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Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo canceled amid coronavirus concerns

Information on refunds will be released no later than Thursday, rodeo officials said.

HOUSTON — The 2020 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

Grounds will close at 4 p.m. Wednesday for the remainder of the season.

Information on refunds will be released no later than Thursday, RodeoHouston officials posted to their website. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the decision to cancel the rodeo was made when a man out of Montgomery County, who did not travel internationally, tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.

" (Tuesday) changed things," Turner said. "Because with the case in Montgomery County, there was evidence of some community spread, and as a result that takes us to what do we do next."

Turner said there is some indication that the Montgomery County patient was at the Houston Rodeo BBQ cook-off on Friday, Feb. 28.

Officials are trying to figure out what spots he visited while at the cook-off and who he had contact with.

"Our best understanding right now is that he was at the BBQ cook-off on the 28th and they're still trying to assess whether he had symptoms then which would have made it a bigger issue or whether he did not have any symptoms which wouldn't have made it as big an issue," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said. 

READ MORE: Montgomery County patient attended the Houston rodeo BBQ cook-off, mayor says

HLSR released the following statement on their website after the announcement was made:

In the interest of public health, the City of Houston and the Houston Health Department have ordered the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ to close. The Rodeo will respectfully and dutifully comply with the City’s order.

The Rodeo is deeply saddened; however, the safety and well-being of our guests and our community is our top priority. Out of precaution, the City has decided that this is the best course of action for our community.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been a fabric of this community since 1932. Having to close early is extremely difficult as guests, volunteers, exhibitors, rodeo athletes and entertainers look forward to the 20 days of the Rodeo each year.

We look forward to the 2021 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to continue to promote agriculture, education, entertainment and Western heritage. We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Updates will be posted at rodeohouston.com/2020.

The rodeo is the latest in major events to be canceled or postponed due to COVID-19.

South by Southwest was canceled Friday as the City of Austin declared a local emergency due to concerns about the virus.

The City of Denver canceled its huge St. Patrick's Day parade.

According to Variety and multiple reports, Coachella may move to the weekend of October 9 and Stagecoach to the weekend of October 16 amid coronavirus.

As of now, there are 14 cases of the coronavirus in the Greater Houston area. The latest is a man in his 40s out of Montgomery County who is currently isolated at an area hospital.

List: Local coronavirus cases in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties 

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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