5 things for Houstonians to know for Friday, August 6

Harris County COVID-19 Level (Harris County)

Here are things to know for Friday, August 6:

1. 13-year-old boy with disability found dead in Friendswood neighborhood pool, HCSO says

A teenager was found dead at the bottom of Friendswood neighborhood pool Thursday, authorities said.

At approximately 8:10 a.m., deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the Heritage Park Village recreation center, located in the 2300 block of Quillback Drive, in reference to reports that a teen was found dead in the neighborhood pool.

The caller reported that they and a friend were going to play tennis when they spotted the juvenile in the water.

Paramedics pronounced the teenager deceased shortly after pulling him from the water, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

About 15 to 20 minutes later, a female arrived on scene and told deputies one of her family members was missing from her home , Harris County Deputy Thomas Gilliland said. Shortly after, deputies determined that the description of the missing boy matched that of the juvenile pulled from the pool.

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2. ‘Perfect storm’: Harris County upgrades COVID-19 threat level to RED

The Harris County Office of Emergency Management has confirmed to KPRC 2 that the COVID-19 threat level for the county is being upgraded to RED Thursday.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo confirmed that status in a news conference Thursday, calling the situation a “perfect storm.”

“Today we find ourselves in a difficult situation,” she said. “We find ourselves retracing our steps toward the edge of a cliff. It is very conceivable that we could once again be heading toward a public health catastrophe. Once again our health system is strained by COVID-19. It’s straining our staff, it’s straining our hospitals, and it’s imposing heartbreak and anxiety on so many families in Harris County. "

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3. Texas to be first state to make buying sex a felony

A new Texas law will make buying sex a state felony instead of a misdemeanor. The new law takes effect September 1 and is part of a sweeping piece of legislation aimed at further cracking down on human trafficking.

“We know the demand is the driving force behind human trafficking,” said State Rep. Senfronia Thompson/(D) District 141, primary author of the bill. “If we can curb or stamp out the demand end of it, then when can save the lives of numerous persons.”

According to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Thompson’s bill makes Texas the first in the country to charge so-called “Johns” with a state jail felony. A second conviction under this law would enhance the charge to a third-degree felony.

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4. Level of COVID-19 in Houston’s wastewater increases up to 320% compared to 2020′s benchmark level

The Houston Health Department reports an increase of COVID-19 in Houston’s wastewater compared to last year’s benchmark level.

On Wednesday, the health department said the level of COVID-19 in the city’s wastewater is 320% more than the benchmark level of July 6, 2020.

Health officials said the increase is an indication that the virus is spreading rapidly.

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5. TEA issues new guidance on COVID-19 safety protocols for 2021-22 school year

The Texas Education Agency has issued new guidance on COVID-19 safety protocols for the new school year.

Here are the following key points the guidance addresses:

- Per Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order, school districts are not allowed to mandate masks. However, they must allow students to wear them if the students choose to wear them.

- Schools must exclude students who have tested positive for COVID-19 from attending classes.

- Schools may offer remote instructions to students during the time the student is out of school.

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