We are continuing to track the latest headlines and updates regarding the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The number of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 passed the 8,500 mark shortly after 2:45 a.m. EDT Sunday. The worldwide total of confirmed COVID-19 cases is just over 1.2 million with more than 65,600 deaths and 247,000 recoveries.
Get today's latest updates below.
Today's top headlines
- New coronavirus limits in the US brings religious freedom tension
- LIST: Houston-area churches streaming Palm Sunday services online
- A warning to young people from a COVID-19 survivor
- H-E-B now carrying Houston restaurant-made meals during COVID-19 pandemic
- H-E-B, Walmart, Target, Costco among Houston-area stores making changes to help stop the spread of COVID-19
Here are the latest updates from around the Houston area and the world (all times are Central/Houston time):
APRIL 5 5:59 p.m. – Matagorda County reports the county's third death, a man between the ages of 80 and 90 who was hospitalized.
APRIL 5 5:40 p.m. – Galveston County confirms 18 new COVID-19 cases and 8 new recoveries. The county now has 240 cases.
APRIL 5 4:56 p.m. – Fort Bend County confirms 1 death and 12 additional COVID-19 cases.
APRIL 5 4:44 p.m. – Harris County Public Health is reporting 652 positive COVID-19 cases and 152 recoveries.
APRIL 5 4:30 p.m. – Two more Harris County Sheriff’s Office employees, a Courts Division deputy and a detention sergeant, have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the agency’s total number of confirmed cases among staff to 18. Both employees are assigned to work with inmates in the Harris County Jail.
The detention sergeant is a woman in her late 40s, assigned to work in the 1200 Baker Street jail facility, where seven employees have now tested positive for the virus. The Courts Division deputy is a woman in her early 30s.
There are currently 187 Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies, detention officers and support staff on quarantine for possible COVID-19 exposure. One of these employees is currently in the hospital. Fifty-five previously quarantined employees have now been cleared to return to duty. Seventy-three Sheriff’s Office employees have been tested, but are still awaiting results. Twenty-three employees have received negative test results.
APRIL 5 4:00 p.m. – HPD Chief Art Acevedo said there are 107 sworn members of his department in quarantine, as well as 27 civilians.
APRIL 5 3:30 p.m. – The City of Houston confirms 53 new cases and another death due to COVID-19. Mayor Sylvester Turner said a man in his 60s with underlying health conditions died at the hospital.
The city has now reported 10 deaths, 72 recoveries and a total of 743 COVID-19 cases.
APRIL 5 3:24 p.m. – Wharton County confirms 5 additional positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend, bringing the county's total to 13.
APRIL 5 2:53 p.m. – Montgomery County confirms 7 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county's total to 149 cases. Read more here.
APRIL 5 2:51 p.m. – Galena Park has issued a daily curfew for all residents from 9 p.m. - 5 a.m. in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. It also says no more than five people will be allowed in public buildings except for essential personnel. Read more here.
APRIL 5 1:45 p.m. – Checkpoints to screen vehicles have been set up on all roads entering Texas from Louisiana Sunday, according to Louisiana State Police.
These checkpoints are designed to prevent people from the state of Louisiana from spreading the coronavirus in Texas.
According to the executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott, “Every person who enters the State of Texas through roadways from Louisiana … shall be subject to mandatory self-quarantine…” Read more here.
APRIL 5 1:36 p.m. – During a press conference Sunday, Mayor Turner announced asked all Houstonians to commit to a dedicated time of prayer or meditation this Thursday, April 9 at noon. Read more here.
APRIL 5 12:49 p.m. – REMINDER: Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Astros Foundation and other Houston groups are hosting a personal protection equipment donation drive this Wednesday at Minute Maid Park. They're asking businesses and residents to bring spare, unopened items like masks, gloves, isolation gowns and more. More details here.
APRIL 5 11:18 a.m. – Matagorda County reports two more COVID-19 cases, bringing county's total to 41. Click here for a breakdown of cases in each Houston-area county.
APRIL 5 9:44 a.m. – Tom Dempsey, the iconic New Orleans Saints placekicker who set an NFL field goal record that stood for more than four decades, died Saturday of complications from coronavirus, his family said. He was 73.
Last week, his daughter Ashley told the newspaper that Dempsey had contracted the coronavirus while living at Lambeth House, the Uptown care facility that has seen a cluster of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Dempsey had been receiving care at Lambeth House for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Read more here.
APRIL 5 7:26 a.m. – Officials in South Sudan say the country has its first case of COVID-19, making it the 51st of Africa’s 54 countries to have the disease.
APRIL 5 7:24 a.m. – The spokesman for Vladimir Putin says the Russian president will continue working remotely for at least another week amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Putin and people who work with him are being tested regularly.
APRIL 5 6:17 a.m. – Pope Francis has begun the first of several Holy Week ceremonies that will be held without the public this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Normally, tens of thousands of Romans and pilgrims, clutching olive branches, would have flocked to an outdoor Mass led by the pontiff. Instead, Francis was leading the ceremony inside the shelter of St. Peter’s Basilica, which seemed even more cavernous than usual because it was so empty.
APRIL 4 8:50 p.m. – Health officials report the first COVID-19-related death in Galveston County.
Officials said the resident was a 81- to 90-year-old woman who had pre-existing medical conditions.
“We are saddened to report this news and we offer our heartfelt condolences to her family during this very difficult time,” said Galveston County Local Health Authority Dr. Philip Keiser.
APRIL 4 8:20 p.m. – The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which oversees the state's prison system, reports 27 cases of COVID-19. Of those, 20 are TDCJ employees, six are inmates and one cases is in a transitional facility. The agency reports there are 41 inmates in medical isolation who have tested positive or whose test results are pending.
APRIL 4 7:50 p.m. – President Donald Trump is warning that the U.S. is facing the “toughest” weeks ahead as the rise in coronavirus cases accelerates. “There will be a lot of death,” he says.
But after the somber start to his daily briefing on Saturday, he has come back again and again to his desire to get the country open for business. He said, “We have to open our country again. We don’t want to be doing this for months and months and months. This country wasn’t meant for this.”
Trump, who met earlier Saturday with the heads of major sports leagues, said he wants to get the fans back in arenas as soon as possible. He also talked about wanting people to be able to go to restaurants again.
APRIL 4 7 p.m. – President Donald Trump met by phone with many U.S. pro sports leaders Saturday to discuss how that industry has been affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, saying he was looking forward to the resumption of competitions “as soon as we can.” More here.
APRIL 4 6:30 p.m. – More than half a million Texans have filed unemployment claims in the last 18 days due to COVID-19, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. If you're struggling applying for benefits, the TWC is working to ease the burden.
APRIL 4 6:09 p.m. – Three more people have died in Fort Bend County due to the coronavirus, public health officials said this afternoon. Officials didn't provide any information about those deaths. The county also had 13 new cases, bringing a total to 268, and another recovery.
Meanwhile, Galveston County is reporting 86 new positive cases, bringing the county's total to 222. Of those new cases, 70 are linked to a nursing home in Texas City, where 83 residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
METRO is reporting an employee from its administration building has tested positive. The employee, METRO officials said, had no interaction with the public and was last at work on March 20.
MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:
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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