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Harris County voters older than 65 asked to vote by mail in primary elections

There are concerns these voters may be at risk due to the coronavirus outbreak.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Harris County residents aged 65 and older are being asked to vote by mail in the primary runoff elections this summer.

The request comes from Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman. She said its a precautionary measure to protect older voters during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Gov. Greg Abbott postponed the May 26 primary runoff elections until July 14, and early voting was moved to July 6-10. 

The deadline to apply to vote by a mail ballot for the election is July 2. You must call 713-755-6965 or visit HarrisVotes.com to request a mail ballot.

"Our office will do everything it can to ensure a safe, secure and accessible election," Trautman said. "In order to do anything different from a normal election, our office will require explicit guidance from the Texas Secretary of State. 

In Texas, the mailing option is only available to senior residents, those with disability or illness, jailed residents who haven't been convicted and those who are out of the county during the election period. 

The deadline for all residents to register to vote is June 15.

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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.