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City of Houston, Harris Co. opening more COVID-19 testing sites

First responders and health care workers will be tested first.

HOUSTON — Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city will open its first of two COVID-19 testing sites Friday.

The center will be at Butler Stadium. First responders and health care workers will be tested first.

People will be given website address to answer questions, connect with a nurse, then will be given an authorization number to proceed to site.

Harris County held its first virtual news conference Friday morning. Judge Lina Hidalgo said once the county gets more test kits and protective gear from the federal government, they’ll be able to start running their testing sites.

She said they’re building a system to make sure people most in need get the tests first.

“Folks, for example, who are health care workers or are certain to have come into contact with someone who had the virus, those go at the top of the list, and so on and so forth," Hidalgo said. "The systems are there, and we’re just waiting for the materials. That’s really the backlog.”

Judge Hidalgo said one way people can make a difference is through social distancing and staying at home when possible.

The county’s health director said the last few cases appear to be community spread.

Judge Hidalgo said the Justice of the Peace will not conduct eviction hearings through at least the end of March. She also announced the Harris Center has activated a mental health line that’s available to anyone.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be 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.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

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.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.

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