Navy has declared the man deceased.

The family has identified the missing sailor as Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Ethan Goolsby of San Antonio, Texas, Scripps affiliate KSAT reported.

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2. Houston-area hospitals prep to receive nearly 60,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in coming days

Houston-area hospitals are making preparations to receive the first allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 60,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to be distributed to hospitals in the coming days.

According to Memorial Hermann, they will receive 16,575 doses.

The state provided guidelines about who could receive that first allocation of the vaccine. The decision on the number of doses was based on a survey of the number of COVID-19 patients treated, hospitalized and the number of employees treating patients with COVID-19, according to Memorial Hermann President Dr. David Callender.

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3. LIST: Houston-area hospitals first-up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

The Texas Department of State Health Services announced nearly 95,000 doses of the COVID-19 are headed to the hospitals across the state.

About 19,500 doses will be arriving at four sites Monday. While 75,075 doses will be arriving at 19 sites on Tuesday including Memorial Hermann.

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4. More than 315,000 gig workers and independent contractors in Texas will lose unemployment relief without action from Congress

Self-employed people, gig workers and independent contractors — ride-share drivers and freelance workers — don’t typically have guaranteed wages, company-subsidized health care or sick pay. And they traditionally haven’t qualified for state unemployment benefits.

So when the coronavirus pandemic came, wiping out in-person business and prompting historic layoffs, such workers were suddenly left more vulnerable than ever. Luckily for many, Congress in March quickly passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill that allowed gig-workers and independent contractors to receive unemployment relief.

The provision of that federal relief bill is set to expire Dec. 26. Reinke is among more than 315,000 gig workers or independent contractors in Texas who are set to lose their unemployment aid when it does, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the state agency that administers unemployment aid. In all, more than 619,000 independent contractors in Texas who lost work received benefits under the program Congress created, according to the commission.

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5. Like everything else 2020, taxes will be like no other year

It’s the time of year to start thinking about taxes — but the upcoming filing season is going to be a bit trickier for many Americans due to rampant unemployment, working from home and general upheaval due to COVID-19.

Here are a few pandemic specific conditions — good and bad — to be aware of.

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