HOUSTON — We are continuing to track the latest headlines and updates regarding the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Astros star Alex Bregman launched FEEDHOU, a $1 million fundraising campaign to help feed Houston-area residents experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis.
Get today's latest updates and top headlines below.
Today's top headlines
- More than 13% of Texas nursing homes have at least one resident with coronavirus, officials say
- Thank you Alex Bregman! Astros slugger starts $1M campaign to feed
- Have auto insurance? You'll likely get a refund due to 'Stay at Home' from coronavirus
- 'It's an invisible monster' | Houstonian Emilian White shares coronavirus story after 9 days in ICU
Here are the latest updates from around the Houston area and the world (all times are Central/Houston time):
APRIL 10 10:37 p.m. — A Houston-based oil and gas giant is joining the fight against COVID-19 by re-purposing its 3-D printers to make personal protective equipment for health care workers which is in short supply worldwide. More details here.
APRIL 10 8:51 p.m. — Harris County has released a breakdown of COVID-19 cases by city.
APRIL 10 8:35 p.m. — There are now 18 state prisons on lockdown due to an employee or prisoner who’s tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice issued a new directive this week, ordering any prison that has a positive case of COVID-19 must lock down and undergo a 14-day quarantine period from the date of the most recent positive test.
Those prisons are: Bell, Beto, Byrd, Clements, Darrington, ETTF, Estelle, Goree, Hutchins, Jordan, Leblanc, Murray, Robertson, Smith, Stringfellow, Telford, Woodman and Wynne.
Nearly 21,000 prisoners are affected by the lockdowns.
In all, 69 TDCJ employees or contractors and 132 prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19.
APRIL 10 8:22 p.m. — President Trump, who is now weighing when to re-open the country’s economy, is pointing to models that are now forecasting U.S. death rates far lower than originally estimated. He says, “We’re saving so many lives compared to what it could have been.”
But experts warn that re-opening the country too soon could cause a devastating new spike in infections.
"I only hope to God that it's the right decision," Trump said at Friday's White House coronavirus task force press conference about reopening the country. "I would say without question it's the biggest decision I've ever had to make."
APRIL 10 8:06 p.m. — If you’ve found it easier to breathe the past couple of weeks, there’s some hard data that helps explain why. A side effect of COVID-19 crisis has been Houston's air is cleaner. KHOU 11 Investigates breaks it down.
APRIL 10 7:44 p.m. — Willis ISD announced tonight its canceling its May 22 graduation. The district said Sam Houston State University Coliseum, where it holds its graduations, has closed. It's hoping to reschedule. "We are sad for our seniors, but plans will be made to honor them in a special way," the district said. More info here.
APRIL 10 6:43 p.m. — In an updated memo posted online today, The Buckingham said 14 people have tested positive, including nine residents and five staff members.
In all, 116 people in the facility have been tested. Twenty-eight residents and 11 employees have tested negative.
APRIL 10 5:55 p.m. — There are now 44 Harris County sheriff employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, many of whom work at the Harris County Jail. Eight inmates in the jail have also tested positive.
APRIL 10 5:20 p.m. — A senior living facility in Houston has quarantined some residents after multiple employees and residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
In a memo sent posted online, The Buckingham said 10 people have contracted COVID-19 as of Thursday evening, including eight residents and two employees. The facility plans to release updated numbers tonight and expects more positive cases. Read more here.
APRIL 10 4:12 p.m. — Here's an updated count on COVID-19 cases across counties in the Greater Houston area as of Friday afternoon.
APRIL 10 3:30 p.m. — Montgomery County is reporting 14 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the county's total to 245. There have been 76 recoveries and four deaths.
APRIL 10 3:24 p.m. — Houston health officials are investigating a potential COVID-19 outbreak at a nursing home. Dr. David Persse said at an afternoon news conference that two people tested positive, sparking the city to test everyone at the facility.
Health officials didn’t name the facility because not all test results have come back yet.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said he’s asking all nursing homes and senior living facilities in the city to abide by a new set of rules during the pandemic: employees can only work at one facility, employees must have their temperature taken before their shifts, and all employees must wear masks during their shifts.
There's been coronavirus outbreaks at two senior living facilities in Greater Houston. One was at The Resort in Texas City, where 83 residents and employees have tested positive. The other is at 28 cases at Park Manor at Quail Valley in Missouri City.
APRIL 10 3:11 p.m. — There are two new coronavirus-related deaths in the city of Houston and 68 new cases, Mayor Sylvester Turner said. One was an African American woman in her 90s, the other a Hispanic male in his 50s. Both had underlying medical issues.
Houston has a total of 2,063 COVID-19 cases as of Friday afternoon.
Houston Fire Department
There are 147 firefighters in quarantine, down from 220 at the beginning of last week, chief Sam Pena reports.
The captain who’s hospitalized has been moved out of intensive care after his condition was upgraded. Pena asks the community to keep him in your prayers.
Houston Police Department
- 115 members in quarantine: 82 officers, 33 civilians
- 149 officers tested: 32 positive, 58 negative, 53 pending
- Six civilian employees tested: 1 positive, 1 negative, cases pending
Chief Art Acevedo said detective Ramon Cervantes is still in intensive care and on a ventilator due to COVID-19. Acevedo said Cervantes’ family reports that his lungs are showing improvement.
“So, please, on this Good Friday continue to pray for him and his wife, Liz, and their extended family,” Acevedo said.
APRIL 10 2:28 p.m. — Gov. Greg Abbott is drafting an executive order for guidelines for re-opening Texas businesses. Abbott said that order, which will come next week, will look at ways to safely provide economic revitalization to Texas.
“We will focus on protective lives while restoring livelihoods. We can do both,” Abbott said Friday during a news conference.
The governor said more details will come next week, but said he wants to do it strategically and safely to prevent the further spread of the virus. Read more here.
As of for the coronavirus pandemic in Texas, Abbott shared the latest numbers from across the state. As of Friday afternoon:
- 116,000 total Texans tested
- 11,449 Texans tested positive
- 1,532 Texans hospitalized
- 221 Texans who have died
“Every life lost is one too many,” Abbott said.
Abbott shared a slide that gives insight into cases throughout Harris County. Take a look below:
APRIL 10 1:45 p.m. — The Houston Astros Foundation has teamed up with Crane Worldwide Logistics to deliver millions of masks and other PPE to Houston hospitals within the Texas Medical Center.
Below is an update on past and upcoming deliveries:
- 2.7 million masks have been delivered this week. Approximately 8.0 million more masks are scheduled to be delivered in the next 14 days.
- 200,000 nasal swabs have been delivered. 200,000 more nasal swabs are scheduled to be delivered in the upcoming days.
- 200,000 face shields are scheduled to be delivered over the next 10 days.
- 30,000 goggles and 470 forehead thermometers are scheduled to be delivered over the next week.
APRIL 10 12:55 p.m. — The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in the United States is 465,750 as of 1 a.m. Friday. There have been 16,684 deaths in the U.S. and 25,960 recoveries.
The state of New York alone has 161,807 confirmed cases. That more than Spain, the country with the second-most cases in the world behind the U.S.
Worldwide, there are 1.6 million confirmed cases with 100,376 deaths and nearly more than 360,000 recoveries.
White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that he now believes the U.S. death toll will be around 60,000, not the 100,000 - 240,000 predicted a few weeks ago. He cites social distancing and changes to people's behavior.
APRIL 10 12:35 p.m. — Dr. Fauci also says antibody tests are expected next week in the United States. He said the people responsible for developing, validating and disseminating the tests were saying “a rather large number of tests” will be available within a week.
An antibody test could show whether a person was recently exposed to the coronavirus. Fauci says the test would say “that you were infected and if you’re feeling well you very likely recovered.”
Fauci says medical experts could then try to determine how deeply the virus “has penetrated the society” and whether previously infected people would be vulnerable to reinfection, which is particularly “important for health care workers.”
APRIL 10 12:13 p.m. — COVID-19 continues to shake the sports world. The XFL has reportedly fired nearly all of its employees and suspended league operations. Moreover, there's a chance the league may not return for a 2021 season. Read more here.
APRIL 10 12:10 p.m. — Fort Bend County public parks will remain open Easter weekend. Officials said Friday the county has placed new signage around the parks to educate the public on best practices on how to maintain social distancing. Read more here.
APRIL 10 10:55 a.m. — Astros star Alex Bregman launched FEEDHOU, a $1 million fundraising campaign to help feed Houston-area residents experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis. Proceeds from the campaign directly benefit the Houston Food Bank, a nonprofit committed to feeding the hungry in the Houston area.
To help kickstart the initiative, Bregman along with Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale are each committing $100,000 for the cause. Rallying the community spirit behind the “Houston Strong” campaign that grew in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Bregman is now calling on Houstonians to step to the plate and contribute. Donations can be made by typing “FEEDHOU” in a text message to the number 41444 or by visiting the FEEDHOU Alex’s Army donation page online at https://bit.ly/2y1eB96. Read more here.
APRIL 10 10:45 a.m. — The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is offering immediate counseling to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic. The Helpline is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week and free resource that responds to people who need crisis counseling and support in dealing with the traumatic effects of a natural or human-caused disaster.
Helpline specialists are trained to assist callers who have a range of symptoms.
“People seeking emotional help during an ongoing disaster such as a pandemic can call 1-800-985-5990 or can text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746 – and can find recovery and coping strategies,” said Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, who is the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and who is the head of SAMHSA.
APRIL 10 10:40 a.m. — ReadyHarris.org is conducting a survey of Harris County residents on what they need during the coronavirus outbreak. Residents can participate in the survey by texting “impact” to 888-777. So far, Harris County officials say 40 percent of those surveyed say they need of food and other essentials.
Harris County officials also noted in a Zoom call on Friday morning that Emergency Operations Center has been active for record 40 days now. That surpassed their response to Hurricane Harvey and the ITC plant fire which was 37 consecutive days.
APRIL 10 9:28 a.m. — The Fort Bend County Health and Human Services is reporting 48 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths. The total number of tests reported on the Response Hub are only reflective of the tests performed at the county-supported site. More here.
APRIL 10 8:34 a.m. — Everyone's favorite "Sesame Street" characters, like Elmo and Cookie Monster, are teaming up with celebrity guests to connect with children and families stuck at home during this time of uncertainty. "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, along with actresses Anne Hathaway, and Tracee Ellis Ross will appear during the 30-minute "Sesame Street: Elmo's Playdate" special. Read more.
APRIL 10 8:22 a.m. — H-E-B is standing for Houston and standing for Texas with its plan to deliver more than 75,000 meals to healthcare workers across the state. Each week for the next five weeks, H-E-B plans to deliver Meal Simple meals to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19. Read more here.
APRIL 10 7:34 a.m. — Democrats in Congress want to give essential workers a raise for staying on the job in the face of coronavirus. Senate Democrats are proposing nurses and doctors, but also grocery clerks and transit workers, get as much as $25,000 in hazard pay from the federal government. Read more.
APRIL 10 7:00 a.m. — Scientists have said they believe social distancing and other preventative measures being taken across the world are helping slow the spread of COVID-19, however, once Texas gets through the peak, then what? Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and the Co-director at Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development, believes the United States needs to prepare for the possibility of a vaccine taking longer than the 12- to 18-month goal. Read more.
APRIL 10 4:34 a.m. — The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in the United States is 465,750 as of midnight ET Friday morning. There have been 16,684 deaths in the U.S. and 25,960 recoveries.
The state of New York alone has 161,807 confirmed cases. That more than Spain, the country with the second-most cases in the world behind the U.S.
Worldwide, there are 1.6 million confirmed cases with 95,718 deaths and nearly 355,000 recoveries. More national updates.
APRIL 10 4:00 a.m. — Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi says it is donating 100 million doses of a malaria drug being tested for use as a treatment against the new coronavirus.
In a statement Friday, the company said the hydroxychloroquine doses will be given to 50 countries. The company said it also is ramping up production, aiming to quadruple is capacity to manufacture the drug.
Sanofi said it “will continue to donate the medicine to governments and hospital institutions if ongoing clinical studies demonstrate its efficacy and safety in COVID-19 patients.” More national updates.
APRIL 9 10:04 p.m. — To honor health care workers, first responders and all essential employees on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, buildings and stadiums across Greater Houston shined blue in appreciation for those fighting to keep us safe.
APRIL 9 9:04 p.m. — This interactive map shows you mass layoffs and county-by-county unemployment. Staggeringly, in just four weeks, unemployment in Texas grew 1,840%.
APRIL 9 8:31 p.m. — President Donald Trump says the United States is "at the top of the hill" of coronavirus-related infections.
Trump made the comments during a White House briefing Thursday. He did not give data to support his claim or elaborate on what measure he used to come to that conclusion.
"I'm pretty sure we're at the top of the hill and no we're going downward. In some cases, we've already started that process," he says.
The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
APRIL 9 8:27 p.m. — Inmates at the Fort Bend County jail have been sewing masks for themselves and essential county employees. "We must be innovative and use all of our resources to keep our inmates, employees and their families safe," Sheriff Troy Nehls said. More about the program here.
APRIL 9 7:46 p.m. — Are Houstonians really staying home during the county's "Stay Home, Work Safe" order? Well, Transtar data show that traffic on the Katy Freeway has dropped in half. KHOU 11 Investigates takes a closer look.
APRIL 9 7:34 p.m. — Richmond is closing all city parks until Monday morning to "discourage gatherings of 10 or more people." The closure includes George Park, which the city says will be locked. "Officers will be patrolling and checking all the other parks," city officials said in a tweet.
APRIL 9 6:50 p.m. — Houston Arts Alliance has started a special fund to support local artists who may be out of work or otherwise in dire need of financial help due to the coronavirus crisis. More details here.
APRIL 9 6:38 p.m. — A 36-year-old Seabrook woman is facing potential prison time for allegedly lying to a police officer that she tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Normally a Class B misdemeanor, making a false report now carries a state jail felony charge under Harris County's disaster declaration, meaning up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, if convicted. More here.
APRIL 9 6:09 p.m. — Wall Street closed out its best week in 45 years on Thursday after the Federal Reserve launched its latest titanic effort to support the economy through the coronavirus outbreak.
The central bank announced programs to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to households, local governments and businesses as the country tips into what economists say may be the worst recession in decades. It’s the latest unprecedented move by the Fed, which has rushed to ensure cash gets to parts of the economy that need it after markets got snarled by a rush of investors pulling cash out of the system. More here on the big day.
APRIL 9 6:03 p.m. — Galveston is reporting 21 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the county's total to 308. Seven people have recovered. The county also has two new deaths: a man between 61-70 and a woman between 81-90. Both had previous medical conditions.
APRIL 9 5:11 p.m. — Harris County is reporting 91 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death. The county has a total of 1,052 cases, 264 recoveries and 20 deaths as of Thursday afternoon.
Here are total cases for the following counties:
Click here to see a map of cases for all counties across the Greater Houston area.
APRIL 9 4:52 p.m. — The city of Pearland is closing parks until further notice to further promote social distancing and help flatten the curve of COVID-19. Houston and Harris County announced earlier that they have also closed all parks. More details here.
APRIL 9 4:45 p.m. — Houston police chief Art Acevedo is asking for prayers for HPD's Ramon "Ray" Cervantes. The 57-year-old cold case detective is in critical condition with COVID-19. Read more here.
APRIL 9 4:02 p.m. — A woman between 70-80 years old has died in Brazoria County due to COVID-19. The Pearland woman died on April 6. It's the county's second death related to the virus.
APRIL 9 3:09 p.m. — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is ordering all city parks closed through Easter weekend to encourage social distancing. At a news conference this afternoon, Turner announced 615 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the city's total to 1,995. That drastic increase was the main reason why Turner chose to close the parks. Read more here.
Turner also announced two more deaths: a white male in his 80s who died March 27, and a Hispanic female in her 70s who died on April 2. Both had underlying health conditions. Houston has 14 total deaths linked to the coronavirus.
Houston fire chief Sam Pena said there are 149 firefighters in quarantine, a number that's been slowly dropping since the beginning of the week.
Houston police chief Art Acevedo said four more HPD officers have tested positive for a total of 31. There are 120 HPD employees in quarantine: 88 officers and 32 civilians.
Montgomery County is reporting 21 new COVID-19 cases for a total of 231 positive cases. There are now 76 total recoveries.
APRIL 9 3:03 p.m. — The number of Harris County Sheriff's Office employees who have contracted the coronavirus climbed to 38 confirmed cases Thursday, according to officials. Read more here.
APRIL 9 2:08 p.m. — From FEMA: "Disaster survivors who are living in FEMA-purchased temporary housing units in California, Florida, North Carolina & Texas will not have to pay rent in April, May, or June. This temporary suspension will help ease financial burdens during the coronavirus pandemic." 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.
Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.