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HISD postpones food program; volunteer from one site under self-quarantine for possible COVID-19 exposure

An individual at the Welch Middle School site is now under self-quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure," HISD said Thursday.

HOUSTON — A change of plans from Houston ISD and hundreds of families after the district put its food distribution program on hold.

The food distribution sites were filled with people clustered together, exactly what health officials warn against as everyone works to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we have canceled HISD food distribution sites for the time being after learning an individual at the Welch Middle School site is now under self-quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure," HISD said Thursday. 

The individual is not positive for COVID-19 at this time. 

As a precaution, all volunteers and staff operating the site have been notified and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

As for our community members who received food at the site, due to social distancing measures the district had in place, such as drive-up curbside service, the public’s exposure was limited and those who received assistance should not be at increased risk. 

They are working closely with the Houston Health Department to identify any student, parent or staff that should be tested for COVID-19.

RELATED: Houston now offering free Curbside Meal Program for children, teens

The district says they've served thousands of families in the past two weeks, but as COVID-19 precautions intensify, they want to make sure they're not putting people at risk.

More than 30 million kids nationally rely on schools for a healthy meal daily and that was one of the big concerns when schools closed.

In the meantime, they are urging folks to take advantage of other food distribution programs. The city of Houston is operating a curbside meal program at 47 community centers around the city and of course the Houston Food Bank has 250 locations across the Houston area providing assistance.

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.