At a Special Session of Commissioners’ Court Monday, several citizens had concerns about various businesses in the area that are not compliant with social distancing.
Local resident Jeff Bradley, for example, addressed commissioners . . . .
In a press conference attended by County and City officials Monday afternoon, Judge Danny Pierce addressed the media . . . .
A press release from Walker County Emergency Management Monday afternoon said, “There are a lot of questions concerning grocery stores, The Home Depot, Tractor Supply and Academy allowing more than 10 people in at a time and not social distancing. According to the Governor, they are considered essential businesses and cannot be ‘enforced” by local officials to follow guidelines.’” The press release goes on to say that, “The Governor stated ‘so long as the necessary precautions are maintained to reduce the transmission of COVID-19’”.
The press release goes on to say, “DSHS website has Walker County listed as having 3 confirmed cases. We have 2 active cases and the first case we recorded has “graduated out”, so the total on the DSHS website is aggregate. We have not been able to get test kits from the state to test our population with symptoms. We are calling daily to try and get our order pushed through.”
A press release from TDCJ says: “The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is constantly receiving updated information regarding testing and results of offenders, agency and contract employees as well as medical partners. The agency is taking appropriate action to mitigate the potential exposure to others.
- An offender at the Goree Unit in Huntsville has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The 36-year-old went to Huntsville Memorial Hospital on March 12th for an unrelated ailment and returned to Goree on March 20th. On March 27th the offender started feeling ill with COVID-19 type symptoms and was placed in medical isolation. The test happened Saturday March 28 and came back positive today. The offender remains in medical isolation and is in good condition.
- Two employees of the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole have tested positive for COVID-19. Other employees at the Huntsville Institutional Parole Office of the BPP are in at home self-quarantine. That office is not on a prison unit. In total there are now seven staff/contractors/state employees who are connected to TDCJ that have tested positive.
“TDCJ is following the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for management of COVID-19 in correctional facilities. As the agency learns of new positive tests, contact investigations are being conducted to determine which individuals may have been exposed to the virus.”
In a press release sent to us from Huntsville ISD Communications Director Shannon Duncan Monday,
She informed us that the District has made changes for today’s Multi-Meal Pack Bus Delivery”
It says, “In summary…
– All HISD buses will start their routes at 2 PM
– The buses will run their regular MORNING bus routes at that time starting from the farthest point on their route working their way inward.
– The bus will stop to deliver packs at all of its regular AM & PM route stops to any child present at the stop ages 0-18.
Additionally, there will be 1 bus making a delivery to 4 common locations at a set time (see below). If people live near these 4 areas, the time indicated below will be the ONLY opportunity for them to receive a pack as there will NOT be another bus routed to those areas today.
Those areas & times are:
2:00 PM – Estill & Nance Circle (Watkins-Clark Addition – Huntsville Housing Authority)
2:20 PM – Tanglewood Mobile Home Park
2:40 PM – Ridgewood West Apartment Complex (near the playground)
3:00 PM – Little “L” Mobile Home Park (1658 SH 75N)
There will be someone available to answer calls at Transportation starting at 12:30 pm today until the routes are complete. 936-435-6800. The Administration will be answering general calls from 10 am to 1 pm, but they do not have any specific route information. The main thing is buses will not begin on routes until 2 pm and they are not running the “Early Release Schedule for PM routes.”
All Campus Curbside and Green Hornet Lunch distributions this week remain unchanged.
At Monday morning’s Special Session of Walker County Commissioners’ Court, Emergency Management Coordinator Butch Davis passed along some local financial injury figures due to the Coronavirus pandemic . . . .
And that’s just what’s been reported to Emergency Management by businesses. It is for a two week period. Commissioner White said, “I’m sure that number is way higher than that.” There is a form the businesses can post to Emergency Management.
Mr. Davis requested that the court extend the disaster declaration until the next commissioners’ meeting. Commissioners approved.
Trinity County Judge Doug Page has issued a Stay at Home Order to all but essential persons effective last night at 11:59 PM and lasting until April 14, 2020. The order also includes a 24-hour curfew for children under 18 unless accompanied by parent, guardian or school personnel, or going to or from work. Violation is subject to a fine up to $1,000 and /or up to 180 days in jail.
Trinity County Judge Doug Page has issued a STAY AT HOME ORDER to all but Essential Persons effective March 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. until April 14, 2020. The order also includes a 24 hour Curfew for Children under 18 unless accompanied by parent, guardian or school personnel, or going to or from work. Violation subject to fine up to $1,000 and/or up 180 days in jail.
March 30, 2020 (Huntsville, Texas) – At a time when people are being urged to stay home to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, not everyone feels safe there. In fact, studies have shown that domestic violence rates increase during periods of economic hardship and stress. But while businesses are closing their doors, SAAFE House is staying open during the COVID-19 crisis to provide shelter, remote counseling and support services to victims of both family violence and sexual assault.
SAAFE House, which operates shelters in Walker County and Polk County, also offers non-residential services to people in Walker, Polk, Trinity and San Jacinto counties who need someone to turn to for support and guidance in their situations. In addition to offering a 24-hour crisis hotline, the organization provides accompaniment to criminal justice services, legal advocacy, emergency and medical care, counseling, referrals to free and affordable childcare services, provisions to assist victims in obtaining secure and independent lifestyles, job placement services, and referrals to appropriate social service agencies.
“As the COVID-19 crisis has grown here in the United States, SAAFE House has seen a steady increase in the number of clients seeking services,” said SAAFE House Board President Cyntia Martinez. “In February alone, we took in seven new families and 15 singles into our Walker and Polk County shelters. In addition to those people, we took 244 calls into our hotline and served 111 clients through our outreach offices.”
One of the greatest challenges SAAFE House faces is that while the economic strain of the COVID-19 crisis increases the preponderance of family and intimate partner violence, that same financial pressure is affecting the organization’s budget as well. Elite Repeat, the resale shop in downtown Huntsville that helps support SAAFE House, has had to shut down operations temporarily; and a new resale shop SAAFE House had planned to open in March has had to be put on hold. That means there is even more need for donations from businesses and individuals in the counties SAAFE House serves.
“We feel for the members of our community whose businesses have shut down or who have experienced financial difficulties due to the healthcare crisis,” Martinez said. “With the extra stress that puts on families, it is harder for people to donate, and yet those donations go even further at a time like this.”
SAAFE House Co-Executive Directors Twana Sullins and Alexis Johnson Anderson explained that the SAAFE House budget not only includes client housing and staff salaries, but food and basic living essentials for clients: clothing, personal hygiene items, prescriptions, and legal documents such as birth certificates, social security cards and drivers licenses.
“Most people don’t think about all the things that have to be replaced when you’re leaving your home in an emergency situation,” Sullins said. “When you walk out with nothing, that’s all you have.”
SAAFE House is asking for anyone interested in helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to go to www.saafehouse.org to donate financially, or to call the SAAFE House office at 936-291-3369 to arrange for donations of supplies such as toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo and conditioner, soap and body wash, sanitary supplies, size 4-6 diapers, baby wipes and cleaning products.
Any members of the community needing help with a sexual assault or domestic violence situation should call the SAAFE House hotline at 936-291-3369 or 936-327-2513.
Don’t forget today through Friday, 9 AM to 11:30 AM the Good Shepherd Mission at 1005 MLK Drive in Huntsville is giving away food for those who are in need of it. You will drive up and pop your trunk and food will be loaded in. You’re asked to bring a picture ID, and they will get your info when you drive up.
The Walker County Office of Emergency Management reported as of last Friday, Walker County had two confirmed cases of the coronavirus Walker County ordered test kits several weeks ago and is waiting for the state to fill that request so we can test here. Information will be provided as they receive it.
Harris County is now testing for coronavirus for the entire region. Access their online screening tool to help with testing at www.readyharris.org and click on the “coronavirus testing” button. You will answer some screening questions and be given an identifier number. They will prioritize tests based on symptoms. You must have symptoms to be considered for testing. If you do not have access to the internet, call 832-927-7575.
In regard to the recent $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday morning that American individuals who qualify can expect to see their $1,200 checks deposited into their accounts “within three weeks.”
Also on Sunday, President Trump announced that the federal government’s social distancing guidelines would be extended to April 30th.
The FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for drugs normally used to treat malaria. However, neither of the drugs had received formal approval to treat the coronavirus.
On March 26th, Governor Greg Abbott issued an order that required people flying into Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Orleans to quarantine. Sunday, he expanded that order to include traveling by road to Texas from “any location in the state of Louisiana.”
Sunday there were 2,500 cases of coronavirus in Texas with 34 deaths reported.
Nationwide, there were 140,000 cases of coronavirus cases with 2,500 deaths.
During our “Around Town” public affairs program over the weekend, Walker County Judge Danny Pierce took time out to deliver a special message to the people of Walker County during this coronavirus pandemic . . . .