5 things for Houstonians to know for Tuesday, August 3

Gerald Wayne Williams turning himself in to police at Houston Police Department headquarters on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021.
Gerald Wayne Williams turning himself in to police at Houston Police Department headquarters on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Houston Police Department)

Here are things to know for Tuesday, August 3:

1. ‘Answered prayer’: Father of teen who died in road rage incident after Astros game speaks after man charged in case turns himself in

The man suspected of a fatal road rage incident, Gerald Wayne Williams, has turned himself in at Houston Police Department headquarters, Houston police said Monday.

David Castro, 17, was fatally shot in the head July 6 following a road rage incident after he and his family left an Astros game.

Williams arrived at HPD headquarters with activist Quanell X where he was charged with murder in connection with the shooting.

“He was concerned about his safety and about turning himself into law enforcement,” said X minutes after the arrest.

Williams had been on HPD’s radar early on as HPD homicide detectives told KPRC 2 Investigates that they had several interactions with him following the shooting.

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2. US hits 70% vaccination rate -- a month late, amid a surge

The U.S. on Monday finally reached President Joe Biden’s goal of getting at least one COVID-19 shot into 70% of American adults -- a month late and amid a fierce surge by the delta variant that is swamping hospitals and leading to new mask rules and mandatory vaccinations around the country.

In a major retreat in the Deep South, Louisiana ordered nearly everyone, vaccinated or not, to wear masks again in all indoor public settings, including schools and colleges. And other cities and states likewise moved to reinstate precautions to counter a crisis blamed on the fast-spreading variant and stubborn resistance to getting the vaccine.

“As quickly as we can discharge them they’re coming in and they’re coming in very sick. We started seeing entire families come down,” lamented Dr. Sergio Segarra, chief medical officer of Baptist Hospital Miami. The Florida medical-center chain reported an increase of over 140% in the past two weeks in the number of people now hospitalized with the virus.

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3. Memorial Hermann Health System announces all workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19

Memorial Hermann Health System announced Monday that it is mandatory for all members of its workforce to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Memorial Hermann said its policy plans have been in the works for several months.

“The painstakingly gathered and reported medical research data overwhelmingly demonstrates that the COVID-19 vaccines are extraordinarily safe and effective,” said Dr. David L. Callender, president and CEO of Memorial Hermann. “Other factors contributing to the timing of this decision include the significant percentage of the Greater Houston population that remains unvaccinated, the relaxation of public safety measures such as masking and social distancing, and the alarming increase in new COVID- 19 cases and hospitalizations over the past several weeks. For all of these reasons, we strongly believe that the vaccines are our best and only true protection against COVID-19 going forward.”

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4. Harris County to help working families on frontlines of pandemic apply for $1,500 grant at Tuesday’s event

Harris County will help working families on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic apply for its give $1,500 recovery assistance grants at its Recovery Assistance event Tuesday afternoon.

Families in need will be able to apply for free assistance from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at IBEW Local 716 Hall at 1475 N. Loop W.

Selected and approved households will receive a one-time payment of $1,500 for emergency expenses, such as healthcare, rent or mortgage, utilities, food, internet, car payments, childcare and other past due expenses.

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5. More than 1,000 Houston area parents sign petition to bring back virtual learning this fall

The first Houston area school districts to welcome students back this fall will not offer virtual learning, blaming the legislature for not providing funding during the special session.

“The district no longer had the option,” a Fort Bend ISD release said. “The state legislature did not take action.”

“All learning will be in-person due to the state legislature’s failure to pass a virtual learning bill,” said an Alief ISD spokesperson.

A Fort Bend ISD parent started a petition to bring back virtual learning. The petition quickly received hundreds of signatures, and by Monday afternoon, more than 1,500 had signed the petition.

Read more.

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