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Harris County Sheriff's deputies helping educate homeless about COVID-19

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has an outreach homeless program that is providing homeless people with information on COVID-19, food and hand sanitizer.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — One of the at-risk populations for COVID-19 is those that don’t have a home. But the the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has a outreach homeless program out looking for the homeless population to provide them they help they need.

“We are trying to educate them. They don’t have access to television. They don’t have access to seeing all the things they have going on,” said Greg Temple, Harris County Sheriff’s deputy.

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During these critical times, deputies want to make sure all homeless not only stay informed, but stay safe. They’re handing out COVID-19 packets with hygiene essentials, food, water, a mask and hand sanitizer. Most importantly, they each get a COVID-19  sheet with vital information.

“They see everyone walking around with mask on with gloves on. When they see that, they tend to be afraid, because they don’t know what is going on or they are curious of wanting to know what is going on,” Temple said.  

Most homeless people have already felt the effects the virus has caused.

“The panhandling has dropped. A lot of people are afraid to roll their windows down and pass them money since the virus has been out, so they are not getting as much money,” Temple said.

In the end, these deputies are just making sure these folks have what they need to stay safe and keep others safe.

“The biggest thing they said is nobody cares for us they and they are grateful we come out and make contact with them,” Temple said.  

If the team encounters a homeless person who is experiencing symptoms, the team will call EMS immediately and get them the medical attention they need.

If they test positive, there is a program to help homeless isolate and not continue spreading COVID-19.

Because they are going out daily they are in need of donations, they are looking for hygiene products, hand sanitizer and masks. If you would like to make a donation, contact Temple at (281) 409-2143.

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.