It’s hard to keep up with all the news of the week.
That’s why we’ve put together some brief highlights of what you might want to know about the search for coronavirus treatments, unemployment challenges and the good things Texans are doing to care for each other.
We start with the efforts to find COVID-19 treatments. There are trials to find treatments for the novel coronavirus taking place all over the world.
This week, WFAA in Dallas reports, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said about 30 people in a nursing home near Houston who tested positive for the novel coronavirus were being treated with hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug not yet approved by the FDA for fighting COVID-19.
Researchers at Baylor, Scott & White Research Institute are testing it as a preventative measure for healthcare workers.
“I think it will really help give us some data to see if it makes sense to give this to a broader population,” said Jaime Walkowiak, who leads research at Baylor, Scott and White.
Unemployment in Texas
Many Texans continue to share with us their frustration about navigating unemployment, whether it’s filing a claim or receiving payments.
Once you’re approved for unemployment, The Texas Workforce Commission tells you when to request a payment.
“I can’t do anything. It doesn’t take me anywhere to do anything or request the money,” Tofer Flowers told reporter Erica Proffer in Austin.
Flowers told Proffer he first got a message that the website he needed to complete the process could not be reached.
The Texas Workforce Commission has already increased their server capacity and is working on expanding it even more.
The Texas Workforce Commission claims their IT department is staffed 24/7.
If you don’t get in on your assigned day to request payment, open times are Thursday through Saturday and will not be penalized should you have trouble getting through.
The Texas Workforce Commission and some employers met on a webinar earlier in the week.
If you’re an employee, here’s what you need to know. If your hours are cut and you’re still employed. You may be able to get some money.
“Employees have to be working at least 24 to 36 hours based on a 40-hour-work week,” a TWC expert said during the webinar.
Fighting coronavirus in Texas
A field hospital is taking shape in the parking lots of the NRG stadium in Houston.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said it’s the “last resort medical shelter.”
Dallas already prepared the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center as an overflow hospital in North Texas.
Texans helping each other
As the fight against coronavirus continues on all fronts, many Texans are stepping up to help each other.
From sidewalk concerts and prayer services to drive-through parades for birthdays and medical workers, Texans all over are working to cheer people up.
St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center in Round Rock watches a loud parade of cars every night.
Jen Henderson is the organizer.
“We’re here at shift change, we’re here to show we appreciate them,” she said. “They’re the real heroes in this whole situation.”
Sharyland Independent School District is in Mission, Texas, near the border with Mexico.
Transportation Director Enrique Mata said he hoped a decorated school bus would show the community they are missed while the schools are closed.
“The goal is, just to let them know we’re still thinking about them. Administrators, teachers, everyone misses them.”
Michelle Bish, a third-grade teacher and mom of three from Pasadena, shared her challenges of teaching all the kids in her life from home.
“Being a third-grade teacher and now all of a sudden I'm a kindergarten teacher and a fifth grade teacher, that is just like, whoa,” she said.
Bish said she couldn’t wait to go back to school. She missed her students. And had a message of home to everyone.
“This is new for all of us, so we will get thru it together,” she said.
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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