5 things for Houstonians to know for Monday, Jan. 25

Here are things to know for Monday, Jan. 25:

1. 2 in 5 Americans live where COVID-19 strains hospital ICUs

Straining to handle record numbers of COVID-19 patients, hundreds of the nation’s intensive care units are running out of space and supplies and competing to hire temporary traveling nurses at soaring rates. Many of the facilities are clustered in the South and West.

An Associated Press analysis of federal hospital data shows that since November, the share of U.S. hospitals nearing the breaking point has doubled. More than 40% of Americans now live in areas running out of ICU space, with only 15% of beds still available.

Intensive care units are the final defense for the sickest of the sick, patients who are nearly suffocating or facing organ failure. Nurses who work in the most stressed ICUs, changing IV bags and monitoring patients on breathing machines, are exhausted.

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2. Galveston County to open vaccine registration Monday morning

Galveston County Health officials said registration for the next round of COVID-19 vaccines will open on Monday at 9:30 a.m. County officials said 1,000 doses will be available.

The county said details on how to registered will be shared at www.gchd.org/covidvaccine and @GCHDinfo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on Monday morning.

Currently, only health care professionals and those in Phase 1B (people 65 and older or those 18 and older with certain medical conditions) are being vaccinated.

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3. Toll Road drivers: Brace yourself for some big bills

If you travel frequently on toll roads managed by the Texas Department of Transportation, you could be in for a big surprise over the next few days and weeks.

A Texas Tag system upgrade could cause major problems for your budget if you’re not prepared.

The Texas Department of Transportation started transitioning to a new operating system on November 18th. It was supposed to be complete by Dec. 7, but it took much longer. During the switch, no tolls were charged or deducted from TxTag accounts. The system was still down on Jan. 11, meaning not a single toll had been deducted from any accounts in two months. Since you don’t have to physically stop to toss in your change, you may not have noticed.

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4. This grocer knocked out H-E-B as 2020′s top grocer, report shows

Climbing two spots, Amazon is the nation’s top grocery store, according to a recent report by Dunnhumby, a global consumer science company. The e-commerce giant beat out Texas-based H-E-B, who came in second, followed by Trader Joe’s in third.

Amazon’s success is attributed to the company’s ability to be “best positioned for momentum during the pandemic and long-term success for the future,” per the report. This was the first time a shipping goods-based company landed at the top spot.

The study credit Amazon’s ability to be safe and fast amid the COVID-19 pandemic as keys to growth and stability.

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5. Mayor Turner makes plea for Deshaun Watson to stay with the Texans

Texans fans that want Deshaun Watson to stay in Houston are not alone.

On Sunday afternoon, Mayor Sylvester Turner took to Twitter to plea with the quarterback to remain with the Houston Texans.

This comes after Watson is reportedly unhappy with Texans’ ownership for not consulting him on the hiring of their new general manager, and he asked to be traded.

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