HOUSTON — We are continuing to track the latest headlines and updates regarding the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Galveston County Health District announced today that 83 residents and employees at The Resort have tested positive for the virus after 146 were tested Thursday.
Get today's latest updates below.
Today's top headlines
- Costco to limit number of customers who can enter starting Friday
- Coronavirus: Tips on how to make your trip to the grocery a safe one
- This coronavirus map shows all reported cases in the world
- Which industries in Texas are hiring the most amid layoffs due to COVID-19
- What resources are available to Texans who are suddenly out of work?
Here are the latest updates from around the Houston area and the world (all times are Central/Houston time):
APRIL 3 10:11 p.m. – A Texas congressman is saying another stimulus package could be passed by Congress. "We're talking about it right now," said U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas.
Allred said Congress is already discussing another stimulus package to give more direct payments to individuals, help small businesses and assist towns with populations under 500,000. Read more here.
APRIL 3 7:45 p.m. – Disney is shifting the release dates for nearly all of its big-budget movies, and it's going to send one straight to its streaming service. Six Marvel movies are also affected. See the new schedule.
APRIL 3 7:35 p.m. – H-E-B and Walmart are implementing new rules to slow the spread of the coronavirus. H-E-B will begin providing masks and gloves to all its employees who are working. Read more here.
Walmart, meanwhile, is limiting the number of customers it will allow into its stores at a given time. Read more here.
The changes at both stores go into effect Saturday, April 4.
APRIL 3 6:54 p.m. – Rosenberg Mayor William Benton has amended the city's disaster declaration to require social distancing. Everyone within the city limits must now adhere to the CDC's guidelines of not gathering in crowds of 10 or more people and keeping at least six feet of space between people not residing in the same household. People who don't follow the order, Benton noted, face up to a $1,000 fine, up to 180 days in jail or both.
APRIL 3 6:32 p.m. – The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation donated 100,000 brand new children’s books to HISD this week.
The Foundation bought the books to help bridge the learning gap while schools and libraries are closed across the city due to the coronavirus.
The books were distributed to families of children in pre-K through eighth grades across 50 HISD schools as they picked up curriculum and instructions packets for distance learning.
APRIL 3 6:03 p.m. – Galveston City Council has extended several emergency orders until April 30 to limit the spread of COVID-19. Those include the city's stay-at-home order, public beach closures, and restrictions on hotels, short-term rentals, bars and restaurants. Here's more information on the orders.
APRIL 3 6:03 p.m. – The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has extended its deadline for people wishing to refund their carnival tickets. The new deadline is April 10 at midnight. You can request a refund or roll your tickets from this year to the 2021 HLSR. Tap here for more details.
APRIL 3 5:59 p.m. – After a brief hiatus, the Houston Independent School District is reopening its food distribution sites beginning Monday, April 6. Dozens of distribution sites will open next weeks at HISD campuses across the city. Read more here. Here's a list of the sites.
APRIL 3 5:53 p.m. – Galveston County is reporting six new positive cases, bringing the county's total to 136. Today's count doesn't include the 83 cases tied to The Resort, a Texas City nursing home, that were announced today. County officials said those numbers will be included in Saturday's count.
APRIL 3 5:26 p.m. – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Friday the county, including Houston, has reached a grim milestone with more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases. Thirteen people in Houston and Harris County have died.
"We know it is easy to feel powerless against this virus, an invisible force responsible for so much hardship across our region. The truth is, we are not powerless. For those of you at home, distancing and protecting your community - thank you. That simple act of staying physically apart from others is making a difference by saving lives - among the vulnerable and strong alike. Those same actions will help us get past this surge in cases sooner so that we can go back to normal and our economy can get back on track as soon as possible. As we have with every other challenge we have faced, we will emerge stronger when this is over- but the only way to get there is together.”
APRIL 3 5:16 p.m. – The Brazoria County Health Department reports 13 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the area, bringing the total up to 136 positive cases.
APRIL 3 5:10 p.m. – Harris County Public Health confirms a fifth person has died due to coronavirus. On Friday, officials also reported positive cases in the county have reached 519 and 118 people have recovered. Click here for a full breakdown of cases reported in the Greater Houston area.
APRIL 3 4:42 p.m. – A Houston METRO police officer has tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the department's number of confirmed cases up to 6. Read more here.
APRIL 3 4:11 p.m. – More than 80 people at a Texas City retirement home have tested positive for COVID-19. The Galveston County Health District announced today that 83 residents and employees at The Resort have tested positive for the virus after 146 were tested Thursday. Some test results are still pending. Read more here.
APRIL 3 3:52 p.m. – Two more people in the city of Houston have died from COVID-19. One was a woman in her 60s who died March 24 and the other was a man in his 70s who died March 31. Both had underlying health conditions, city health officials said. Houston has a total of 506 COVID-19 cases. Here's a list of Houston-area coronavirus cases.
APRIL 3 3:44 p.m. – The Harris County Sheriff's Office reports two more employees, including a deputy and a detention officer, have tested positive for the coronavirus. As of Friday, a total 15 HCSO employees have contracted COVID-19 and another 73 are awaiting test results. Read more here.
APRIL 3 3:23 p.m. – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced there will be a PPE drive for the city's front line responders. The drive will be held on Wednesday, April 8, from noon to 3 p.m. at Minute Maid Park.
APRIL 3 3:13 p.m. – Stocks fell again on Wall Street following the latest grim reading on the toll that the coronavirus is having on jobs as the economy grinds to a halt. The government reported earlier Friday that more than 700,000 jobs were lost last month, and investors and economists expect that far worse data is on the way. Many businesses have shut down in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. The market losses accelerated after New York announced its biggest daily jump yet in deaths. The S&P 500 fell 1.5%, capping its third down week in the last four. Read more here.
APRIL 3 2:28 p.m. – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said more than 55,000 Texans have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 5,478 have tested positive for the virus.
The governor said there are 91 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths in the state.
Abbott also said because of executive orders he has signed, there has been a 142% increase in hospital beds in the state. As of Friday afternoon, the state has:
- 19,695 beds available
- 47,585 total beds reported
- 2,107 ICU beds available
- 8,741 ventilators available
APRIL 3 2:28 p.m. – Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted he received a court order that prevents "any further inmate releases related to County Judge Hidalgo's Order. This is a legal matter and will wait for further information." The order comes the same day that Harris County released 13 nonviolent inmates from the jail to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
APRIL 3 2:23 p.m. – To ease the large number of unemployment applications it’s receiving, the Texas Workforce Commission is implementing a new policy to ease the backlog.
TWC has received more than 500,000 unemployment claims since early March due to the coronavirus. The agency said the number of claims will soon surpass all the unemployment applications it received in all of 2019.
To help ease the congestion, TWC is asking people wishing to make an unemployment claim to access the Unemployment Benefit Services online portal at a specific time based on the applicant’s area code. Read more here.
APRIL 3 2:12 p.m. – Out-of-work residents living in one of Houston-based Camden Property Trust’s multifamily communities will soon have access to a new source of funds to help pay their bills. Camden has launched a $5 million program to provide financial support to residents who lost their source of income as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Click here to read more.
APRIL 3 1:33 p.m. – Thirteen nonviolent offenders have been released from Harris County Jail to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
At least one individual inside the facility had tested positive for COVID-19, and more are expected to test positive. At least two dozen are exhibiting symptoms, officials said.
Those being released are not being absolved of their alleged, nonviolent crimes. If found guilty, those who committed nonviolent crimes will still face justice. They will be provided a new trial date to be determined.
APRIL 3 1:27 p.m. – Mexico's Grupo Modelo said it will temporarily stop brewing Corona beer, and other brands, because its business was declared non-essential under an order to limit the spread of coronavirus.
The company said in a statement posted to Twitter that the suspension would go into place Sunday and it was already scaling down production. It added that if the Mexican government clarifies that beer is an "agro-industrial product," then Grupo Modelo would resume brewing.
APRIL 3 12:13 p.m. – Rebecca Creek Distillery has donated 50 gallons of Love, Distilled, its alcohol-based hand cleaner, to the Houston Police Department. The company said they have more plans to aid the Houston community with future donations to local emergency crisis management teams.
APRIL 3 12:02 p.m. – MD Anderson is accepting blood donations and says it's safe to donate. If you're interested in donating blood, read more here.
APRIL 3 11:22 a.m. – ExxonMobil will help provide about 1 million meals to Houston-area residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through $250,000 in contributions to local food banks. The Houston Food Bank will receive $200,000, including $50,000 worth of gasoline gift cards for use at Exxon- and Mobil-branded retail stations to help deliver food to those in need. The Montgomery County Food Bank will receive $50,000 from the company, which has a long history of support for the community organizations.
APRIL 3 10:55 a.m. – Washington County officials announced Friday that the first COVID-19 positive patient has died. A male, 80-89 years old with multiple underlying medical conditions passed away early Friday morning. Read more.
APRIL 3 10:11 a.m. – Ace Hardware and its independent retailers plan to hire more than 30,000 people collectively to further support the communities they serve when they need it most. Read more on job opportunities.
APRIL 3 9:11 a.m. – The USGA announced that due to the evolving dynamics of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the 75th U.S. Women’s Open, originally scheduled for June 4-7 at Champions Golf Club in Houston, has been postponed to Dec. 10-13.
APRIL 3 8:49 a.m. – Memorial City is holding a medical supply drive to help West Houston hospitals and healthcare professionals. They will be collecting the supplies at the west entrance near American Girl today and tomorrow, Saturday, April 3, from noon to 4 p.m.
APRIL 3 7:59 a.m. – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said community banks have already processed over 700 loans processed for $2,500,000 under the Paycheck Protection Program meant to help small businesses.
APRIL 3 7:50 a.m. – A record-long streak of U.S. job growth ended suddenly in March after nearly a decade as employers cut 701,000 jobs because of the viral outbreak that's all but shut down the U.S. economy. The unemployment rate jumped to 4.4% from a 50-year low of 3.5%. Read more.
APRIL 3 7:20 a.m. – The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many Americans wear face coverings when leaving home, in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Read more.
APRIL 3 6:11 a.m. – Houston Texans' safety Justin Reid has donated $6,500 to Kids’ Meals Houston to help children affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
In addition to the donation, Reed took time out of his day Thursday to pack snacks for kids who are in need of food they would typically get from their school throughout the day. Read more.
APRIL 3 5:34 a.m. – In an effort to increase social distancing, Costco says it will temporarily start limiting the number of people who can enter its stores starting Friday
Only two people will be allowed in for every membership card that is presented, according to the company's website. That means parents who normally haul their whole family to the store may have to leave some of them at home. Read more.
APRIL 3 4:34 a.m. – Global stock markets declined Friday after soaring U.S. job losses tempered enthusiasm about a possible deal to stabilize oil prices amid anxiety over the global economic decline due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 1% Friday. Read more.
APRIL 3 3:45 a.m. – Minnesota-based Target has announced a series of new safety and social distancing measures to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Starting April 4, Target stores will monitor and limit the number of guests allowed inside its stores, when necessary. Read more.
APRIL 3 3:35 a.m. – The number of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 passed 6,000 early Friday morning, an increase of approximately 2,000 in the span of about 48 hours. That's according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University. More than 1/4 of those are in New York City.
The U.S. passed 4,000 early Wednesday morning. Before midnight Wednesday, it passed 5,000. The total reached 6,053 just before 1 a.m. ET Friday.
The U.S. has 245,540 cases as of midnight ET Friday morning and more than 9,100 recoveries.
The worldwide total of confirmed COVID-19 cases is just over 1 million with 53,000 deaths and 211,000 recoveries.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
APRIL 3 3:15 a.m. – The Asian Development Bank forecasts that the coronavirus pandemic will cost the world economy as much as $4.1 trillion, or nearly 5% of all economic activity.
In an update Friday, the regional lender said growth in developing Asia would likely fall to 2.2% in 2020 from 5.2% last year. The Manila, Philippines-based bank said that Southeast Asia, a market of more than 600 million that has been rapidly growing, will likely log 1% growth this year.
APRIL 3 3:00 a.m. – "Top Gun: Maverick" is the latest Hollywood blockbuster to get pushed off its upcoming release date because of the coronavirus pandemic. Paramount Pictures is moving the sequel to the 1986 Tom Cruise hit from June 24 to December 23.
Several films have been forced to postpone their release dates due to the virus. Many movie theaters are shut down in an effort to increase social distancing amid a growing number of "stay home" orders from governors and mayors.
APRIL 2 8:07 p.m. – An employee at the Giddings State School has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Texas Juvenile Justice Department officials.
Officials said the employee, whose job does not involve interaction with youth, is the first person to test positive at TJJD’s facilities.
The employee reportedly left work early on Monday when he started feeling ill and had limited interactions with other staff that day, officials said. Those who had direct contact with the employee are self-isolating. They said no other employee or youth has reported having symptoms, and staff will be issued masks while on campus.
The employee is self-isolating at home.
APRIL 2 7:47 p.m. – Baylor College of Medicine is enrolling participants in a treatment trial for adult patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis who are hospitalized at either Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center or Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital. Read more here.
APRIL 2 7:03 p.m. – Two people died in Harris County from COVID-19 related complications.
Four people in the county have now died from the virus. All live outside the city of Houston's boundary.
A woman between the ages of 80 and 90 and a man between the ages of 50 and 60 who both lived in the southwest part of the county died Thursday. They were both COVID-19 positive and had underlying health problems, according to county officials. Both cases are considered to have been contracted through community spread.
APRIL 2 6:47 p.m. – Two more Harris County Jail inmates tested positive for COVID-19.
There are now three inmates who have tested positive.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said 30 more are awaiting test results and 800 are in quarantine as a precaution.
APRIL 2 5:20 p.m. – A mandatory shelter-in-place order was issued in Matagorda County on Thursday.
The mandatory order comes from county officials three days after a voluntary order was issued.
The mandatory order went into effect April 2 at 2:15 p.m. and will "remain in effect for the duration of this declared disaster due to COVID-19."
A curfew is also in effect from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. for residents who are 17 and younger. It will also "remain in effect for the duration of this declared disaster due to COVID-19."
A violation of the order is punishable by a $200 fine. Read the full order here.
APRIL 2 5:16 p.m. – Galveston County Health District officials confirm 12 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the county’s case total to 130. They said 5 people have recovered.
APRIL 2 5:13 p.m. – Brazoria County has confirmed 14 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the county's total to 123.
APRIL 2 5:03 p.m. – Chambers County has confirmed two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county's total to 11.
APRIL 2 5:00 p.m. – Fort Bend County is reporting 27 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 recovery. The county has 221 cases and 10 recoveries.
APRIL 2 4:15 p.m. – Wall Street rallied Thursday for its first gain in three days after a sudden surge in oil prices revived beaten-down energy stocks. But, as has so often been the case in this year's market sell-off, it took a few U-turns to get there.
The price of crude spurted as much as 30% higher after President Donald Trump said he expects Russia and Saudi Arabia to back away from their price war, which erupted last month and helped drag U.S. oil to its lowest price in 18 years.
The surge lifted energy stocks enough to pull the S&P 500 higher and outshine another dismal report showing that millions of Americans are joining the unemployment queue by the week.
APRIL 2 3:50 p.m. – A Harris County Sheriff’s Office detention officer has COVID-19, bringing the agency’s total number of confirmed cases to 13.
The detention officer is a male in his mid-20s, assigned to work in the 1200 Baker Street jail facility. He is the first detention officer to test positive for the virus, and the third overall employee assigned to work in the 1200 Baker Street jail.
There are currently 179 Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies, detention officers and support staff on quarantine for possible COVID-19 exposure, including one who is in the hospital.
APRIL 2 3:10 p.m. – A Houston police officer diagnosed with COVID-19 is now on a ventilator, according to Police Chief Art Acevedo. He asked for prayers for the officer. "Seventeen employees, all front-line members of the department," have tested positive, Acevedo said.
The Houston Fire Department has also been hard hit by the coronavirus. Twelve HFD employees have tested positive, according to Chief Sam Pena. Two of those have recovered. Another 173 HFD employees are in quarantine.
"Stay home before this hits home," Pena said. Read more here.
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. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.
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 for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.
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.
- Follow social distancing
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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