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Posted on: April 6, 2020

The Woodlands Township COVID-19 Update, Monday, April 6, 2020

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Today’s County News

Montgomery County COVID-19 Case Count
Montgomery County Public Health District, in conjunction with Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management, can confirm there are now 161 positive cases of COVID-19, up 12 cases from yesterday. The CDC continues to recommend cloth face masks for the general public when leaving your home is necessary. For instructions on wearing face masks, making them or cleaning them, please visit the CDC website at this link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

It’s also important to keep up the efforts of social distancing, washing your hands and disinfecting surfaces in and around your home.

Details on Montgomery County cases can be found here: https://mcphd-tx.org/coronavirus-covid-19/confirmed-cases/

Harris County COVID-19 Case Count
As of Monday, April 6, 2020 (4:00 p.m.), Harris County Public Health (HCPH) has 12 new cases of COVID-19, which brings the total to 664 positive cases. HCPH is also confirming that 160 of its patients have recovered. There have been 8 deaths in the NW Quadrant of Harris County. There have been 12 total deaths of COVID-19 in Harris County and 10 in the city limits of Houston.  A full description of the numbers can be found here: https://harriscounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/cd54e50984b94690b1d6093e0df651c5

Help Our Heroes
The Woodlands Township launched Help Our Heroes, a program to collect Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and essential supplies needed for first responders and medical service providers in the community. Please consider donating these materials if you have them on-hand. Your help is greatly appreciated!

  • Collection Days and Location
    Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Central Fire Station, located at 9951 Grogan’s Mill Rd., The Woodlands, TX 77380
    Please email pbuck@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov  if you can help.
  • Supplies Needed
    Isolation gowns
    Gloves
    Masks – N95s, surgical, procedure, etc.
    Hair Covers
    Full Face Shields
    PAPR Hoods – Typically only used when doing an aerosolizing procedure.
    Eyewear – Face shields, reusable goggles or disposable glasses
    Boot Covers / Shoe Covers
    Germicidal Wipes
    Disinfectant Spray / Paper Towels

Today, the first day of collection, 19 people dropped off items, including: 

  • Shoe / hair covers  350
  • Gloves  1100
  • Face shields 8
  • Masks 180
  • Packages of wipes 4
  • Sanitizer bottles  2
  • Large liquid hand soap 1
  • Isolation gowns 15
  • Paper Towels 6

Thank you to all who participated. The next collection is on Thursday.

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Pictured, left to right:
Township Director and Public Health Liaison Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, Montgomery County Hospital District Paramedic John Hancock, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Specialist Eric Medina, Montgomery County Hospital District Captain Brian Bell and The Woodlands Fire Department Chief Palmer Buck

State News

Governor Abbott provided an update of a phone call held between governors and the federal administration. Of note from the governor’s comments regarding that call is that states should expect to see by April 24 the federal funding appropriated to address the economic issues associated with COVID-19. As a reminder, a portion of the state funding is set aside for local governments with populations greater than 500,000 with the state to determine the distribution of funds to communities with populations below that threshold.

In addition, today’s press conference was the first to verbally emphasize that the mitigation efforts in Texas may be flattening the impact of COVID-19, thus shortening the timeline until the state reaches the apex of the virus. It was stressed that current mitigation strategies must be maintained but that under current practices the state may peak several days earlier than recently modeled.

COVID-19 Case Data

  • 85,357 tests have been administered. This is a 20% increase since yesterday and is expected to increase by more than 10,000 tests per day.
  • 7,319 positive tests. The positive rate still remains less than 10% of those tested.
  • 1,153 hospitalizations from COVID-19
  • 140 fatalities connected to COVID-19

    PPE Data and Prioritization (Past Week Distribution)
  • 1.6 million masks have been distributed. The state has received 2.5 million masks in the past 24 hours and expects an additional 3 million more by April 11.
  • More than 209,000 face shields have been distributed.
  • More than 2.7 million gloves have been distributed.

The state has developed a system of prioritization for the distribution of PPE to healthcare facilities and first responders based on potential risks and exposures to COVID-19.

Travel Restrictions
Existing air travel restrictions from known hotspots remain. In addition, DPS had been enforcing the roadway travel restrictions from Louisiana by pulling over drivers once they enter the state to administer the necessary notice for 14 day self-quarantine. Effective today, DPS has checkpoints at all roadway entrances from Louisiana to administer notice.

Township News

Special Board of Directors meeting 
The Woodlands Township Board of Directors will hold a special meeting via videoconference at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 9, 2020, to discuss the Township’s response to COVID-19. Visit the Township website to tune in.

The Woodlands Express Park and Ride Service Changes
Effective today, April 6, 2020: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The Woodlands Express Park and Ride schedule has been revised. The revisions are in response to continuing reductions seen in ridership levels to the Downtown and Greenway Plaza locations. This reduced schedule will help to manage the cost of service while still providing adequate space for social distancing and seat spacing on board the buses. Please view the revised schedule here.

The Woodlands Township Community Gardens to Re-open with Limited Access 
On Thursday, April 2, 2020, The Woodlands Township’s Board of Directors approved a process to re-open the community gardens and the Veggie Village donation garden following national, state and Montgomery County guidelines for social distancing. Our community gardens have been identified as an essential service—farm/food production - according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

Until further notice, community gardens are restricted to those who currently lease a plot or who volunteer through the Veggie Village project. Access to garden plots is limited to a specific time and day:  gardeners must register for one two-hour time slot per week. Restrictions on access help ensure that social distancing guidelines are followed. The Township is reaching out directly to all current gardeners by email with additional information and instructions on how to sign up for their time slot.

Guidelines for Social Distancing on the Pathways--Please Stay Safe!
For pedestrians using the pathways, please remain a minimum of 6 feet apart. Be sure to stay to the right, watch for other pathway users, be especially alert when running and listen for audible signals and allow faster pathway users to pass freely.

For bicyclists using the pathways, please give audible warnings when passing pathway users, ride at a safe speed, helmets are recommended and be sure to ride straight ahead.

For rollerbladers on pathways, blade at a safe speed, helmets and protective gear are recommended, blade straight ahead and listen for audible warnings and allow faster pathway users to pass freely.

Shopping and Business News

Business Assistance Resources Available
The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce lists a variety of resources available to local businesses affected by the pandemic, including CARES Act Funding Options.

Complete details can be found at https://www.woodlandschamber.org/coronavirus-resources.

Beware of Stimulus Check Scams
As you may know, the government is preparing to distribute stimulus checks to help provide relief to households due to the COVID 19 crises. Scammers use public health emergencies as opportunities for new fraud schemes.  In fact, The Federal Trade Commission has already received complaints about stimulus checks scams.

Learn how to protect yourself from these scams.

Grocery Store Special Hours
Many grocery stores have special hours either for re-stocking or for seniors and others to have a quieter shopping experience. Please visit our community resource list to view hours at different stores.

Staying Safe While Grocery Shopping
Whether you are grocery shopping for your family in person or utilizing curbside pick-up/delivery options, there are still important safety practices that can help to limit your risk of exposure to COVID-19.

  • Follow federal guidelines regarding social distancing and prevention. Maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and other shoppers/grocery store employees. Pay particular attention when standing in line and continue to observe the 6-foot rule at all times.
  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces such as grocery carts handles with a disinfectant wipe, if possible.
  • If you use a debit or credit card, keep in mind that those machines are high-touch surfaces. Wash your hands after touching those surfaces and wipe down your cards with disinfectant wipes or an alcohol-based sanitizer. The EPA has created a list of known disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19 on surfaces.
  • If possible, go to the store during off-peak hours when the store is less crowded. If you are a senior, try to shop during the Senior Hours that are offered at grocery stores in the community.
  • Discard any disposable grocery bags upon unpacking your groceries and disinfect counters and surfaces where bags may have been placed for unpacking.
  • Always wash your hands after handling food packaging and before eating.

Please keep in mind, the FDA has stated that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted via food. It is a respiratory-borne virus and therefore the risk of contracting it through food or food packaging is extremely low. The main risk to an individual is thought to be from exposure to another person with COVID-19, who is symptomatic or asymptomatic, and touching one’s face or mouth after coming into contact with an infected surface. Social distancing and washing your hands frequently remains the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Community Resource Information

The following items were received from the agencies noted.

United Way of Greater Houston Helpline and COVID-19 Recovery Fund
United Way of Greater Houston’s 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE is our community’s go-to resource in times of disaster and every day. The 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE is available 24/7 to connect people with food, childcare, transportation, and other critical information and resources. If you or someone you know needs help, dial 211.

United Way of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Community Foundation have launched the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund to serve our region’s most vulnerable neighbors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more and donate to the fund at greaterhoustonrecovery.org.

YMCA Operating as an Essential Personnel Child Care Site 
Located at 6145 Shadowbend Place, The Y is providing a full day of programming, snack and meals for the children of "essential personnel," including medical workers; first responders; select government staff; and grocery store, pharmacy and food distributor employees.

Children, ages 1 - 12 years old are eligible to register. The program runs Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. and features games, arts and crafts, STEAM and literacy activities. Register online. Financial assistance is available.

Food Banks—How You Can Help
Local food banks are inventorying their resources to ascertain what will be needed in the days to come. Many Township residents have expressed a desire to volunteer or donate; please see the information below regarding those needs.

Hotlines for health questions and COVID-19
Montgomery County: 936-523-5040                 Harris County: 713-634-1110

Free Self-Screening Tool for COVID-19
Visit the self-screening tool on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Tracking COVID-19: Local, Regionally, Nationally, Internationally
Below are the widgets for tracking COVID19.

Need some help thinking about all of this? COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has launched a statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or other emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This resource offers support for all Texans and can be reached any time day or night at 833-986-1919.

The line is operated by the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, and offers trauma-informed support and psychological first aid to those experiencing mental health symptoms related to COVID-19. Counseling services are confidential and free of charge. 

More information on mental health resources and your local mental health authority can be found on HHSC’s websiteView the full release.

View additional state and national mental health resources and contact information.

The Township’s Coronavirus page
The Woodlands Township’s special COVID-19 information page can be found at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/covid19. This page now features Montgomery and Harris county Hubs, community resources and updated COVID-19 news from the Federal Government and the CDC. This page also includes the latest news from The Township, updates from partner agencies, social distancing strategies, important links, frequently asked questions, live Twitter feeds and more. Please check back often as it is updated frequently.

Stay Connected 
Please stay connected to The Woodlands Township through our many communications channels. Learn more and sign up at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/stayinformed.

Thank you

___________________________________________________________________________
The Woodlands Township publishes this update to inform residents and businesses regarding the COVID-19 and its impact on The Woodlands Township. Please sign up for Township news and notifications at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/notifyme.

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