Harris County Public Health and Houston Health Department answers questions about the spread of monkeypox in our area
Houston area health authorities Dr. Ericka Brown from the Harris County Public Health (HCPH) and Dr. David Persse from the Houston Health Department (HHD), hosted a virtual Q&A about monkeypox on Thursday.
Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health discuss latest updates on monkeypox efforts, spread prevention
Leaders from the Harris County Public Health and Houston Health Department held a Q&A virtual news conference to discuss updates relating to monkeypox and departments’ efforts on mitigating the spread of the virus.
‘We are in the midst of the worst surge of COVID that we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic’: Doctors send warning as cases continue to rise in Houston area
With Harris County having a count of more than 1 million COVID cases, and Houston wastewater revealing seven times more of the virus than this time in 2020, local doctors are warning residents to take precautions when it comes to COVID-19.
Two Years into the pandemic, and Fort Bend County Judge KP George (March 15, 2022) – Houston Public Media
On Tuesday's show: We reflect on where things stand two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began in earnest in Greater Houston, and Fort Bend County Judge KP George discusses issues affecting his county and answers your questions.houstonpublicmedia.org
COVID-19 numbers are declining across Greater Houston. But don’t let your guard down yet, the city’s health authority says – Houston Public Media
While the latest data is promising, it doesn't mean Houston's out of the woods, Houston Health Department Director David Persse told Houston Matters on Tuesday.houstonpublicmedia.org
When will omicron plateau? (Jan. 7, 2022) – Houston Public Media
On Friday's show: The City of Houston's health authority Dr. David Persse joins us with answers. Also we learn how often asylum cases in Houston are denied, and we break down The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week.houstonpublicmedia.org
Houston Health Department begins administering COVID-19 vaccines to children 5 and older
The Houston Health Department will begin Friday vaccinating children as young as five against COVID-19. Medical staff at La Nueva Casa de Amigos Health Center will get things underway administering shots in the arms of the children.
Mixing and matching COVID boosters, and remembering the glory days of Montrose (Oct. 22, 2021) – Houston Public Media
On Friday's show: A conversation with the city's health authority Dr. David Persse, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week, and reflecting on the underbelly of late 80's Montrose.houstonpublicmedia.org
Resettling Afghan Refugees In Houston (Aug. 20, 2021) – Houston Public Media
On Friday's show: A COVID update from the city's health authority, the process of resettling Afghan refugees in Houston, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the week, and how a local teacher used dance videos to help him connect with students – and went viral in the process.houstonpublicmedia.org
Virus outbreaks temporarily close 4 Texas school districts
As the new school year begins for Texas students and mask mandates are debated in various state courts, at least four school districts have already closed campuses due to COVID-19 outbreaks. The shutdowns are taking place as more school districts and communities continued this week to defy Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates and require students and residents to wear face coverings. Tuesday afternoon, Abbott’s office announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.news.yahoo.com
‘Our emergency departments are overcrowded’: Ambulances seeing longer wait times at Houston hospitals as COVID cases surge
In 2016, an independent study commissioned by the city of Houston called for 70 “peak time” ambulances to be added to the Houston Fire Department in order to effectively serve the city’s population.
Officials say COVID cases pushing Houston health care system to near ‘breaking point’
Houston area officials say the latest wave of COVID-19 cases is pushing the local health care system to nearly “a breaking point,” resulting in some patients having to be transferred out of the city to get medical care, including one who had to be taken to North Dakota.
COVID cases pushing Houston hospitals to near breaking point
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston area officials say the latest wave of COVID-19 cases is pushing the local health care system to nearly "a breaking point," resulting in some patients having to be transferred out of the city to get medical care, including one who had to be taken to North Dakota.myrgv.com
‘You never know when you will be the person in need’: Mayor Turner addresses deficit in blood supply, encourages Houstonians to help by donating
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner held a news conference Wednesday where he addressed a deficit in the city’s blood supply. Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Persse and representatives for the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center joined Turner for the 11 a.m. announcement.
Local Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccinations Halted After FDA and CDC Recommend Pause
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s one shot COVID-19 vaccine due to new evidence of some extremely rare side effects. In response, both the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public...houstonpress.com
Turner Challenges Local College Students to Get Vaccinated Now That All Adults Are Eligible
^ Keep Houston Press Free Support Us LocalCommunityJournalismI Support Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free. Support UsOn the first day that all Texans 16 and older became eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stopped by the University of Houston to urge local college students to sign-up for a coronavirus vaccine as quickly as they can. “I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate. Vaccine demand is still high in the Houston area, especially now that all adults are eligible. But Williams said there hasn’t been a big surge in vaccine availability across the state, at least not yet.houstonpress.com
Fear among health officials of variant spread as Texas reopens
The state is set to reopen tomorrow but it comes as the Houston Health Department issued a dire warning. The Houston Health Department said the highly contagious U.K. variant has been found at 31 of the city's 39 wastewater treatment plants. Texas ranks 47 out of 50 for vaccinations in the percent of the population that's received at least one dose. Businesses and schools in Texas can still require masks, but one school district near Houston has already voted to make them optional. Nearly one in five people in the state have received as least one dose of the vaccine.cbsnews.com
More contagious variant of COVID-19 found to be widespread in Houston wastewater, city health officials say
HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department announced Monday the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7) of the virus that causes COVID-19 was found in most of the city’s wastewater treatment plants. Wastewater samples collected on Feb. 22, detected the U.K. variant at 31 of the city’s 39 wastewater treatment plants. “The prevalence of the U.K. variant in our wastewater shows it’s actively spreading in our city,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the city of Houston. People who have COVID-19 shed virus in their feces, regardless of symptoms, the Health Department said. Nine cases of the U.K. variant, one case of the South African variant, two cases of the Brazil variant, and 11 cases of the California variant are currently confirmed in Houston, according to the department’s news release Monday.
With So Many Recent Disasters, Is Houston Still Worth It? (March 2, 2021) – Houston Public Media
On Tuesday’s show: Floods, hurricanes, chemical fires, last month’s freeze and power failures. On Tuesday’s Houston Matters: We get an update on COVID-19 in Greater Houston from Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse. Also this hour: Houston City Councilmember Sallie Alcorn answers your questions about issues affecting the city. Plus: Floods, hurricanes, chemical fires, last month's freeze and power failures – what will it take for you to exclaim, "enough already" to living in Houston? Subscribe to Today in Houston Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.houstonpublicmedia.org
Harris County To Get 12,000 Doses Of The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine This Week – Houston Public Media
Harris County will receive 12,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this week, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. City and county health offiicals haven’t yet specified where the Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be administered. "The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an excellent vaccine, and if you can get it, you should.”Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the best option for people with transportation issues since it's a single dose, compared to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses. Tomorrow, Texas will begin receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The state is set to receive more than 200,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines next week.houstonpublicmedia.org
With 7 More Dead and Another 914 COVID cases in Houston, Now is Not the Time to Unmask, Mayor Says
^ Keep Houston Press Free Support Us LocalCommunityJournalismI Support Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free. Right now our rate-limiting step is the supply of vaccine," Persse said. On Tuesday, Houston is expected to receive 6,000 doses of that vaccine as well as another 9,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. "Now we're looking at the Johnson & Johnson which is in the 75 percent range of effectiveness. That is a very, very effective vaccine.houstonpress.com
What officials say people needing medical treatment should do during the winter storm
Dr. David Persse, Houston’s chief medical officer, spoke about various medical situations he has seen pop up during the winter storm. You can find a list of warming centers here. Dialysis patientsPersse said people who need dialysis may be having trouble getting their treatment because many of the dialysis centers are dealing with power outages and low water pressure. In the meantime, some providers may direct their patients to other dialysis centers that do have the ability to provide treatment. Outpatient clinicsPersse said most outpatient clinics are dealing with power outages and water issues just like everyone else.
5 things for Houstonians to know for Tuesday, Feb. 9
Here are things to know for Tuesday, Feb. 9:1. Local analysts weigh in on stimulus package, direct $1,400 checksHouse Democrats released more details about their COVID-19 relief bill and its $1,400 stimulus checks. This comes after President Joe Biden announced a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which local analysts say will help people and the economy. University of Houston’s Economics Department Chair and professor Dietrich Vollrath said the $1.9 trillion stimulus package is appropriately sized. 2 coronavirus variants found in Houston areaTwo variants of COVID-19 have been found in the Houston area, officials announced Monday.
2 coronavirus variants found in Houston area
HOUSTON – Two variants of COVID-19 have been found in the Houston area, officials announced Monday. Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for Houston, said two men recently tested positive for the United Kingdom variant of the coronavirus. Both Persse and Minter said they wouldn’t be surprised if more cases of the variants start being reported in the Houston area. Vaccine updateHouston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the Houston Health Department is concentrating on ensuring equity in the distribution of its doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Latest numbersTurner said the Health Department reported an additional 1,005 cases Monday, bringing the city’s total for the pandemic to 163,438.
Doctors cautiously optimistic about downward coronavirus trend in Houston area
HOUSTON – New data illustrates a downward trend in COVID-19 positivity rates in Harris County and Houston. “This is great news to see that those numbers are coming down,” said Dr. David Persse, the chief medical officer for Houston. “I think we need to keep in mind that we are starting from a really high level.”CHART: Track coronavirus cases in Houston areaPersse believes there’s a decline because the holiday season is over. Although, he starts college this summer and is hopeful if the downward trend remains in effect, his classes won’t be virtual. CONTINUING COVERAGE: Follow coronavirus news in our special section“Because people don’t want to come in because of COVID,” said server Brianna Razo.
Houston hospitals need more nurses to help care for COVID-19 patients
HOUSTON – Nurses are playing an important role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and Houston’s health authority said hospitals are looking for more of them. Speaking with the news media on Monday, he also had a message for retired nurses and nurses currently out of the workforce. “If you’re thinking about getting back into it, the community could certainly use you now,” Dr. Persse said. Everyone needs and is looking for nurses in all capacities,” said Angela Gray, regional business development manager for ProHealth Medical Staffing. LINKS:- Harris Health (Feb. 23, 2021, virtual event information): https://jobs.harrishealth.org/- Houston Methodist (Feb. 2, 2021 nursing virtual open house): https://www.houstonmethodistcareers.org/jobs/nursing/- ProHealth Medical Staffing: https://www.phmstaffing.com/
Houston plans to soon offer self-scheduling for second vaccine doses
HOUSTON – People who are supposed to get their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine will soon be able to schedule that appointment themselves. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday that the city’s Health Department has received nearly 42,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with nearly 34,000 of them having been administered. He said nearly 12,000 people have appointments to get their second dose this week. Turner said the Houston Health Department is currently contacting people directly to schedule their second dose. However, he said the second dose is necessary to get the full benefits of the vaccine.
New COVID-19 cases see decline nationally, but not in Houston area
HOUSTON – There is encouraging news regarding a sharp decline across the country in the number of new COVID-19 cases. I’m glad to get it, but I’m still scratching my head,” said Dr. David Persse of the Houston Health Authority. And until I have a good answer to that, I’m hesitant to speculate.”Persse said while the latest stats nationally are certainly a good thing, they are not indicative of the trend in the COVID-19 cases across the Houston area. “Here in Houston, Harris County, we’re not seeing a decline,” he said. While there is promise in the latest numbers regarding COVID-19 cases and more people continue to get vaccinated, Persse said now is not the time to be complacent.
Houston Health Department opens first drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site
HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Monday that the Houston Health Department has opened its first drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site. We know that demand is higher than the supply of vaccine,” Turner said. As of Monday, the Houston Health Department says it has administered a total of 31,159 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Houston Health Department reports its largest number of cases Monday. The volume of calls about second doses ahead of time is creating long wait times at our call center,” The Houston Health Department tweeted on Monday.
New COVID Vaccine Strategies for Texas as We're "Right in the Middle of the Storm"
Related Stories Houston Health Department Has A Plan For Second COVID-19 Vaccine DosesIn his own press conference earlier in the day, Gov. Greg Abbott said the state was adopting a new strategy to more effectively deal with the demand for the vaccine. For Harris County, the DSHS lists three hub providers: the Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health, and the Houston Methodist Hospital System. “A Texan is capable and able to receive a vaccine in any county in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. Speaking of strategies: at the city press conference residents were once again urged to wear masks and practice social distancing.houstonpress.com
Turner says future vaccine megasites are dependent on supply
HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday that future coronavirus vaccine megasites will be dependent on the supply of doses that is received by the city. Turner said demand for the vaccine is far outpacing the amount of vaccine that is available. Turner said that as soon as more doses of the vaccine are received, the city will start opening up additional appointment slots. Williams said the Houston Health Department is expecting to get more vaccine doses from the state this week. ‘Middle of the storm’The Houston Health Department reported an additional 1,460 cases Monday, bringing the total number of cases to more than 131,000.
Frontline city workers getting coronavirus vaccine as 6,000 doses arrive at Houston health, fire departments
HOUSTON – Some of the first frontline workers for the city of Houston are getting their coronavirus vaccines Monday after 6,000 doses arrived at the Houston Health Department and the Houston Fire Department. Dr. Stephen Williams, director of HHD, said the first shots will go to the 260 workers who qualify in Phase 1A. He said the Health Department is also preparing to administer the vaccine to 365 school nurses in both the Houston and Pearland school districts. “Get vaccinated.”Harris County Public Health now vaccinating frontline health workersOn Monday, Harris County Public Health is administering doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to those eligible for Phase 1A. Cases continue to riseNews of the additional doses in Houston came as new cases of the virus were reported in Houston.
Texans With Medical Conditions, Older Adults Will Begin To Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations In The Next 2 Weeks – Houston Public Media
In the next two weeks, access to the COVID-19 vaccine will begin opening up to Houstonians over 65, as well as those with certain medical conditions, according to local hospital and public health officials. The announcement was made during a meeting between leaders in the Texas Medical Center Tuesday. Up until this point, vaccines in Texas have only been available to health care workers, as well as residents and staff of long-term care facilities. The Texas Medical Center alone has already vaccinated nearly 37,000 employees. Hospital officials say this next phase will begin even before all health care workers are vaccinated.houstonpublicmedia.org
Texas Medical Center provides update on COVID-19 vaccination rollout
HOUSTON – The Texas Medical Center is hosting a briefing Tuesday that will provide an update on the vaccine rollout across the Texas Medical Center. Health experts said they’re concerned about the increasing cases in the area. Health experts said they saw the impact from Thanksgiving and believe the number of cases can continue to grow as families gather for the holidays. Families are encouraged to practice social distancing and take a COVID-19 test if planning to spend it with a “safe bubble” of people. Health experts have recommended patients talk to their doctor before taking the vaccine.
Here’s who is eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine in Texas during current phase of rollout
HOUSTON – State health officials are prioritizing seniors and people with serious illnesses in the latest phase of the coronavirus vaccine rollout. In the first phase, frontline health care workers and people living in long-term care facilities were eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1A. Houston Health Authority, Dr. David Persse said moving on to the next phase of vaccinations also depends on how quickly individual healthcare providers complete vaccinations of frontline healthcare workers. Texas’ recent decision goes against a Centers for Disease Control advisory panel’s recommendation that frontline workers, including teachers, police officers, firefighters and grocery store workers be next in line for the vaccine. “I think that’s really good news that the CDC has recognized teachers are essential workers,” said the president of the Texas Federation of Teachers, Zeph Capo.
Turner urges Houstonians to get tested, cancel holiday gatherings as positivity rate climbs
HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged everyone Monday to get tested for coronavirus and cancel their holiday gatherings as the city’s positivity rate rises as Christmas approaches. Turner said an additional 777 coronavirus cases were reported Monday, bringing the city’s total cases to 111,211. Three more deaths were also reported, bringing the city’s total deaths to 1,530. The city’s positivity rate as is at 11.2%, up nearly a point from last week, Turner said. “Please get tested before Christmas Eve,” Turner said.
Would Houston’s antibody testing study change current death rate?
That would mean, with many more cases, the death rate is smaller than previously thought. But health officials said the answer to that is no, it will not change the death rate. City of Houston Health officials said it’s complicated, but it comes down to two different metrics: the case fatality rate and the infection fatality rate. But will all this new data showing more people had COVID-19 but survived, will that change the death rate? But again, Persse said the death rate that is reported daily, also known as the case fatality rate, that will not change.
‘Sneakiest of viruses’: Officials urge vigilance as coronavirus vaccine arrives in Houston
HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday that while the coronavirus vaccine has arrived in the city, people should remain vigilant to control the spread of the virus. He said an additional 745 cases were reported by the Houston Health Department on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the city to 104,962. Dr. Lauren Hopkins, of the Houston Health Department, said the survey found that 13.5% of the people whose blood were tested for coronavirus antibodies were positive. Building confidence in the vaccinePersse said the technology used to create the coronavirus vaccine was originally developed 15 years ago when the SARS virus was prevalent. Turner encouraged hospitals who receive the vaccine to make the vaccination process transparent so that people can see the process.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Moved To May 2021 [UPDATED]
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced on Tuesday that the 2021 rodeo will be held in May, two months later than usual, as long as the pandemic is in a manageable state at that point. The only part of the festivities that will still be held in March as previously scheduled are the youth rodeo events. We remain dedicated to fulfilling our mission to support Texas youth and hosting a long-time Houston Tradition,” Rodeo president and CEO Chris Boleman said in a press release. “When the Rodeo was canceled earlier this year because of COVID-19 community spread, the decision was based on data and science,” Turner wrote. If we work together, we can create a safe environment for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.”Update:LocalCommunityJournalismI Support Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.houstonpress.com
5 things for Houstonians to know for Tuesday, Dec. 1
Here are things to know for Tuesday, Dec. 1:1. Texans, NFL teams temporarily shut down facilitiesThe Houston Texans and several other teams are all going virtual Monday and Tuesday after the NFL temporarily shut down in-person activities. According to a memo released to teams, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell caught wind of several NFL players and staffers who “celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with out-of-town guests.”Read more. 6 Klein ISD students hospitalized after ingesting substance brought from home, officials saySix Hildebrandt Intermediate School students were hospitalized Monday after ingesting a substance that was brought to school from home, officials said. According to a Facebook post on Nov. 11, Chang has been a longtime supporter and friend to Southern Smoke, participating in the 2017 Southern Smoke Festival to raise funds for restaurant workers affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Curfew among ‘limited options’ that can be used to slow spread of coronavirus, Turner says
HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday that a curfew is among the “limited options” that he has available to slow the spread of coronavirus in the city as officials brace for an increase in cases after Thanksgiving travel. Turner reported an additional 685 COVID-19 cases in the city and a positivity rate of 8.4%, which is slightly lower than last week. The mayor said November was the second busiest month for testing at city-affiliated testing sites since the pandemic began. “If by chance you see me coming in, I’m not coming in there for a drink,” Turner said. He asked business owners to work with city officials in order to ensure that social-distancing and occupancy requirements are observed.
Here’s how Houston is planning to distribute COVID-19 vaccines
HOUSTON – Houston’s chief medical officer said hospitals will be the first facilities in the area to receive a coronavirus vaccine once it’s available locally. “We’ll be protecting healthcare workers, but in particular these are healthcare workers who are in the practice of caring for COVID positive patients,” Dr. David Persse said on Monday. “We’ll be prioritizing those communities that have increased risk and less availability due to all kinds of healthcare inequities,” Persse said. The list includes healthcare workers, frontline workers and people in vulnerable populations who are at greater risk of severe disease and death if they contract COVID-19. The health department expects to receive the vaccines from the manufacturer, Persse said.
Mayor Turner urges Houstonians to follow Thanksgiving protocols as COVID-19 positivity rate reaches 8.8%
HOUSTON – 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. Turner said the city’s positivity rate is now 8.8% -- last week it was 7.9%. Turner said the city’s original goal was to bring the positivity rate to 5%, but now, he’s only asking for residents’ help in not letting the rate continue to rise. The mayor is asking for Houstonians to not gather in large groups or to have Thanksgiving outdoors with immediate family members.
Turner Urges Turkey Day Caution As Houston's Coronavirus Stats Keep Climbing
On Monday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asked city residents to do their part to fight back against the resurgent coronavirus after weeks of worsening local metrics by keeping their Turkey Day gatherings small this year. This virus thrives on gatherings, and will take advantage of holiday festivities to sicken our loved ones and our community,” Turner said. As of this past Wednesday, the local 14-day average positivity rate had jumped to 7.9 percent across the city, Turner said. “Just six days ago, it was about 6.4 percent...the numbers of hospitalized [coronavirus] patients are starting to creep up again,” Persse explained. Due to these trends, Turner once again explained that it’s mandatory to wear face masks in public in Houston as allowed by Gov.houstonpress.com
‘Don’t invite COVID for Thanksgiving dinner’: Houstonians urged to forgo holiday travel, gatherings as cases increase
HOUSTON – With a little more than a week to go until Thanksgiving, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged people Monday to forgo their usual travel and gatherings to mark the holiday. Turner said Houston’s total number of COVID-19 cases had climbed to 90,239 and the city’s total number of coronavirus-related deaths was at 1,398. “This virus thrives on gatherings,” Turner said. “Don’t invite COVID for Thanksgiving dinner,” Turner said. No Thanksgiving parade in Houston this yearTurner said the city’s normal Thanksgiving parade will not happen this year.
Houston, Harris County sees slight uptick in COVID-19 cases
HOUSTON – Nearly eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, Houston and Harris County are experiencing a slight surge in new cases of COVID-19. In Houston and Harris County, there are more than 165,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. “We’ve seen the number of positive cases reported going up a bit. Dr. David Persse, the Chief Medical Officer for the city of Houston, says it’s too early to determine where the small uptick is coming from. To view the Harris County and Houston COVID-19 dashboard, visit here.
As COVID-19 Spreads Like Crazy, Health Experts Say Vaccine Won't End Mask-Wearing Overnight
Dr. David Persse of the Houston Health Department said Thursday that we have plenty of mask-wearing ahead of us. The Department of State Health Services reported 9,048 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total since August 4, and the seven-day average of new cases across the state has been trending upward since the end of September. Dr. Umair Shah of Harris County Public Health said Thursday we'll be dealing with COVID-19 for many months ahead. ScreenshotWhen asked about the timeline for a safe COVID-19 vaccine to be available to the public, Shah said everything he’s heard suggests it’ll take a few months longer at the very least. Support Us“When the vaccine comes out, we really need to get to 70-80 percent of the population to be immune, whether by previous infection or vaccine,” Persse said.houstonpress.com
Health Department Says Proof Is In The Pooping For Houston's Slowing Spread of COVID-19
After the Star of Hope men's homeless shelter in downtown Houston suffered a coronavirus outbreak in May, the Houston Health Department wanted to make sure it didn't happen again. By comparing data from those samples week over week, the Houston Health Department can determine which zip codes are seeing an increase or decrease in the spread of COVID-19. Persse said that allows the health department to focus its resources on parts of Houston where the virus is spreading more quickly. That’s why the health department is now so confident that the wastewater data can be trusted, said Dr. Loren Hopkins, the Houston Health Department’s chief environmental science officer and a statistics professor at Rice. Persse was careful to caution that traditional individual COVID-19 testing is still extremely important.houstonpress.com
Turner says Abbott’s plan to reopen a ‘little more aggressive’ than he’d like; city to use caution moving forward
HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Texas Governor Greg Abbot’s Thursday reopening plan is a “little more aggressive” than he would prefer. Abbott said he planned to use the state’s hospitalization rate as the determining factor for the reopening plan. The goal is for Houston’s positivity rate to be at 5% or below for at least 14 days, Turner said. Turner said he concerned the reopening plan will cause a spike in new cases and deaths. Here is the full press conference from Turner:WATCH LIVE: Mayor Sylvester Turner gives update and discusses Gov.
Turner to discuss plan for restarting limited special events in Houston
HOUSTON Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is set to discuss Wednesday a plan for allowing some special events to resume in the city. In an announcement about his 3 p.m. news conference, officials said they mayor will announce plans for restarting limited special events in Houston on a limited basis.Among those joining Turner for the news conference will be Dr. David Persse, the citys health authority, and Susan Christian, director of the Mayors Office of Special Events. Click2Houston.com plans to offer a livestream of the event. This story will be updated.
Turner: Houstons positivity rate headed in right direction as area districts continue to reopen
HOUSTON Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday that the citys coronavirus positivity rate was headed in the right direction as school districts in the area continue to reopen. Turner said the Houston Health Department is reporting 158 new coronavirus cases and eight additional virus-related deaths as of Monday. He said the number of new COVID-19 cases is low and he was proud to say the city is moving in the right direction. As of Monday, Turner announced that the citys positivity rate is 7.8%, which is a significant decrease compared to last weeks positivity rate at 9.8%. Houston Health Departments Dr. David Persse said it is important for the positivity rate to stay low ahead of school reopenings and virus season.
Free COVID-19 testing schedule for week of August 31
All rights reserved)HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department announced the schedule for more than 20 free COVID-19 testing sites Monday. On average, testing site labs report providing COVID-19 test results to people within four days. “We currently have more testing capacity in Houston than any time during the pandemic but the number of people getting tested continues to decrease,” said. The health department is providing test kits, lab access and equipment to local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) so they can expand their COVID-19 testing capacity. The centers and phone numbers people can call to set up testing appointments are:
Running the Numbers While COVID-19 Remains a Threat in Houston
July 5 also saw the highest recorded 14-day average COVID-19 test positivity rate within Houston, when it topped-out at 30.9 percent according to the Houston Health Department. Due to the still high number of new daily COVID-19 cases and the still relatively high number of COVID-19 patients in local ICUs, Harris County remains at the red alert level on the COVID-19 public threat system Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Harris County Public Healths Dr. Umair Shah unveiled back in June. To monitor and inform phased-in approaches for in-person activities, HCPH has recommended a set of benchmarks and metrics to monitor public health trends. The latest publicly available metrics from the Houston Health Department show a huge decrease in local COVID-19 testing. A number of recently announced local COVID-19 relief programs are in the process of rolling out as well.houstonpress.com
Local consulting firm questions contact tracing in Houston
HOUSTON As the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb across the area and officials ramp up testing and contact tracing efforts, a Houston-based consulting firm is asking questions about the information regarding those cases. We told them we dont want any medical information... Tell me where you found evidence of community spread, he said. But some city leaders said that type of information cant be released as a matter of health privacy laws and more. When we last looked at it, what the group told me was that they werent really finding any one particular place, nor the type of place. But they wont give us information, safety information that could protect people, he said.
Health official explains steep discrepancy in number of COVID-19 fatalities reported by state and county
HOUSTON A recent change in the way the state is counting COVID-19 deaths may explain why the total number of deaths on Harris Countys coronavirus dashboard doesnt line up with the states dashboard, according to Houston health officials. As of Tuesday night, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services listed 1,127 deaths in Harris County but the county dashboard only lists 670 deaths which also includes numbers from the city of Houston. Because of that, Persse said hes not worried that the number of deaths reported might be wrong. The city plans to switch to the states method of reporting deaths in the next few days, Persse said. As of Tuesday night, the county planned to continue the method of checking the death certificate against the lab result before reporting the death, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Health Department said.
Texas passes 4,000 deaths, but Houston sees rates steady
AUSTIN, Texas Texas surpassed 4,000 deaths in the coronavirus pandemic Monday but officials in Houston, one of the hardest-hit cities in the U.S., say they are cautiously optimistic about recent trends following weeks of alarming surges at hospitals. Texas reported more than 7,400 confirmed new cases and at least 62 new deaths. The virus continues taking a particularly hard toll along the Texas-Mexico border: Hidalgo County has reported more than 140 deaths over the past week, and the county judge on Monday signed a shelter-at-home order. This action will help us do the right thing to save and protect each other from this deadly disease by sheltering at home, said Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez. But in Houston, officials say they are seeing signs of optimism.
Why is there a lag in reporting COVID-19 deaths?
HOUSTON When the city of Houston reported its first day of double-digit deaths, KPRC 2 noticed one of the deceased dated back to May 4. Persse explains only confirmed deaths from COVID-19 are reported, suspected deaths are not. One is medical, which is filled out by a doctor, hospital staff or a medical examiners office depending on where a person dies. Officials with the Harris County Medical Examiners Office also report no concerns about capacity in the morgue. As of Thursday, there have been 508 deaths reported in Houston and Harris County.
Has coronavirus surge impacted contact tracing efforts?
In the initial chapters of the pandemic, there was much written and learned about contact tracing. Channel 2 Investigates spoke with State Rep. Tom Oliverson on Monday about contact tracing and it’s relevance with significantly higher case numbers. “I think contact tracing is still very relevant especially where you have discreet outbreaks in sort of a more closed environment,” Oliverson said. Oliverson points to nursing homes, camps, organized team practices and indoor environments as examples where contact tracing now works best. However, if outside those kinds of areas contact tracing doesn’t have the same impact.
'Fairly complicated: City addresses delay in reporting of COVID-19 deaths
On Monday, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the citys 115 death, revealing the death was from 26 days ago, A white male in his 80s, with underlying health conditions, who passed away on April 22, Turner said. Persse said the challenge of quickly tracking down people who died from the coronavirus involves multiple parts. Sometimes its the hospital not reporting very promptly. Sometimes its the funeral home and the family not reporting very promptly," he said. The bottom line for city?
Houston Reports Latest Numbers While Fort Bend Opens Up COVID-19 Testing For All
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner reported three more COVID-19 deaths for 26 reported deaths total and 52 new positive cases at his Wednesday afternoon press conference. Meanwhile, following Houston's lead, Fort Bend County has opened its public COVID-19 testing site to anyone wanting a test, whether symptomatic or not. Fort Bend County Judge KP George announced at a commissioners court meeting that he was expanding the free testing. AccessHealth workers at the Fort Bend testing site. Photo by Lacie SumpterIn Fort Bend County there have been 15 deaths reported and 627 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date.houstonpress.com
Houston Records Second Death as Reported Cases of COVID-19 Jump
As Houston recorded its second known death due to the coronavirus, Mayor Sylvester Turner Saturday urged people to follow the social distancing recommendations as the city's number of cases increased to 232. The Houston Health Department reported the second death being a woman in her 70s with underlying healthy conditions who died at a local hospital on Friday. Houston's first death was also an older woman with underlying health conditions. Houston Police officers and city firefighters will be wearing masks to protect them and the public when they are out on calls. To date, 83 firefighters and seven city of Houston police officers have tested positive for COVID-19.houstonpress.com
Houston Records Its First Coronavirus Death in the City on Day Two of Stay Home
He said it was a travel-related case; she contracted the virus elsewhere and then returned to Houston. The City of Houston like others is going to the private market place. He again urged people to stay home and for businesses to comply with the stay home regulations as well. Asked if he planned to extend the stay home order past its April 3 expiration date, Turner said "Let's take it one day at a time. " In the county press conference, Hidalgo announced that United Way of Greater Houston and Greater Houston Community Foundation have combined forces to launch the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund to help those in critical need.houstonpress.com
City Waiting For Another PPE Shipment From FEMA, While Testing Continues For Now
The possible shortage of coronavirus testing equipment was on the top of the list of Mayor Sylvester Turner's Wednesday morning press conference following the city council meeting on Day One of the new stay-at-home order. David Persse, the public health authority in Houston's Department of Health, said if any part of the coronavirus testing chain breaks down it can affect the city's ability to continue testing. While the city still has plenty of swabs to operate the one site it has open, it is running out of Personal Protection Equipment for its health care workers and waiting on FEMA to deliver more. "You cant close down city government," Turner said. "We complement and support all these essential services, We cannot afford to send thousands of employees home who are not able to do their jobs remotely.houstonpress.com
Houston boy died of flu, becoming city's first flu-related pediatric death of season
EMBED >More News Videos Doctors say there are key differences between the cold and fluHOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A young boy died of the flu in Houston, marking the city's first flu-related pediatric death of the 2019-2020 season, health officials confirmed Tuesday.The Houston Health Department said the boy, who had a pre-existing health condition, died in November. A specific age for the child wasn't given, only that he was between six and 10 years old.The department could not verify if the child had a flu shot for the current season. "While there is little that can bring comfort to parents coping with the death of a child, this tragic situation serves as a reminder to all parents about the importance of flu vaccination," said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department.The Houston Health Department said for the week ending Dec. 21, 2019, 3.88% of Houston emergency room visits were for flu-like illnesses, compared to 3.53% the previous week.This is the second announcement in a little over a week about a child dying from the flu.Last Monday, a boy under age 1 died of the flu in northwest Harris County , which experts said was the county's first flu-related pediatric death for the flu season beginning Oct. 1, 2019.Doctors are urging residents to get a flu shot to protect themselves and their families.The agency recommends anyone six months of age and older get a flu shot every year.Flu season can last as late as May.Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches and fatigue, though doctors warn not everyone who has the flu will have a fever.abc13.com
FBI: 19-year-old arrested, charged in Houston mercury spill
A 19-year-old man has been arrested after trace amounts of mercury spilled at three locations in Houston, leading dozens of people to be decontaminated as a precaution, FBI said Monday. The agency's Houston office said on Twitter that Christopher Lee Melder has been charged with burglary and unlawful disposal of hazardous material. The FBI announced early Monday that he was taken into custody for questioning in connection with the spill. It wasn't immediately known whether he had a lawyer and authorities didn't immediately say why the mercury was spilled. All three locations were evacuated and between 30 and 60 people were asked to take decontamination showers as a precaution, Pena said.chicagotribune.com