KSAM News

KSAM News

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

At 1:59 PM Wednesday, the Walker County Office of Emergency Management reported to us that there were seven active cases of coronavirus reported. The ages range from the early 20’s to 80.

One-hundred-eighty-two (182) have been tested. There were negative results with 69 people. One-hundred-twelve (112) results were pending. One-hundred-two (102) people were self-quarantined.

The Office of Emergency Management here continues to be actively working on getting test kits for Walker County.

Again, a reminder, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-14 limiting all Texas residents to activities and services to those identified as essential and the closure of both public and private schools until May 4, 2020, unless otherwise extended or rescinded.

Those in violation of the order are subject to a fine up to $1,000, 180 days in jail or a mandatory quarantine order. The executive order is enforceable by any law enforcement office in the state of Texas.

This is not a shelter-in-place order or a stay-at-home order. Texans are allowed to continue to perform essential activities and services outside of their home, but, under social distancing guidelines established by the federal government and CDC.

And we remind everyone again, if you are sick enough to be admitted to the hospital you can go to any hospital. They are testing individuals but are strictly following guidelines for testing.

Huntsville Memorial Hospital has installed an outside triage; it is not a testing site. The purpose is to limit those entering the hospital.

As of 6 PM Wednesday, according to the State Department of Health and Human Services, Texas had 3,997 confirmed cases of COVID-19. At least 57 people have died.

Fox News has reported this morning that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U-S has risen above 200,000, and the number of deaths has now exceeded 5,000.

FOOD DISTRIBUTION FRIDAY

Delisa Carver from the YMCA informs us that another food distribution will be happening in Huntsville on Friday from 11:30 to 1 PM in the Bower Stadium parking lot. They have enough food for about 250 families.

They are also running a camp for essential personnel’s children–age groups from 6 weeks to 12. Those interested can call the Center for more information. There is financial assistance available for families that qualify. The number is 295-8009.

SHSU PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH UPDATE

From the Today at Sam website, here is an update on the SHSU presidential search:

  • Currently, the search is proceeding as planned since much of the early recruitment for the position is done remotely via telephone, email, and video calls.
  • The job announcement for SHSU’s presidency was posted in early March and immediately generated a great deal of national interest, with their search firm fielding numerous calls from high quality candidates.
  • Based upon feedback and input received during campus open forums with faculty, staff, and students, as well as meetings with key stakeholders and hundreds of responses submitted via the online survey, a presidential profile was drafted and is available on the presidential search web site at shsu.edu/presidential-search.
  • The input provided by the campus community was particularly helpful in capsulizing the attributes and qualifications desired in the next president, the leadership challenges the next president will face and the key selling points for SHSU and the community. A summary of the online survey results is also available on the presidential search web site.
  • The priority deadline for nominations is May 8, 2020. The Advisory Search Committee will meet several times in May and early June to narrow the pool of candidates with the expectation that a sole finalist will be named by the Chancellor by mid-to-late June, 2020.

Additional updates will be posted to the as they become available.

COMMISSIONER HENRY TALKS ABOUT BRINGING RURAL INTERNET TO WALKER COUNTY AT NO COST TO THE COUNTY

We talked with Walker County Precinct #4 Commissioner Jimmy Henry recently and he said, “There are a group of committees that are working on bringing rural internet to all of Walker County” at no cost to the County. He said, “Through HGAC of Houston, they’ve been approached with foundation and grant money through corporations to take surveys for certain counties in the state of Texas to be in competition to get this money.”

There are some more fields that need to participate in the survey. He said, “If we win, it will pay for the infrastructure . . . .”

Take the survey at myconnectedcommunity.org/walker-county/.

PROTECTION FOR AMERICAN WORKERS

Protection For American Workers
Congressman Kevin Brady has informed us that The CARES Act –Coronavirus legislation recently passed by Congress – established immediate relief for our small businesses in crisis with a $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program. This protects millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing funds for job retention and certain other expenses.

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. Please see below for important links.

  • For a top-line overview of the program CLICK HERE
  • If you’re a lender, more information can be found HERE
  • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found HERE
  • The application for borrowers can be found  HERE

The new loan program will help small businesses with their payroll and other business operating expenses, and the SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll costs, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest. The new loan program will be available retroactive from Feb. 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020.

If you have questions, please visit the Small Business Administration website, or call my office at (936) 441-5700.

WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE UPDATE AND PROJECTION

In the United States Tuesday night, deaths related to the coronavirus reached over 4,000–that is only a day after hitting the 3,000 level.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force said it projects 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from the virus and millions infected in the U-S.

On Tuesday, President Trump said, “This is going to be a rough two week period.

MEDICAL INTERVENTION AT TDCJ

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported Tuesday that medical restriction and medical isolation are two ways that TCDJ is managing the potential of COVID-19 in the prison population. Dr. Lannette Linthicum is the Director of the TDCJ Health Services Division. In a Q & A she explained how the protocol which is based on CDC guidelines works.

There are no new positive COVID-19 test results in the TDCJ offender population. The total number of positive cases remains at two systemwide.

Additional cases in staff, employees or contractors have been reported with a current count of 10.

The agency is following the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for management of COVID-19 in correctional facilities. As TDCJ learns of new positive tests, contact investigations are being conducted to determine which individuals may have been exposed to the virus.

LOCAL CORONAVIRUS RELATED ISSUES

At 3:54 Tuesday afternoon, the Walker County Office of Emergency Management notified us that Walker County had 4 active cases of the coronavirus recorded.

At 4:45 Tuesday afternoon, the Walker County Office of Emergency Management notified us by email that Walker County was just notified of 2 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 which brings us to 6. The new cases are a female age 20-30 and a female age 60-70.

The Office of Emergency Management here is actively working on getting test kits for Walker County.

A county wide curfew is in place to protect life and property by keeping unessential traffic and people off of the streets between 11:59pm-5:00am.

On Tuesday, Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-14 limiting all Texan residents to activities and services to those identified as essential and the closure of both public and private schools until May 4, 2020, or unless otherwise extended or rescinded.

Those in violation of the order are subject to a fine up to $1,000, 180 days in jail or a mandatory quarantine order. The executive order is enforceable by any law enforcement office in the state of Texas.

This is not a shelter-in-place order or a stay-at-home order. Texans are allowed to continue to perform essential activities and services outside of their home but, under social distancing guidelines established by the federal government and CDC.

The following are considered essential services:

HEALTHCARE / PUBLIC HEALTH
LAW ENFORCEMENT, PUBLIC SAFETY, AND OTHER FIRST RESPONDERS
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
ENERGY
WATER AND WASTEWATER
TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS
PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT SERVICES
COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
OTHER COMMUNITY- OR GOVERNMENT-BASED OPERATIONS AND ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS
CRITICAL MANUFACTURING
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
FINANCIAL SERVICES
CHEMICAL
DEFENSE INDUSTRIAL BASE
COMMERCIAL FACILITIES
RESIDENTIAL/SHELTER FACILITIES AND SERVICES
HYGIENE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
RELIGIOUS SERVICES CONDUCTED IN CHURCHES, CONGREGATIONS, AND HOUSES OF WORSHIP

A list of essential services and a form to request your business be listed as an essential service can be obtained at www.tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices

As always, if you are sick enough to be admitted to the hospital you can go to any hospital. They are testing individuals but are strictly following guidelines for testing.

Huntsville Memorial Hospital has instilled am outside triage; it is not a testing site. The purpose is to limit those entering the hospital.

Willis ISD Letter to Parents- Closed until May 4th

Dear Willis ISD Parents and Families,

I want to share with you an update regarding our current school closure. Today, Governor Greg Abbott announced the extension of Texas school closures until May 4, 2020. The extension follows updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the President’s announcement to extend physical distancing guidelines through the end of April.

Collectively as Superintendents in the Greater Houston Region, we are following the guidance and orders from the state to extend school closures, with a possible date of students returning to school on Monday, May 4th. We will be communicating information prior to returning as each day brings new information.

While we miss seeing all of our students and staff, I am proud of our teachers and students on a successful launch of online learning yesterday. We know these are challenging times, and we want to assure you that we are working hard to provide meaningful instruction. We will continue to offer learning resources and guidance for our students as we know providing instruction during this time is crucial. We are proud of our students and parents for embracing this very different and new reality.

Our number one priority will continue to be the health and safety of our students and staff, and we will continue to work closely with public health officials to make informed decisions. Please refer to the Willis ISD website for updated links regarding current COVID-19 information. Watch your email for any changes or updates from Willis ISD regarding changes about school and student-related information.

Tim Harkrider, Superintendent