COVID-19, a new coronavirus which began spreading rapidly in mid-March, has officially been considered a global pandemic. The number of cases in the United States but also here in Houston are growing by the day. Daily life has been disrupted, “social distancing” has become the norm and more.

Want to stay up to date with the latest information as it happens? Download our App in the App Store or the Google Play store to listen live on-air, subscribe to our newsletter as well as follow us on all social media: @RadioNowHouston. Here is the latest news from around the Houston area and nationally.

UPDATES: April 9

2:33 PM: Harris County is giving struggling small businesses $10 million in forgivable loans. Visit http://www.harriscountyloan.com/ to apply.

10:23 AM: Madison High School parents, students, and staff are being asked to self-quarantine after an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The district said that employee helped distribute laptops at the school. If you picked up a laptop between Monday, March 23 and Monday, April 6, you are being asked to self-quarantine.

Statement from HISD:

“We have been notified that a staff member at Madison High School who helped distribute laptops has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is currently recovering at home.

All school staff members are being notified and those who worked in close proximity to the individual are being asked to self-quarantine.

Parents and students who came to the school to pick up laptops any time beginning Monday, March 23 through Monday, April 6 should self-quarantine 14 days from the last day they were inside Madison High School. Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact a physician.

We assure you we are working closely with the Houston Health Department to identify students, parents or staff who should be tested for COVID-19.

We urge everyone to follow national, state and local government and health directives to stay home if you are not feeling well. For those experiencing no symptoms, please wear masks and gloves and remain at least six feet from others when out in public at essential locations.

We remain vigilant and committed to taking every precaution we can to protect the health and safety of our HISD students, parents and staff during this global health emergency, while also meeting the educational and nutritional needs of families.”

7:21 AM: There are now a confirmed 3,742 cases of COVID-19 in the Greater Houston area as of Thursday morning with an additional 60 confirmed cases in Houston, bringing the city’s official total to 1,380. The number of deaths have risen to 65 as seven more people have lost their lives to the virus in Harris County, one in Fort Bend County and one in Brazos County. The number of recoveries from the virus has risen to over 600 people.

  • Houston (1,380 cases, 12 deaths, 134 recoveries)
  • Harris County (961 cases, 19 deaths, 224 recoveries)
  • Fort Bend County (417 cases, 7 deaths, 22 recoveries)
  • Galveston County (287 cases, 5 deaths, 83 recoveries)
  • Montgomery County (210 cases, 4 deaths, 53 recoveries)
  • Brazoria County (184 cases, 1 death, 49 recoveries)
  • Brazos County (108 cases, 8 deaths, 22 recoveries)

In the United States, there are now confirmed 432,438 cases of COVID-19 and tragically, 14,808 people have lost their lives.

15 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the three weeks since social distancing and stay at home orders have gone into effect.

UPDATES: April 8

3:20 PM: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced on Wednesday that city officials were closing all parks in Harris County beginning on April 10 and ending April 13th.

100 more individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in Fort Bend County, being the areas total number of cases to 417. Most of those confirmed cases come from tests conducted one or two weeks ago. A seventh person has sadly passed away.

Prairie View A&M University announced that its fabrication center is using 3D printers to help provide facial shields for medical workers.

5:55 AM: The number of COVID-19 cases in Greater Houston rose to 3,382 as of Wednesday morning. While the number of reported deaths stands at 50, the number of recovered individuals has expanded to 508.

  • Houston (1,320 cases, 11 deaths, 99 recoveries)
  • Harris County (826 cases, 12 deaths, 204 recoveries)
  • Fort Bend County (318 cases, 6 deaths, 15 recoveries)
  • Galveston County (272 cases, 5 deaths, 78 recoveries)
  • Montgomery County (197 cases, 4 deaths, 33 recoveries)
  • Brazoria County (173 cases, 1 death, 44 recoveries)
  • Brazos County (97 cases, 7 deaths, 14 recoveries)

MD Medical is set to open 2 new drive-thru testing centers to help test for COVID-19. The testing locations will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to test 200 individuals daily. The locations are located at: MD Kids Pediatrics 20403 Farm to Market Rd 529 #200, Cypress, TX 77433 and Clinicas Mi Doctor- 5230 Aldine Mail Rte Rd, Houston, TX 77039. Appointments are required, call or text 1-888-776-5252 to schedule one or make a same-day appointment.

A free USPS program called Informed Delivery has been established for individuals who are set to receive their stimulus check by mail, rather than direct deposit. Visit this website to learn when your check will be mailed to you.

Early data shows African-Americans are at a higher rate to contract the novel coronavirus COVID-19 due to a lack of health care access, existing medical conditions and more likely to work unstable jobs.

UPDATES: April 7

3:55 PM: The City of Houston and Harris County announced an additional 400 combined confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday afternoon. The city now has 1,320 confirmed cases and Harris County has 826 confirmed cases. In total, there are now 3,355 cases, 46 confirmed deaths, and 461 recoveries.

  • Texas Children’s Hospital full-time employees are set to receive $500 bonuses for hard work during coronavirus pandemic, part-time employees are set to receive $250 bonuses.
  • Unemployment checks for those who’ve lost their jobs due to the coronavirus are set to begin being issued out this week. Outlined in the stimulus package, the extra $600 is set to be distributed across certain states. Texas has yet to determine a date for when the unemployment checks will be sent out.
  • A medical shelter is being built at NRG Park to provide health and medical-related care to coronavirus patients if local hospitals exceed their capacities.
  • The peak of COVID-19 could occur in Texas far earlier than most models had originally predicted, from mid-May to now late April. Nationally, the peak is set to occur around April 15 now. For Texas, it is now set at April 19. See the updated projections here.
  • Governor Greg Abbott announced the closure of all state parks and historical sites temporarily in order to strengthen social distancing practices.

9:28 AM: The number of COVID-19 cases in Greater Houston stands at 2,968, just one day after eclipsing 2,500 total cases. While the number of reported deaths stands at 44, the number of recovered individuals continues to grow as there are now over 400.

  • Houston (1,145 cases, 10 deaths, 79 recoveries)
  • Harris County (664 cases, 12 deaths, 160 recoveries)
  • Fort Bend County (318 cases, 6 deaths, 15 recoveries)
  • Galveston County (256 cases, 1 death, 63 recoveries)
  • Brazoria County (167 cases, 1 death, 37 recoveries)
  • Montgomery County (161 cases, 3 deaths, 26 recoveries)
  • Brazos County (94 cases, 7 deaths, 12 recoveries)

UPDATES: April 6

3:59 PM: Mayor Sylvester Turner on Monday announced an additional 400 plus confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Houston ara, bringing the city total above 1,000 with 1,145 confirmed cases. In total, there are now 2,884 confirmed cases regionwide along with 44 confirmed deaths and 384 people who have recovered.

11:30 AM:

  • Tide is offering free laundry services to the families of Front Line Responses. See more here: https://hope.tidecleaners.com
  • A new website has been created to assist essential workers with child care and financial support: FindChildCareNow.org.
  • Precinct 2 will be giving away free lunch at five different parks on a first-come, first-serve basis. See the details here.
  • Houston ISD is set to resume distribution for meals at select locations across the city on Monday (April 6). Here are the locations where you can pick up a meal for children:

Monday, April 6

Milby High School, 1601 Broadway St., 9 a.m.

Wesley Elementary School, 800 Dillard St., 9 a.m.

Revere Middle School, 10502 Briar Forest Drive, 11 a.m.

Madison High School, 13719 White Heather Drive, 11 a.m.

Northside High School, 1101 Quitman St., 3 p.m.

Tuesday, April 7

  • McReynolds Middle School, 5910 Market St., 9 a.m.
  • Bastian Elementary School, 5051 Bellfort St., 9 a.m.
  • Wisdom High School, 6529 Beverly Hill St., 11 a.m.
  • Sam Houston High School, 9400 Irvington Blvd., 3 p.m.
  • Sterling High School, 11625 Martindale Road, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, April 8

  • Yates High School, 3650 Alabama St., 9 a.m.
  • Mading Elementary School, 8511 Crestmont St., 9 a.m.
  • North Forest High School, 10726 Mesa Drive, 11 a.m.
  • Sharpstown High School, 7504 Bissonnet St., 3 p.m.

Thursday, April 9

  • Chavez High School, 8501 Howard Drive, 9 a.m.
  • Black Middle School, 1575 Chantilly Lane, 9 a.m.
  • Furr High School, 520 Mercury Drive, 11 a.m.
  • Benavidez Elementary School, 6262 Gulfton St., 3 p.m.

Friday, April 10

  • Kashmere High School, 6900 Wileyvale St., 9 a.m.
  • Woodson PK-5, 10720 Southview St., 9 a.m.
  • Henry Middle School, 10702 E. Hardy Road, 11 a.m.
  • Westbury High School, 11911 Chimney Rock Road, 3 p.m.

UPDATES: April 5

  • Galena Park orders a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. The order states that it will be unlawful to be on public streets, sidewalks, or any public places. The only exceptions are for individuals going to and from work or emergency purposes.
    • The order also states no more than five people shall be allowed in any building open to the public for any purpose other than persons necessary to provide essential services to the public.
    • Open establishments are to enforce social distancing rules for each person and that people must be at least be six feet away from each other at all times.
    • Establishments are to provide hand sanitizer and cleaning of carts, baskets, and surfaces expected to be touched by the general public.
  • Houston announces Thursday as an official Day Of Prayer amid the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Rice to offer free housing for medical personnel working in the medical center to help with rest and travel. The move will require about 50 students and residents from two residential colleges to relocate to other areas.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Greater Houston is nearing 2,500 almost one month after two people were initially diagnosed as confirmed positive cases in mid-March. With 2,435 confirmed cases, areas such as the city of Houston and Harris County are nearing or are over 700 cases. There have been 39 reported deaths in the Greater Houston area to COVID-19 where the number of individuals who have recovered from the virus has risen to nearly 350.

  • Houston (743 cases, 10 deaths, 63 recoveries)
  • Harris County (652 cases, 8 deaths, 152 recoveries)
  • Fort Bend County (280 cases, 6 deaths, 15 recoveries)
  • Galveston County (240 cases, 1 death, 56 recoveries)
  • Montgomery County (149 cases, 3 deaths, 21 recoveries)
  • Brazoria County (144 cases, 1 death, 25 recoveries)
  • Brazos County (94 cases, 6 deaths, 10 recoveries)

UPDATES: April 4

  • Globally, more than 1.1 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 60,000 people worldwide have passed.
  • More than 8,300 people in the United States with 1,224 people have died on Saturday alone. Donald Trump believes the worst has yet to come.
  • If you are one of 10 million individuals who are not required to file income tax because you didn’t’ earn enough, there’s a new way for you to earn a stimulus check. Click here for more info. Stimulus checks are due to begin being sent out on April 9.
  • The Houston Food Bank is seeking volunteers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander and wife Kate Upton have decided to donate Verlander’s MLB game checks to help fight coronavirus.

View this post on Instagram

Recently the @mlb announced they will be continuing to send paychecks to players while the season is suspended. @kateupton and I have decided to donate those funds to a different organization each week so that we can support their efforts and highlight the great work they’re doing during the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone around the world is affected by this virus, and we hope to contribute to the families and jobs affected, the healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines and the many others in need of basic necessities, medical supplies and support at home. As soon as the first paycheck is received we will be highlighting the first organization. We know everyone is impacted by this crisis, but for those who are able, we encourage you to stay home to help flatten the curve and look to those around you who need a helping hand. #covid19 #flattenthecurve

A post shared by Justin Verlander (@justinverlander) on

The number of officially reported COVID-19 cases in the Greater Houston area topped 2,000 (2,251) as of Saturday as now four counties have topped over 200 cases. The City of Houston currently has nearly 700 cases, Harris County nearly 600 and more. Three more people have died in Houston and four more Harris County respectively, bringing their death totals to 9 and 8. The total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the Greater Houston area now stands at 33 but a massive number of people across the region have recovered as 327 people have recovered.

  • Houston (690 cases, 9 deaths, 63 recoveries)
  • Harris County (594 cases, 8 deaths, 140 recoveries)
  • Fort Bend County (268 cases, 5 deaths, 15 recoveries)
  • Galveston County (222 cases, 0 deaths, 48 recoveries)
  • Brazoria County (144 cases, 1 death, 25 recoveries)
  • Montgomery County (142 cases, 3 deaths, 20 recoveries)

UPDATES: April 3

2:56 PM: Here is the list of inmates that will be released from Harris County Jail due to coronavirus concerns.

11:00 AM: Here’s a number of jobs hiring at the moment:

USPS – https://wp1-ext.usps.gov/sap/bc/webdynpro/sap/hrrcf_a_posting_apply?PARAM=cG9zdF9pbnN0X2d1aWQ9MDA1MDU2QUUwNUUwMUVEQTlDQ0YwOTVBOTdCNzg5QzkmY2FuZF90eXBlPUVYVA%3d%3d&sap-theme=Custom_tradeshow_2&sap-client=010&sap-language=EN#

Fiesta – https://jobs.fiestamart.com/

Dollar Tree – https://www.dollartree.com/careers

City Of Houston – https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/houston?sort=PostingDate%7CDescending

The Rustic – http://therustic.com/careers/

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores  https://jobs.loves.com/.

Randall’s – albertsonscompanies.com/carreers/randalls-careers.html

Amazon – https://www.amazon.jobs/en/

Domino’s –  jobs.dominos.com/dominos-careers/  

Petco – https://careers.petco.com/job-search-results/?location=Houston%2C%20TX%2C%20USA&latitude=29.7604267&longitude=-95.3698028&radius=200

PetSmart – https://careers.petsmart.com/search-jobs/Houston%2C%20TX/899/4/6252001-4736286-4696376-4699066/29×76328/-95×36327/50/2

Sprouts Farmers Market https://storeops-sprouts.icims.com/jobs/search?ss=1&searchCategory=22721&searchCompany=3861&searchLocation=-12827-

or by texting the word “careers” to 480-800-8056.

Ace Hardware – https://storejobs.acehardware.com/

Walmart  careers.walmart.com

CVS – https://jobs.cvshealth.com/search-results?CloudSearchValue=none&CloudSearchLocation=Houston%2C%20TX%2C%20USA&CloudSearchRadius=20&radiusUnit=Miles&prefilters=none

Whole Food Market – https://careers.wholefoodsmarket.com/global/en/search-results?keywords=houston

Chipotle – https://jobs.chipotle.com/search-jobs/Houston?orgIds=282&alp=6252001-4736286-4699066&alt=4

Big Lots – https://careers.biglots.com/search/searchjobs

Five Below – https://fivebelow-careers.vibehcm.com/portal.jsp?Vy3uQUnbK9L08fh2MmQ83svHUNIi+Sao3V#portal.jsp?Dy3uQUnbK9L3zjFs4JvsSHvfW7VloVMRqbIuoOyRkwvlRSHzDCSf8RjiRZmwcvJUf4dMQSvOftn4pF0OaVcmwLw==V

Worley – https://worleyparsons.taleo.net/careersection/ext/jobsearch.ftl2

https://aa170.taleo.net/careersection/worley_hrly/jobsearch.ftl?lang=en&portal=8516760849

The U.S. announced on Friday that 701,000 jobs had been shed across the country, ending the longest streak of hiring in the country. Unemployment rose to 4.4% after reaching a 50-year low. of 3.5% as of February.

The number of officially reported COVID-19 cases in the Greater Houston area now sits at 1,725 as of Friday morning with the city of Houston eclipsing more than 500 cases. Two more people have died in Houston and Harris County respectively, bringing their death totals to 6 and 4. The total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the Greater Houston area now stands at 22 while 170 individuals have recovered.

  • Houston (506 cases, 6 deaths, 3 recoveries)
  • Harris County (449 cases, 4 deaths, 87 recoveries)
  • Fort Bend County (221 cases, 2 deaths, 10 recoveries)
  • Galveston County (130 cases, 0 deaths, 31 recoveries)
  • Brazoria County (123 cases, 1 death, 20 recoveries)
  • Montgomery County (119 cases, 3 deaths, 16 recoveries)

UPDATES: April 2

3:00 PM: Space Center Houston is closed until further notice.

A third United Memorial Medical Center location has opened up for drive-thru testing at Forest Brook Middle School. The location choice centers on data that revealed a high number of senior citizens live in the area.

HISD is relaunching the Grab and Go lunch program beginning on April 6th at the following locations

Monday, April 6

  • Milby High School, 1601 Broadway St., 9 a.m.
  • Wesley Elementary School, 800 Dillard St., 9 a.m.
  • Revere Middle School, 10502 Briar Forest Drive, 11 a.m.
  • Madison High School, 13719 White Heather Drive, 11 a.m.
  • Northside High School, 1101 Quitman St., 3 p.m.

Tuesday, April 7

  • McReynolds Middle School, 5910 Market St., 9 a.m.
  • Bastian Elementary School, 5051 Bellfort St., 9 a.m.
  • Wisdom High School, 6529 Beverly Hill St., 11 a.m.
  • Sam Houston High School, 9400 Irvington Blvd., 3 p.m.
  • Sterling High School, 11625 Martindale Road, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, April 8

  • Yates High School, 3650 Alabama St., 9 a.m.
  • Mading Elementary School, 8511 Crestmont St., 9 a.m.
  • North Forest High School, 10726 Mesa Drive, 11 a.m.
  • Sharpstown High School, 7504 Bissonnet St., 3 p.m.

Thursday, April 9

  • Chavez High School, 8501 Howard Drive, 9 a.m.
  • Black Middle School, 1575 Chantilly Lane, 9 a.m.
  • Furr High School, 520 Mercury Drive, 11 a.m.
  • Benavidez Elementary School, 6262 Gulfton St., 3 p.m.

Friday, April 10

  • Kashmere High School, 6900 Wileyvale St., 9 a.m.
  • Woodson PK-5, 10720 Southview St., 9 a.m.
  • Henry Middle School, 10702 E. Hardy Road, 11 a.m.
  • Westbury High School, 11911 Chimney Rock Road, 3 p.m.

12:02 AM: The number of officially reported COVID-19 cases in the Greater Houston area rose above 1,500 as of Thursday morning as five counties (and Houston proper) have confirmed over 100 cases. In total, there are 1,538 confirmed cases in the region with 16 deaths and over 144 individuals who are recovering. The first two individuals who passed away from COVID-19 compilations in Montgomery County were a man in his 80s and another man in his 90s. Both had lived in the same senior living facility in College Station.

  • Houston (458 cases, 4 deaths, 3 recoveries)
  • Harris County (389 cases, 2 deaths, 74 recoveries)
  • Fort Bend County (194 cases, 2 deaths, 9 recoveries)
  • Galveston County (118 cases, 0 deaths, 26 recoveries)
  • Montgomery County (110 cases, 2 deaths, 17 recoveries)
  • Brazoria County (109 cases, 1 death, 10 recoveries)

Fort Bend County announced on Wednesday that it was extending its stay-at-home order until April 30th.

Unemployment claims in Texas have skyrocketed. More than 725,000 people have filed for unemployment in the last three weeks, more than the total number of requests in all of 2019. In the US, more than 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, doubling the number of individuals who filed for benefits last week.

In regards to the stimulus checks that should be coming to Americans within the next few weeks, here is who won’t get checks, according to Business Insider:

  • People with incomes above $99,000 or single parents with incomes above $136,500
  • Dependent children over the age of 16
  • Dependent adults (including many college students between the ages of 19 and 23)
  • Anyone without a social security number
  • Nonresident aliens (immigrants who don’t have a green card).
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • People who haven’t filed 2018 and 2019 tax returns.

UPDATES: April 1

9:44 AM: Houston Methodist is the first hospital in the nation to deliver a new coronavirus treatment involving plasma transfers. The concept, according to Houston Methodist, revolves around the idea that plasma from someone who has recovered from COVID-19 contains antibodies made by one’s immune system and is used to kill the virus. Transferring that antibody-rich plasma to someone who is currently fighting the disease may transfer the power of the antibodies into a healing, possibly life-saving therapy.

The number of individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 in the Greater Houston area eclipsed 100 as of Wednesday morning but the number of cases continues to grow. The tally now stands at 1,267 cases as Galveston reached over 100 confirmed cases overnight.

  • Houston (377 cases, 4 deaths, 3 recoveries)
  • Harris County (303 cases, 2 deaths, 61 recoveries)
  • Fort Bend County (163 cases, 2 deaths, 9 recoveries)
  • Galveston County (106 cases, 0 deaths, 21 recoveries)
  • Brazoria County (95 cases, 1 death, 10 recoveries)
  • Montgomery County (93 cases, 0 deaths, 14 recoveries)

UPDATES: March 31

2:35 PM: Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas schools would be closed until May 4th, stay at home order in place for Texans until April 30.

1:13 PM: Judge Lina Hidalgo announced on Tuesday (Mar. 31) that she was extending Houston’s stay-at-home order until April 30th. According to a University of Texas School of Public Health analysis, the virus would burn out in the Houston area by mid-May if stay-at-home measures were to remain in place.

10:58 AM: COVID-19 testing is now available at all Legacy Health Clinics.

9:53 AM: Here’s what various local businesses are doing to help during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as local resources to help out with the kids, pets and more.

  • Constellation Field in Sugar Land will serve as a drop-off location for personal protective equipment to be donated to Memorial Hermann beginning April 1.
  • Wal-Mart is adjusting store hours for its store and neighborhood markets from 24 hours to be open from 6 AM to 11 PM. Additionally, they are making health-based changes for employees, stating that they will be given masks and gloves to wear and will also have their temperature checked. If their temperature is above 100 degrees, employees will be sent home.
  • Studio Movie Grill has announced curbside pickup is available from select SMG locations between 11 AM and 8 PM, Monday thru Saturday. Click here for more details.
  • Marcos Pizza is offering a buy one large or extra-large pizza and get one free medium pizza for delivery or carry out at participating locations with the code: APRILAPP during the week of April 6.
  • Various kid activities are popping up across Houston. Check them out here.
  • Source Vital is offering hand sanitizer.
  • The Empty The Shelters initiative from The BISSELL Pet Foundation is looking for homes for pets to save during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • If you are the victim of domestic abuse during the “Stay At Home/Work At Home” order, call the Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse hotline at 713-224-9911 or visit their website for more information. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224. You can also text LOVEIS to 22522.

A shelter-in-place order has been issued for The Woodlands retirement community after 12 COVID-19 cases were confirmed overnight.

The World Health Organization released an app to inform individuals about global health information regarding the coronavirus and COVID-19. You can download it here.

UPDATES: March 30

The official number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the greater Houston area topped 1,000 as of Monday with 1,054 confirmed cases and 79 known recoveries. The number of deaths from COVID-19 has risen to 11.

  • Houston (309 cases, 3 deaths, 3 recoveries)
  • Harris County (254 cases, 2 deaths, 34 recoveries)
  • Fort Bend County (138 cases, 2 deaths, 9 recoveries)
  • Galveston County (92 cases, 0 deaths, 17 recoveries)
  • Montgomery County (81 cases, 0 deaths, 11 recoveries)
  • Brazoria County (79 cases, 1 death, 5 recoveries)

Fort Bend County opened its first government-supported testing site and you must be pre-screened before visiting: http://fbchealth.org/. Additionally, A new United Memorial Medical Center location has opened at Smart Financial Centre, according to US Rep. Shelia Jackson-Lee.

UPDATES: March 29

Donald Trump announced in a news conference on Sunday that the CDC guidelines in regards to social distancing have been extended to April 30, weeks after his initial proclamation that social distancing guidelines would ease up by Easter.

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in the Houston-area as it nears 1,000 confirmed cases. On Sunday, health officials revealed that there were 922 confirmed cases, including eight confirmed deaths and 57 individuals who have recovered.

In the city of Houston, there are now a confirmed 286 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 240 in Harris County, 119 in Fort Bend County, 70 in Galveston, 65 in Montgomery, 61 in Brazoria and 44 in Brazos County.

Galveston County announced on Sunday the closure of beaches until April 5th.

UPDATES: March 28

4:27 PM In a news briefing on Saturday, Mayor Sylvester Turner revealed that after more tests had been conducted throughout the city and Harris County, an additional 53 individuals had tested positive for COVID-19 in Harris County, bringing the number to 213. In Houston proper, the number of COVID-19 has more than tripled as it currently stands that 232 individuals had tested positive and a second individual, a woman in her 60s, had passed away from the disease. The news brought the number of total cases in the Greater Houston area to 782.

“The numbers are going to rise as we do more testing,” Turner said. “We’re not surprised at all.”

The city has also opened its testing site to anyone with symptoms. People can call 832-393-4220 to start the screening process.

10:10 AM The number of COVID-19 cases in the Greater Houston area eclipsed 500 as of Saturday morning with the total sitting at 534. 25 more cases were confirmed in Harris County, bringing the official total there to 160, followed by Fort Bend County with 15 new cases (101 total), the city of Houston with no new cases (69 total), 13 new cases in Brazoria County (52 total), nine new cases in Galveston County (49 total) and six new cases in Montgomery County (47 total).

Of those 534 cases, 34 individuals have recovered from COVID-19, the majority in Harris County.

UPDATES: March 27

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Greater Houston area jumped to 461 as of Friday morning with the most notable cases including Scarface and ABC 13 anchor Chauncey Glover. 135 are in Harris County, 86 are in Fort Bend County, 69 in Houston, 41 in Montgomery County, 40 in Galveston County and 39 in Brazoria County.

A third death has been attributed to underlying symptoms, a 60-year-old woman in the Houston area. Of the number of cases, there have been 29 known recoveries.

On Friday, Donald Trump signed into law a $2 trillion stimulus package. Read more about the details of it here in regards to when checks will be mailed out, who gets checks and how much.

Essence Fest officially postponed its 2020 festival and is looking for a fall date.

UPDATES: March 26

The expansion in regards to testing facilities and care has led to a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Houston area. A day after the total eclipsed 300, there are now a confirmed 372 cases in the Houston area, predominately in Harris County with 119. The city of Houston has 66 cases, Fort Bend County has 56 cases, Brazoria County has 33 cases, Montgomery County has 31 cases and Galveston County has 27 cases.

  • Memorial City Mall is hosting two blood drives this weekend – one on Friday and another on Saturday. The first Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center drive is scheduled from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and the second is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
  • Appointments are required in order to donate blood. Friday appointment information can be found here. Saturday appointment information can be found here.
  • Organizers said the drive is considered essential under the Harris County stay-home-work-safe order.

Donald Trump granted a Major Disaster Declaration for Texas, which will expand the resources available to Texas and speed the state’s ability to robustly respond to the coronavirus.

The Real ID deadline, which was originally set for October 1, 2020 has now been pushed back to October 1, 2021. The Real ID, which allows you to board an airplane, is a federally mandated identification card that is similar to the current driver’s license but with a gold star on the card.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced plans for an executive order asking that those who fly into Texas from COVID-19 hot spot states such as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as well as the city of New Orleans to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

HISD has announced they are suspending food distribution sites for the time being after an individual at the Welch Middle School site is under self-quarantine due to possible COVID-19 exposure. That person has not tested positive for COVID-19 at this time.

UPDATES: March 25

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Houston area jumped on Tuesday as cases are now closer to 300 total (282 overall) with the highest number of reported cases in Harris County (79), Houston (55) and Fort Bend County (44).

The Houston Independent School District announced that it is canceling food distribution for Thursday and Friday as coronavirus spread mitigation precautions intensify.

“The cancellation will remain in effect as the district re-evaluates its process for safely delivering this service to students and families,” school district officials wrote. “This is a difficult decision to make, but the safety of the community, staff, and volunteers is our top priority.”

Brazoria County became the latest county to announce a stay at home order in the region that began at 6 p.m. on Wednesday (Mar. 25).

For those with child care needs, these facilities will be open for those “essential employees” who are under “stay-at-home” orders:

UPDATES: March 25

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Houston area jumped on Tuesday as cases are now closer to 300 total (282 overall) with the highest number of reported cases in Harris County (79), Houston (55) and Fort Bend County (44).

The Houston Independent School District announced that it is canceling food distribution for Thursday and Friday as coronavirus spread mitigation precautions intensify.

“The cancellation will remain in effect as the district re-evaluates its process for safely delivering this service to students and families,” school district officials wrote. “This is a difficult decision to make, but the safety of the community, staff, and volunteers is our top priority.”

Brazoria County became the latest county to announce a stay at home order in the region that began at 6 p.m. on Wednesday (Mar. 25).

For those with child care needs, these facilities will be open for those “essential employees” who are under “stay-at-home” orders:

UPDATES: March 24

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Houston area inched closer to 200 as of Monday with the majority of known cases in Harris County (54), Fort Bend County (42), the city of Houston (24) and Montgomery County (22).

On Tuesday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Mayor Turner announced a Stay At Home-Work Safe Order which takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 24 and expires on April 3, 2020.

Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George announced a Stay At Home-Work Safe Order similar to that of Harris and Galveston Counties that will take effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 24 and expire on April 3, 2020.

UPDATES: March 23

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Houston area rose to 166 as of Sunday with a growing number in those who are recovering from the disease. Here’s the latest information:

  • No shelter-in-place order has been made by Governor Greg Abbott, however, Dallas County is the first in the state to enact such a decree.
  • Two new drive-thru testing sites have been opened in Harris County. For prescreening, people can go to ReadyHarris.org or call 832-927-7575. If testing is needed, the person will be given a unique ID number and directions to a testing site.
  • A case-by-case breakdown of new individuals tested for COVID-19 shows that 4% of those tested were under 8 years old, 5% were between 10 to 18 years old, 18% were between 19 to 27 years old and 48% were between 28 to 45 years old.
  • Galveston County announced a stay-at-home order on Monday evening – an announcement is set to take place on Tuesday with Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Mayor Sylvester Turner about a rumored stay-at-home shelter order for Harris County.
  • Three HPD officers tested positive for coronavirus and are “doing well” according to Houston police chief Art Acevedo.

UPDATES: March 22

The official number of COVID-19 cases in the Houston-area rose to 150 on Saturday as more testing locations became available to the general public. Among the new cases are two Harris County Sherriff’s Office employees, a slew of individuals in the 20s and two children under the age of 10 who were exposed via a confirmed case.

Whole Foods is giving its hourly employees a $2-an-hour raise, slash its operating hours and provide older customers a special shopping hour as it works to support employees and keep their customers supplied with essentials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Katy ISD is providing free meals to Katy ISD students from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the following locations:

  • Bear Creek Elementary: 4815 Hickory Downs Dr, Houston, TX 77084
  • Golbow Elementary: 3535 Lakes of Bridgewater Dr, Katy, TX 77449
  • Hutsell Elementary: 5360 Franz Rd, Katy, TX 77493
  • Mayde Creek Elementary: 2698 Greenhouse Rd, Houston, TX 77084
  • Memorial Parkway Elementary: 21603 Park Tree Ln, Katy, TX 77450
  • Paetow High School*: 23111 Stockdick School Road, Katy, TX 77493
  • Schmalz Elementary*: 18605 Green Land Way, Houston, TX 77084
  • Sundown Elementary: 20100 Saums Rd, Katy, TX 77449
  • West Memorial Elementary: 22605 Provincial Blvd, Katy, TX 77450
  • Williams Elementary: 3900 S. Peek Rd, Katy, TX 77450
  • Tompkins High School: 4400 Falcon Landing Blvd, Katy, TX 77494

UPDATES: March 21

The official number of COVID-19 cases in the Houston-area rose to 117 with 7 people confirmed to be recovering from the virus. Two people are confirmed dead. Additional cases were announced in Montgomery County, Fort Bend County and Harris County. At the free testing center at United Memorial Medical Center, seven cases were confirmed and the individuals were notified by health officials.

Fort Bend County Judge KP George announced the order to close local businesses such as gyms, salons and other facilities beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday (Mar. 21)

“Gyms, fitness centers and other facilities that are used or intended to be used for any type of training, martial arts or sports shall close,” officials tweeted. “Hair and nail salons, spas, massage and tattoo parlors, movie theaters, game rooms and bingo halls shall close. Access to Fort Bend County facilities shall be limited to the public.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged the public to not listen to rumors on social media regarding a city-wide lockdown and to pay attention to news and reports from trusted media sources only.

“There is not going to be a lock-down, the city is not shutting down,” Mayor Turner announced during a Friday evening news conference. “There are only three people in the state of Texas who can make that decision, and that is the mayor, county judge, or governor. At this point, neither one has made the call. We are saying people should practice social distancing, wash their hands and use hand sanitizer.”

UPDATES: March 20

The official number of COVID-19 cases in the Houston-area rose to 89 with 7 people confirmed to be recovering from the virus. Two people are confirmed dead.

Testing

  • There are four announced options for payment in regards to testing. Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city will open a testing facility at Butler Stadium though the price wasn’t disclosed. In order to be tested at Butler Stadium, you have to be: a health care worker and/or first responder to be tested on Friday. On Saturday, the site will be open to anyone 65 years old and older. On Sunday, the site will be open to anyone. You will have to go through a screening process online or over the phone before you get tested.
  • The drive-thru testing operation at United Memorial Medical Center is free and is for those experiencing symptoms.
  • Legacy Health has opened several satellite sites and the price varies due to your insurance provider.
  • Next Level Urgent Care will begin drive-thru testing on Friday. If paying through your insurance, you’re looking at paying your co-pay. Without insurance, you’ll be paying a rate of $200.

Here’s an updated listing on where to get tested.

UPDATES: March 19

  • Testing locations for COVID-19 are set to open beginning on Thursday at United Memorial Medical Center (510 West Tidwell), as well as three Legacy Health centers in the Fifth Ward area (3811 Lyons Ave.), Montrose (1415 California St.), and Southwest (6441 High Star). Testing hours begin at 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. and is for those individuals who feel they are feeling symptoms of COVID-19.
  • The City of Houston has canceled all city-produced, sponsored and permitted events until April.
  • The Houston Public Library will remain closed until the end of March.

Here is a list of free services and measures taken to help lift the economic burden of the crisis:

Ford: The automaker is offering six-month payment relief for new-car customers.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Checks to Americans: The Treasury Department wants to dedicate $500 billion to start issuing direct payments to Americans by early next month. Treasury proposed two $250 billion cash infusions to individuals: A first set of checks issued starting April 6, with a second wave in mid-May. The amounts would depend on income and family size.

Foreclosures and evictions: Housing and Urban Development Department is suspending foreclosures and evictions from public housing through April.

Taxes: The Trump administration has announced that most individuals and businesses will be allowed to delay paying their federal tax bills for 90 days as part of an emergency relief plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Student loans: President Donald Trump promised to temporarily waive interest on student loans.

National Parks: National Parks Service is suspending all entrance fees to encourage Americans to go outdoors while practicing social distancing.

BANKS

Bank of America: Bank of America is allowing “clients with hardships” to delay mortgages and credit card payments. At the moment, the bank will allow delays of up to 60 days.

JP Morgan: JP Morgan announced that customer service specialists will help customers and small businesses affected by the crisis with services like waiving fees and extending payment due dates for cards, auto loans and mortgages.

Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo said customers who contact the bank may receive assistance including fee waivers, payment deferrals, and other expanded assistance.

CELL AND INTERNET SERVICES

Comcast: Comcast is offering free public Wi-Fi for all for 60 days. Home-based Xfinity hotspots are not included, said Comcast spokesman Joel Shadle, but Wi-Fi access points in public locations and at small businesses are. The company is also lifting data caps.

AT&T: AT&T and Charter Communications also announced free public Wi-Fi for 60 days, with Charter offering free broadband for households with students through college age who don’t already have a subscription. Like Comcast, it will also lift data caps.

Verizon: Verizon was among the many providers to also announce a moratorium on late fees and disconnections.

T-Mobile: T-Mobile announced that it would provide unlimited smartphone data to all current subscribers and increase the data allowance to schools and students using their digital learning programs.

Cox: Cox said it would increase speeds on low-cost broadband plans.

Sprint: Sprint said it would give subscribers unlimited data for 60 days, among other changes.

UPDATES: March 18

  • The number of coronavirus cases in the Houston area has grown to 62, including 1 death.
  • The Galleria Mall, Katy Mills and Houston Premium Outlets are temporarily closing its doors to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to Simon Property Group.
  • Simon Property Group announced the closure of all of its retail properties, including malls, premium outlets and mills across the U.S.
  • The closure will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday until March 29.

UPDATES: March 17

  • The governor of Texas has activated the National Guard to assist with coronavirus response in the state
  • The White House is proposing a roughly $850 billion emergency stimulus to address the economic impact of the new coronavirus, according to sources.
  • President Trump wants checks sent out to the public within two weeks.
  • The Pentagon will be providing 5 million respirators and 2,000 ventilators
  • The EU will ban most foreign travelers for 30 days to curb the spread of coronavirus
  • Ohio’s primary election, originally scheduled to take place on Tuesday, has been postponed after the Ohio Department of Health issued an emergency health order.
  • Disney postpones May releases, including ‘Black Widow’
  • A Delta Air Lines flight from New York to Seattle was delayed after a passenger informed a flight attendant they had been exposed to someone who may have the virus.
  • Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak, reported just one new case Tuesday. Officials there believe the worst of the crisis is over for China.
  • Churchill Downs announced that The Kentucky Derby is being postponed from May to September.

UPDATES: March 17

A testing center for the coronavirus has opened in Southwest Houston.

The My Family Doctor clinic located on the 6400 block of HIlcroft Street near the Southwest Freeway has started drive-thru testing for the coronavirus. Per a Facebook post, the clinic is limited to supplies for coronavirus testing and will only be able to test visitors who are at high risk for the disease or those who meet the CDC criteria for testing. Testing will be done Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Harris County Public Health has revealed three new positive cases of COVID-19:

  • A 40-50-year-old man, who lives in the Northwest quadrant of Harris County. Investigation is ongoing, including travel history
  • A 40-50-year-old woman, who lives in the Southeast quadrant of Harris County. Investigation is ongoing, including travel history
  • A 40-50-year-old man, who lives in the Northwest quadrant of Harris County. This individual has known contact with a positive COVID-19 case

Also, the Harris County Tax Office will be ceasing in-person transactions by using dropbox payment methods for property owners, Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrars, commercial customers, automobile dealers and title services beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

“All Harris County Tax Office locations will eliminate direct customer service transactions for the safety of our employees and the community,” Bennett said. “The Tax Office is not closed. Employees will continue to provide services to those who usually visit a Tax Office location by accepting transactions by drop box or mail. Customers are also encouraged to use the Tax Office website to conduct all other business.”

UPDATES: March 16

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the state would be waiving the 2019-2020 STAAR Test, a day after the CDC recommended that gatherings of more than 50 people should cease for the next two months in order to curve the spread of coronavirus.
  • Five Houston area malls have announced reduced hours in lieu of COVID-19: First Colony, Willowbrook, Baybrook, Deerbrook, and The Woodlands. The hours are now Monday thru Saturday noon to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from noon until 6 p.m.
  • All bars and restaurants have been ordered to close for two weeks beginning at 8 a.m. on Tuesday with restaurants only allowing pickup, delivery and drive-through orders.

Gyms have also announced they will be temporarily closed as the country deals with COVID-19. Those to announce are:

  • 24 Hour Fitness
  • Gold’s Gym (company-owned locations)
  • LA Fitness
  • Lifetime Fitness
  • Orangetheory Fitness
  • Soulcycle (website does not show Texas closures; their official social media says all locations)
  • YMCA – all locations across Houston

As of Mar. 16, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Houston area has risen to 29, including a woman who was confirmed with COVID-19 who recently visited the rodeo. There has been one confirmed death of coronavirus in Texas, a man in his 90s who passed away on March 16th.

UPDATES: MARCH 13

Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of emergency and said that drive-thru testing locations would be implemented across the state, including Dallas, Houston and more. Mayor Turner said that drive-thru locations in the Houston area would be open next week.

UPDATES: MARCH 12

The City of Houston announced on Thursday (Mar. 12) that they will not turn off the water of customers who are behind on their bills.

“Because we’re telling people to wash their hands, and it’s very difficult to do that, especially for those individuals who may have gotten behind on their water bills. Well, the city of Houston is not going to be disconnecting anybody’s water, whether it’s individuals or businesses,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

EVENTS:

  • The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is canceled for the remainder of the 2020 season.
  • Tour De Houston is canceled.
  • Bayou City Arts Festival is postponed.
  • NCAA Tournament games at the Toyota Center are not open to the public.
  • CERAWeek 2020 has been canceled.
  • The McDonald’s Houston Children’s Festival has been postponed.
  • Levy Park and the Levy Park Conservancy have canceled all events and programming through March 31, including the St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Spring Break.
  • Alley Theatre cancels all performances and events through the end of March. Purchased tickets can be donated, exchanged, or refunded. Call box office for information.

SCHOOLS:

  • The University of Houston is canceling classes next week. Campus will remain open but faculty/staff has open to work remotely. Classes will resume online on March 23.

  • Montgomery ISD campuses and departments will close Thursday and Friday ahead of spring break.
  • Saint Thomas’ Episcopal School in Meyerland is close for the next two weeks.
  • Joy School in the Museum District is closed for the next two weeks.
  • Texas A&M has suspended classes until March 18.
  • Rice University has canceled in-person classes and is not hosting events for more than 100 people.
  • The University of Houston Downtown is suspending all classes from March 16-22, and students should not go to the campus. All course-related activities scheduled between March 23 and April 4 will be conducted online. By April 4, UHD will assess whether to continue conducting instruction online.
  • The University of Houston-Clear Lake classes will not be held from March 16 – 21. Beginning March 23, classes will be offered remotely until further notice.
  • The University of Houston-Victoria and UHV Katy will start its spring break early at noon March 12. Spring break begins March 16.
  • Prairie View A&M suspended classes until March 23.

  • The University of St. Thomas has canceled classes beginning noon March 12 and will resume online on March 23.
  • Lone Star College is extending Spring Break and will not resume classes until Monday, March 23.
  • Houston Community College is extending Spring Break by two additional days and will not resume until March 25.
  • Houston Baptist University will not hold residential classes for the week of March 16-21. Online classes will continue as scheduled. The residential class schedule will resume remotely (online or alternative format) beginning March 23 until further notice.
  • Galena Park ISD classes, activities, events, etc. have been canceled from March 16-22. All campuses, transportation services, and the Administration Building will be closed.
  • Harris County District Clerk cancels jury duty from March 13-20.
  • Spring ISD schools will be closed March 16 – March 20.
  • Waller ISD schools and offices closed March 16 – 20.
  • Sheldon ISD will be closed March 16 – 20.
  • Lamar CISD will be closed March 16 – 20.
  • Channelview ISD will be closed March 16 – 22.
  • Dickinson ISD will be closed March 16 – 20.

More cancellations will be added as they are announced.

RELATED: What The CDC Wants You To Know About Fighting The Coronavirus

RELATED: RODEOHOUSTON Shut Down Over Coronavirus Concerns

RELATED: Wash Your Lyrics: Peep The Meme Generator To Help You Out During The Coronavirus

Coronavirus Updates: Latest News & Info  was originally published on theboxhouston.com

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