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Coronavirus updates: Gov. Abbott said he'll allow some church services if they practice social distancing

Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 headlines from around Houston, Texas, and the world for Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

HOUSTON — We are continuing to track the latest headlines and updates regarding the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said all Texas schools will remain closed until at least May 4.

Harris County Judge Lina Hildago and Mayor Turner have extended the "Stay Home, Work Safe" order through April 30, following President Trump's social distancing guidelines.

Full update below.

Today's top headlines

List: Where you can get tested | Map: Local COVID-19 cases | Coronavirus symptoms | FAQ


Latest updates

Here are the latest updates from around the Houston area and the world (all times are Central/Houston time):

MARCH 31 8:50 p.m. — Matagorda County officials report that a man between the ages of 70 and 75 passed away at Matagorda Regional Medical Center with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. This is the second confirmed COVID-19 related death in Matagorda County.

MARCH 31 8:45 p.m. — Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, chair of the Congressional Coronavirus Task Force, will announce the launch of the third United Memorial Medical Center COVID-19 drive-through testing site. 

The announcement will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday at Forest Brook Middle School, 7525 Tidwell Road.

“We must not panic, but prepare,” Lee said in a statement Tuesday night. "We have surpassed 3000 deaths in the United States and there were more than 800 reports of deaths from coronavirus on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, the most deaths reported in a single day in the United States. With the announcement that up to 240,000 or more people in the United States will die from the Coronavirus, it is imperative that we keep increasing testing opportunities."

MARCH 31 7:40 p.m. — Eight HFD employees have now tested positive for COVID-19.

MARCH 31 6:11 p.m.  Two more METRO employees have tested positive for COVID-19.  That brings the number of METRO employees with coronavirus to four.

One of the employees who contracted COVID-19 is a bus operator who was last on the job March 12. The bus operator drove the 7 West Airport route March 9 to 12 from 5 a.m. to 2:13 p.m. 

MARCH 31 5:55 p.m. — From Gov. Greg Abbott: If religious services cannot be conducted from home or through remote services, they should be conducted consistent with the guidelines from the President and the CDC by practicing good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation, and by implementing social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Read more here.

MARCH 31 5:27 p.m. — During a White House briefing, Dr. Birx explained that they have been relying on a model from the University of Washington which projects there will be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from coronavirus pandemic if social distancing is maintained. 

She added that it was "still way too much." Read more here

MARCH 31 4:35 p.m. — The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has climbed past 3,500, eclipsing China's official count.  

MARCH 31 3:44 p.m. — During a press conference, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said she will be signing an order to release roughly 1,000 non-violent inmates from jail to reduce the risk of COVID-19 outbreak. More details here.

March 31 3:25 p.m. —  Mayor Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo have extended the Stay at Home order through April 30, citing an "alarming acceleration of COVID-19 cases" in the county. Read more here

MARCH 31 2:10 p.m. —  Texas schools will remain closed until at least May 4, Gov. Greg Abbott announced at a 2 p.m. news conference.

MARCH 31 1:40 p.m. —  Texas now has more than 3,200 cases of confirmed COVID-19 and 41 Texans have died, according to Gov. Greg Abbott. Nearly half of the counties in the Lone Star state -- 122 out of 254-- have reported cases. About 11-percent of those who test positive were hospitalized. The rest are recovering at home. Nearly 43,000 people here have been tested.

MARCH 31 12:53 p.m. Liberty County now has three cases of COVID-19 and Jackson County reported an additional case bringing the county's total to two. Click here to see the number of coronavirus cases in each county in the Greater Houston area. 

MARCH 31 11:55 a.m. — More than two dozen Austin spring breakers have tested positive for coronavirus after returning from a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the Austin Public Health (APH) said. Austin health officials said about 70 people in their 20s went to Mexico on a chartered plane for their spring break trip about a week and a half ago. Part of the group returned on separate commercial flights.

There are 28 young adults on the trip that have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, and dozens more are under public health investigation, Austin Public Health said. Read more.

MARCH 31 11:35 a.m. — There’s another possible symptom to add to the list of early warning signs of coronavirus. Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, has been seen in some patients, although it's rare. But if you have pink eye -- along with other common symptoms like fever, dry cough and shortness of breath -- you should call your doctor. Read more.

MARCH 31 10:50 a.m. — Ships with people from ill-fated cruise beg Florida to dock, the Associated Press reports: Two ships carrying passengers and crew from an ill-fated South American cruise are pleading with Florida officials to let them carry off the sick and dead, but Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida's health care resources are already stretched too thin. As the Zaandam and its sister ship the Rotterdam make for Florida, passengers confined to their rooms are anxious for relief, hoping DeSantis will change his mind and allow them to disembark despite confirmed coronavirus cases aboard.

The governor said he has been in contact with the Coast Guard and the White House about diverting them, and local officials were meeting Tuesday to decide whether to let them dock at Broward County's Port Everglades cruise ship terminal, where workers who greet passengers were among Florida's first confirmed coronavirus cases.

Holland America said the Rotterdam took on nearly 1,400 people who appear to be healthy, leaving 450 guests and 602 crew members on the Zaandam, including more than 190 who said they are sick. More than 300 U.S. citizens are on both ships combined.

MARCH 31 10:48 a.m. — CNN's Chris Cuomo tests positive coronavirus, the AP reports. The CNN anchor says he will continue to film his shows from home, where he is quarantined. Read more here.

MARCH 31 10:20 a.m. — News from the Associated Press: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says a State Department official has died from the coronavirus, the first American fatality among the U.S. diplomatic corps from the pandemic. Pompeo didn't give details about the official who passed away or where the person contracted the disease. He says about four to five dozen State Department employees had tested positive for the virus, including locally employed staffers at a handful of the 220 U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. On Monday, State Department health officials said at least two locally employed staff members had died from the virus. Read more national/world updates here.

MARCH 31 10 a.m. — New COVID-19 testing site opens in Sugar Land. Read more here.

MARCH 31 9:25 a.m. — Walmart is making health-based changes for its employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced Tuesday. The big changes include taking the temperature of workers as they arrive for their shifts and asking them some basic health questions. Stores will also provide masks and gloves for employees who wish to wear them. Read more here.

MARCH 31 9:10 a.m. — Matagorda County health officials are reporting one new COVID-19 case there this morning. Map: Local COVID-19 cases

MARCH 31 8:59 a.m. — An outbreak of COVID-19 at an Arlington senior living facility is raising questions about the actions of a North Texas hospital. Read the full story here.

MARCH 31 8:40 a.m. — Workers for Amazon-owned Whole Foods are planning to strike on Tuesday, calling the move a globally-organized "sick out." Read more here.

MARCH 31 8:15 a.m. — Looking to get your stimulus check? The IRS just released a set of new frequently asked questions you will want to look over. The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. Read more here.

MARCH 31 7:41 a.m. — From the Houston Fire Department this morning: "Houston firefighters helping the Health Department prepare to open the Delmar Stadium Testing Site for COVID-19.  The site is scheduled to open April 1st. Scheduling will be required for testing" .. View where you can get tested

MARCH 31 7:40 a.m. — ICYMI: The Empire State Building last night was lit up like an ambulance Monday night in honor of first responders and medical professionals on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. 

MARCH 31 7:29 a.m. — Some uplifting news this morning out of Colorado: A 96-year-old Denver woman recovering from COVID-19 is back home again. Her diagnosis was as surprising as her recovery. Anita Hernandez was in the hospital for six days. She says she feels stronger and better everyday. Read more here.

MARCH 31 6:55 a.m. — Kentucky judges are not messing around: Some people in Louisville are being diagnosed with COVID-19 and then refusing to stay home, defying orders from doctors, city and state leaders. Now, judges are issuing court orders in attempt to hold them legally liable and Metro Corrections officers are being asked to distribute the GPS monitoring gear. Read more here.

MARCH 31 6:33 a.m. — Houston-area update: A new public coronavirus testing site will open Tuesday at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land. The big difference with this new site is that everything is done here at the testing site. There's no online pre-screening or code needed. Read more and get the full story here.

MARCH 31 6 a.m. — New case forecast models likely today. AP reports: Like forecasters tracking a megastorm, White House officials are relying on statistical models to predict the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and try to protect as many people as possible. The public could get its first close look at the Trump administration's own projections Tuesday at the daily briefing. High numbers of potential deaths estimated under different models have focused President Donald Trump's attention. Read more national/world updates here.

MARCH 31 5:55 a.m. — AP news from VILNIUS, Lithuania: The Vilnius municipality says it has started a pilot initiative where drones are patrolling the skies over the Lithuanian capital as authorities try to prevent citizens from gathering in public. IT adviser to the municipality Egle Radvilaite said that seven unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with loudspeakers were launched Monday and dozens more are expected to join this enforcement task shortly. The drones are operating daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in parks, squares and other places where people tend to gather. Read more national/world updates here.

MARCH 31 5:19 a.m. — A California scientist and his team say they have found a potential cure for COVID-19. "We are happy to announce we have completed the engineering and we have some very potent antibodies that can be effective against the virus," said Dr. Glanville. Get the full story here.

MARCH 31 5:07 a.m. — Wall Street futures are up this morning with the Dow up 145 points as of this posting. The Dow is at 22,312. Read more here as Asian manufacturing starts to resume.

MARCH 31 3 a.m. — It's not over in Asia... World news: The World Health Organization warns that while attention has shifted to epicenters in Western Europe and North America, COVID-19 epidemics are “far from over” in Asia and the Pacific Urging governments at all levels in the region to stay engaged in efforts to combat the virus, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr. Takeshi Kasai says, “This is going to be a long-term battle and we cannot let down our guard. We need every country to keep responding according to their local situation.” Read more national/world updates here.

MARCH 31 3 a.m. — Wimbledon canceled? German Tennis Federation vice-president Dirk Hordorff says an announcement is coming Wednesday that Wimbledon will be canceled. "There is no doubt about it. This is necessary in the current situation," Hordorff told Sky Sports Germany. The tournament is scheduled to start June 29. Read more national/world updates here.

MARCH 30 11 p.m. — The NCAA will permit Division I spring-sport athletes — such as baseball, softball and lacrosse players — who had their seasons shortened by the coronavirus pandemic to have an additional year of eligibility. Read more here.

MARCH 30 11 p.m. — More delays for summer blockbuster movies: Sony Pictures on Monday cleared out its summer calendar due to the coronavirus, postponing the releases of Jason Reitman's “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and the Marvel movie “Morbius” to 2021. Theaters nationwide have closed and major film productions have halted with no clear timeline for resuming. Read more national/world updates here.

MARCH 30 9:10 p.m. — Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Monday the current ‘stay home, work safe’ order that is set to expire Friday will be extended as county health experts continue to monitor the coronavirus pandemic. “The question is not ‘whether’ we will be extending the order; it’s a question of 'for how long’ will we be extending the order for. This is really difficult. It’s a difficult decision that we’re all a part of,” she said. An new official deadline has not been announced. Watch highlights from today’s COVID-19 update here.

MARCH 30 8:32 p.m. — Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton has filed an appeal to protect a state-issued executive order banning abortions during the coronavirus pandemic after the law was temporally blocked by a federal judge.

Earlier in the week, Gov. Greg Abbott banned all unnecessary medical procedures to help healthcare professionals balance the intake of COVID-19 patients and to stop the virus from spreading.

However, law makers disagree whether abortions constitute ‘unnecessary procedures’ as stated under the order. Read more here.

MARCH 30 8:09 p.m. — The Galveston Fire Department confirms a total three employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. Earlier in the week, the department had 26 employees tested after a member of the team tested positive. Results for the remaining employees came back negative.

MARCH 30 7:59 p.m. — U.S. Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher has received her coronavirus testing results, and the results are negative, her office confirmed. She did, however, test positive for another respiratory infection that wasn't disclosed. Fletcher says she is doing much better.

MARCH 30 7:21 p.m. — Galveston County Health District reported 22 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the total in the area up to 92. 

Twelve of the cases have been linked to community spread, three were linked to travel and seven have been linked to contact with a known positive COVID-19 case. The age range of the individuals spanned to up to 90 years old, with two cases being children under age 10.

To date, Galveston County health officials have tested 1,063 residents. View a map of Houston-area cases here.

MARCH 30 6:40 p.m. — Montgomery County has issued a shelter-in-place order for residents at The Conservatory at Alden Bridge in The Woodlands, where a dozen people have tested positive for coronavirus.

All 12 cases have been confirmed to be residents.

The order goes into effect 6 p.m. Tuesday and will end April 13. Residents of the 55+ living apartment complex must stay inside their individual apartment units throughout that time.

In the meantime, residents will be allowed to self-isolate at another household given they leave before the shelter-in-place order starts. They won't be able to come back until the order is lifted.

The only exemption to the order are certain staff, food services, medical professionals, caregivers and law enforcement. Read more here.

MARCH 30 5:35 p.m. —  A second coronavirus-related death has been reported in Fort Bend County. The victim was a man in his 70s with underlying illness. He died at a local hospital Sunday, officials said.

The county also confirmed 19 new COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the county total to 138. So far, nine coronavirus patients have recovered. 

MARCH 30 5:35 p.m. — Fort Bend County Health and Human Services has launched an epidemiological investigation into two coronavirus cases reported at the Richmond State Supported Living Center. 

The individuals who tested positive are two residents in their 60s, who have both been hospitalized. Read more here.

MARCH 30 4:55 p.m. The Brazoria County Health Department reported 12 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total cases to seventy-nine. Track the number of coronavirus cases in each county here.

MARCH 30 4:30 p.m. — A 36-year-old inmate at a Huntsville, Texas prison has tested positive for COVID-19.

Texas Department of Justice officials said the inmate was taken to Huntsville Memorial Hospital March 12 for an unrelated ailment and returned to the prison on March 20. The prisoner later started showing coronavirus symptoms and was put into medical isolation. Their COVID-19 test results returned positive Monday. They remain in isolation, and at last report, was in good condition. 

MARCH 30 3:59 p.m. — Eight League City employees have tested positive for coronavirus, according to officials Monday. Seven are employees of the League City Fire Marshall's Office and the eighth is a police officer.
The 12 people who work in the Fire Administration Building, which has been closed since last week, have been tested. Some tests have come back negative, and they're still waiting on results from a few others.
None of the fire marshal employees respond to fire or other emergency calls, the city said.

MARCH 30 3:54 p.m. — A total of 12 employees with the Harris County Sheriff's Office have contracted COVID-19 after test results for two deputies came back positive Monday.

MARCH 30 3:51 p.m. — A third person has tested positive for the coronavirus in Grimes County, the Grimes County Office of Emergency Management confirmed. The individual is a man in his 60s who contracted the virus while out-of-state. He's currently in self-isolation at home.

MARCH 30 3:22 p.m. — The Houston Health Department reported a new COVID-19 death, bringing Houston's total deaths to three.  

The deceased resident was a woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions. She was a previously-reported COVID-19 case and died on March 29 in an area hospital. 

Click here for more details.

The City of Houston has 309 coronavirus cases. 

MARCH 30 2 p.m. Fort Bend County has partnered with AccessHealth to open the first county-supported COVID-19 testing site and online screening tool.

Those who feel like they have coronovirrus symptoms and want to get tested must first go through the online screening tool which could be accessed at www.fbchealth.org.

Those at higher risk of catching coronavirus or those at risk of severe illness from the virus will be prioritized first. 

Those individuals include: 

  • Healthcare professionals and first responders
  • People aged 60 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

There is no cost to those who need testing. More details on the testing site and online tool can be found here.

MARCH 30 1 p.m. Matagorda County officials held a press conference to update the community on how the county is combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. During the conference, County Judge Nate McDonald issued a voluntary shelter-in-place for all of Matagorda County, including all unincorporated counties. A county-wide curfew was set for children 17 and under from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day until further notice.

You can watch the press conference here.

County Judge Nate McDonald said he is bringing an aggressive law to Matagorda County and asking the sheriff to start arresting people and issuing citations to those who violate Gov. Abbott's emergency order.

MARCH 30 12:20 p.m. — New York City officials announced Monday morning that a child was one of 14 new COVID-19 fatalities from overnight in the city.  

The age of the minor wasn't immediately released, but records show they had an "underlying condition." 

As of Monday morning, 790 people have died in New York City from COVID-19. 

MARCH 30 11:40 a.m. — Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar Ann Harris Bennett announced that the Tax Office is providing a three-month extension of all 12-month delinquent property tax payment plans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Property owners with 12-month installment payment plans will not have to make payments for March, April, or May 2020. The next required payments would be due on or before June 30, 2020 and payable on a monthly basis from June until the end of the property owner’s initial property tax payment agreement deadline.

Property owners who receive payment extensions will have to contact the Tax Office prior to making their last payment as the final amount due will have changed.

It is important to note that the property tax code mandates that the Harris County Tax Office must still assess the appropriate late fees to all extended delinquent property tax payment plans. The Tax Office does not have the authority to waive the state’s fees.

Property owners may call 713-274-8000, or send an email to tax.office@hctx.net for additional information.

MARCH 30 11:05 a.m. — Sad news out of Brazoria County this morning where the county is reporting its first death related to COVID-19:  a woman between the ages of 75 and 85 who resided in Pearland.

More from the county: "As our cases continue to increase, we ask residents to take the Stay Safe @ Home Order seriously.

Brazoria County has seven new COVID-19 cases bringing the total cases to sixty-eight. Please see below for information on these new cases:

Case 1 – The individual is a female between the ages of 50-60 and resides in Rosharon. This case is travel related. She is recovering in home isolation.

Case 2 – The individual is a male between the ages of 30-40 and resides in West Columbia. This case is not travel related. He is recovering in home isolation.

Case 3 – The individual is a female between the ages of 70-80 and resides in Angleton. This case is not travel related. She is recovering in home isolation.

Case 4 – The individual is a female between the ages of 30-40 and resides in Pearland. This case is not travel related. She is recovering in home isolation.

Case 5 – The individual is a female between the ages of 50-60 and resides in Angleton. This case is not travel related. She is recovering in home isolation

Case 6 – The individual is a male between the ages of 40-50 and resides in Manvel. This case is not travel related. He is recovering in home isolation.

Case 7 –The individual is a male between the ages of 60-70 and resides in Liverpool. This case is not travel related. He is hospitalized.

All COVID-19 cases are being investigated by the Brazoria County Health Department."

Map: View local COVID-19 cases

MARCH 30 11:03 a.m. — Macy's is furloughing a majority of its 130,000 workers beginning this week as its sales have collapsed because of the pandemic. The company says that it will be moving to an ‘’absolute minimum workforce"  needed to maintain basic operations. It says there will be fewer furloughs in its online operations. At least through May, furloughed colleagues who are enrolled in health benefits will continue to receive coverage with the company covering 100% of the premium.  Read more national & world updates here.

MARCH 30 10:30 a.m. — Houston Methodist testing potential treatment that could be key to fighting COVID-19... The treatment uses antibodies built up in the blood of patients who had the illness and recovered. Get the full story here.

MARCH 30 9:50 a.m. — 400,000 tablets of an anti-viral medication that has shown promise in treating coronavirus symptoms are being donated to Louisiana hospitals. Attorney General Jeff Landry and state senator Fred Mills announced that Amneal Pharmaceuticals is donating pallets of hydroxycholorquine sulfate to the state, one of two drugs that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized to be given to hospitalized COVID-19 patients and medical personnel for treatment and prevention. Read more here.

MARCH 30 8:45 a.m. — National news from the AP: Dr. Anthony Fauci says smaller U.S. cities that don't yet have large numbers of COVID-19 cases are ripe for the type of acceleration that occurred in New York City. This morning he also addressed how long the country's "social distancing" guidelines and stay-at-home orders could or should last.

The U.S. government's top infectious disease expert told ABC's “Good Morning America” the “dynamics of the outbreak” of the coronavirus in New Orleans and Detroit show signs that “they're going to take off.” He's also concerned about smaller cities across the country.

“There are a number of smaller cities that are sort of percolating along, couple hundred cases, the slope doesn't look like it's going up,” Fauci said. “What we’ve learned from painful experience with this outbreak is that it goes along almost on a straight line, then a little acceleration, acceleration, then it goes way up.”

Fauci says that “very consistent pattern” is the same as what's occurred in New York, Italy, France, Germany and Spain. "We're going to have all of these little mini outbreaks throughout various cities in our country," he said.

Asked about how long the Trump administration's recommended social distancing guidelines might be in effect, Fauci says, “I think April might do it...but we kept an open mind when we presented it to the president." Read more national & world updates here.

RELATED: President Trump adds 30 days to social distancing guidelines as coronavirus spreads

MARCH 30 8:35 a.m. FDA approves full use of mask sterilizing system - The Ohio facility is capable of decontaminating up to 80,000 respirator masks per system each day using concentrated, vapor phase hydrogen peroxide. Read more here.

MARCH 30 8:31 a.m. — Houston news: The Ensemble Theatre joins other institutions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) by cancelling the reminder of its 2019-2020 season and annual fundraising gala. “This is a challenging time for our nonprofit cultural arts institutions,” says Eileen J. Morris, Artistic Director. “Cancelling a season is crushing but we thrive in creativity and our stories will go on as we explore alternate ways to connect with our communities through the arts.”

MARCH 30 8:15 a.m. — How does the stimulus package help small businesses? The package includes a $350 billion forgivable loan program intended to save jobs. It's called the Paycheck Protection Program. View the details here.

MARCH 30 7:50 a.m. — Spain has become the third country to surpass China in coronavirus infections after the United States and Italy. Despite having only a population of 47 million to China's 1.4 billion, Spain’s tally of infections reached 85,195 on Monday. That was a rise of 8% from the previous day. Spain also saw 812 new deaths, raising its overall confirmed fatalities from the coronavirus to 7,340. Read more national & world updates here.

MARCH 30 7:04 a.m. —  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will go into quarantine after an aide tested positive for coronavirus, his office says. Netanyahu has undergone a test and is awaiting the results. Read more national & world updates here.

MARCH 30 6:58 a.m. — The rescheduled Tokyo Olympics will run from July 23 - August 8, 2021, according to multiple reports. This after the 2020 games were postponed due to COVID-19. Read more here.

MARCH 30 6:54 a.m. — World news from the AP: Shopkeepers in the city at the center of China’s virus outbreak are reopening but customers are scarce as authorities lift more of the anti-virus controls that kept tens of millions of people at home for two months. Over the weekend, Wuhan’s bus and subway service resumed, easing curbs that cut most access to the city of 11 million people on Jan. 23 as China fought the coronavirus. Read more national & world updates here.

MARCH 30 5:35 a.m. — METRO Houston today will implement even more changes to its service, this after two employees on Sunday were found to be COVID-19 positive. View the bus/rail service changes here. | Read more about the METRO COVID-19 cases here.

MARCH 30 5 a.m. — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's latest executive order goes into effect today, Monday, at noon. He expanded a previous executive order requiring certain travelers coming into Texas to quarantine for 14 days or the duration of their stay, whichever is shorter, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The previous version of the order, issued on March 26, required people flying into Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Orleans to quarantine. On Sunday, Abbott expanded that to include travel by road into Texas from "any location in the state of Louisiana." Read more here | Read the executive order here

MARCH 30 3:30 a.m. — Wall Street looked poised to open the week with fresh losses following the lead of Asian Markets Monday as countries reported surging numbers of infections from the coronavirus that has prompted shutdowns of travel and business in many parts of the world. As of 3:30 a.m. Monday, all three major U.S. indexes were down modestly. Read more here.

MARCH 30 3:30 a.m. — The Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorizations (EUA) for two anti-malarial drugs on coronavirus patients which President Donald Trump has touted as potential game-changers. The drugs have yet to be approved by the FDA as treatments for COVID-19 and are undergoing clinical trials. Read more national & world updates here.

MARCH 30 3:11 a.m. — Alan Merrill — who co-wrote the song “I Love Rock and Roll" that became a signature hit for fellow rocker Joan Jett — died Sunday in New York of complications from the coronavirus, his daughter said. He was 69. Laura Merrill said on her Facebook account that he died in the morning. Read more here.

MARCH 30 12 a.m. — Now that the Olympic games have been pushed to next year, Tokyo’s cases are spiking, and the city's governor is requesting that people stay home, even hinting at a possible lockdown. The sudden rise in the number of virus cases in Tokyo and the government's strong actions immediately after the Olympic postponement have raised questions in parliament and among citizens about whether Japan understated the extent of the outbreak and delayed enforcement of social distancing measures while clinging to hopes that the games would start on July 24 as scheduled. Read more national & world updates here.

MARCH 30 12 a.m. — As the coronavirus rages through Europe, and major American cities like New York and Los Angeles, more than a third of counties across the U.S. still have not reported a positive test result for infection across what are predominantly rural areas. A data analysis by The Associated Press shows that 1,297 counties have no confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of 3,142 counties nationwide. Counties with zero positive tests for COVID-19 tend to have older, rural populations with lower incomes where rural health networks might be overwhelmed. Read more national & world updates here.

Read older updates here


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.  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.

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

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