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Posted on: April 17, 2020

The Woodlands Township COVID-19 Update, Friday, April 17, 2020

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THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS (April 17, 2020) – The Woodlands Township Board of Directors discussed opening up the community, discussed medical capabilities in the area and added a new Director during its regular meeting via videoconference on Thursday, April 16, 2020.

Chairman Gordy Bunch discussed the White House Guidelines for “Opening Up America Again” that had just been released prior to the meeting which includes conditions to reopen the country in three phases. The Township’s discussion of this can be viewed online at this link: https://woodlandstx.new.swagit.com/videos/51921 and the Township PowerPoint can be viewed at this link: https://www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/DocumentCenter/View/14245/John-Hopkins-setrac

The Guidelines to Opening Up America Again can be found here: https://www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/Archive.aspx?ADID=10072

State News

Governor Abbott Issues Three Executive Orders to Begin Process of Reopening Texas

Three executive orders have been issued to begin the process of reopening Texas. Please read the entire announcement for more details.

  • The Governor’s first Executive Order: A Strike Force team of nationally recognized medical experts and private and public leaders has been created to advise on safely and strategically reopening Texas.
  • The Governor’s second Executive Order: Services that pose minimal threat of spreading COVID-19 are allowed to reopen using the temporary “Retail-To-Go model” beginning Friday, April 24, 2020. Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
  • The Governor’s third Executive Order: The order relates to hospital capacity, PPE needs and certain restrictions for surgeries have been loosened.

Today’s County News

Montgomery County, Texas – In order to get Montgomery County residents and businesses back to work as quickly and as safely as possible, County Judge Mark J. Keough issued an order immediately terminating the “Stay Home, Stop the Spread” order from March 27, 2020.  This new order will end the curfew that was imposed immediately and substitutes Montgomery County’s local order for Governor Abbotts Executive Order GA-14, which will expire April 30, 2020. This new order further calls on all residents and businesses to follow new guidance issued by the White House on Thursday, April 16, 2020 and the orders issued by the Governor which is expected on April 27, 2020.

“After reaching our peak of COVID-19 cases earlier this week and in consultation with local health authorities and hospital executives, Montgomery County is continuing to see a slower rise in active cases than originally projected,” said Judge Keough. “With the slower progression of the virus among our population than originally projected, and with hospital utilization continuing to remain low we can begin to open up sectors of our economy as early as the Governor allows.” 

Today’s order adds additional local guidance for businesses and individuals so they can safely return to work across Montgomery County.  These local guidelines are in step with federal and state guidelines recently issued. Please see Order from Montgomery County here.

 Additionally, the Order continues restrictions on nursing homes and senior care facilities to ensure vulnerable populations are protected moving forward.  

Montgomery County COVID-19 Case Count
Montgomery County Public Health District, in conjunction with Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, is saddened to report the 7th death related to COVID-19 in Montgomery County. She was a woman in her 80s, who was a resident of The Conservatory at Alden Bridge. She is the 5th person who has died related to the senior living apartment complex. We can also confirm there are now 370 total positive cases of COVID-19, up 20 cases from yesterday.

If you would like to be tested for COVID-19, please contact the MCPHD/MCHD COVID-19 Hotline at 936-523-5040. Our center has a list of testing sites to share with those who are interested.

If you have a question regarding the stay-at-home order, including questions regarding essential businesses and activities, please call the COVID-19 Hotline set up by the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at 936-523-3916.

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

Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management updates a dashboard for the cases here: https://coronavirus-response-moco.hub.arcgis.com/.

Harris County COVID-19 Case Count 
As of April 17, 2020 (4:00 p.m.), Harris County Public Health (HCPH) has 40 new cases of COVID-19, which brings the total to 1,890 positive cases. HCPH is also confirming that 650 of its patients have recovered.

On April 13, 2020, Harris County began making case data available by range of positives cases and zip code. Data indicates there are between 42-80 positive cases in zip codes covering the vicinity of the Village of Creekside Park in The Woodlands and the Augusta Pines/ Auburn Lakes/West Rayford Road areas in northwest Harris County.

There have been 36 total deaths of COVID-19 in Harris County. None of these numbers include the City of Houston. A full description of the numbers can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/tzymvk5

Statistics from Johns Hopkins University

John Hopkins2John Hopkins1

For additional updated interactive graphics on cases in Harris and Montgomery Counties, please visit the links below:

Two Mobile Testing Sites Coming to Precinct 4 Harris County
Tomball, Humble to Be Home to COVID-19 Testing Sites Within Week

Harris County Commissioner R. Jack Cagle announced the opening of two COVID-19 testing sites in Precinct 4 within the week at locations in Tomball and Humble. Harris County Public Health will open the first testing site in Tomball on Tuesday, April 14. That site will perform testing on registered visitors from April 14-16 and April 27-29. A second Public Health testing site will open in Humble on Monday, April 20. The Humble location will test registered visitors from April 20-22 and May 7-9.

Each site is expected to handle as many as 100 tests per day, with that number increasing daily. The addresses of the sites will be provided to those successfully completing their registration, but will otherwise remain undisclosed to discourage unregistered visitors. Unregistered visitors will not be tested and will be turned away by security officials.

To determine whether you should be tested for COVID-19, please visit https://checkforcorona.com/harris-county#/welcome. Those deemed to be at risk for coronavirus will be given a code and phone number to call. After a telephone consultation, those still deemed to be at risk will be given another unique code and information on where and when they are to be tested. Those assigned for testing should bring a photo ID and any other information requested by the phone screener. Walk-ins will not be tested.

Those with questions may call Harris County Public Health at 832-927-7575 for more information. Commissioner Cagle thanks Harris County Public Health officials for working with Precinct 4 staff to make both sites available as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Testing in Montgomery County
Please read the latest information on testing availability in Montgomery County.

Township News

Message of Support Lights The Woodlands Town Center
The lights in Town Center have been turned to blue to show support to all medical personnel serving on the frontlines of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The turning basin lights on the water wall and the pavilion have also been lit up blue.

Trash and Recycling Service Update
Parking on the street is sometimes necessary, especially now that many of us are home during the day during this time. However, to ensure uninterrupted service for you and your neighbors, please avoid parking on the street on your trash day. If a service or contractor truck is due to visit your home on your trash day, please notify the company and ask that they park in your driveway or in an area where they are not obstructing passage.

Getting Counted Counts — Especially in Emergencies
The Township encourages residents to make sure they are counted in the 2020 Census. The U.S. Census is immensely valuable in times of emergency planning, preparedness and recovery efforts for all types of emergencies, including COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Survey statistics can help identify counties with large at-risk populations, assist in measuring economic impact and more. This is only possible when people and businesses respond to the Census. Read more about the 2020 census here.

Help Our Heroes, Monday, April 20, 2020
A steady flow of items have been donated to the Central Fire Station. Over 21 groups have donated the following items since inception on April 6, 2020. 

  • Shoe/Hair covers: 736
  • Gloves: 6,880
  • Face shields: 199
  • Masks (homemade, surgical, N95): 1,190
  • Sanitizing wipes containers: 23
  • Sanitizer bottles: 12
  • Sterile isolation gowns: 53
  • Safety goggles: 318
  • Paper towel rolls: 176
  • Commercial trifold paper towels: 6,680
  • Various cleaners: 26
  • Isopropyl Alcohol: 2
  • PAPR face shields: 2
  • Powered portable air purifying respirator: 1

Please consider donating materials if you have them on-hand. Your help is greatly appreciated! Collection Days and Locations are Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 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 

Experience The Woodlands with Safe Social Distancing
Looking to try new restaurants or shops while social distancing? Save this passport to your phone and check off these "destinations" as you support dining and shopping options in The Woodlands. You can visit these destinations by making purchases from local stores and ordering from area restaurants. Post your progress to encourage your friends and neighbors to participate. Snap photos of your food and purchases and be sure to share them on social media, tagging the business and using #SoWoodlands.

Virtual Puzzles from Visit The Woodlands
Visit The Woodlands has created a few virtual puzzles to help you to pass the time. Take a look and challenge your friends and family to see who can get the best time! Is there a Woodlands scene that you’d like to see be made into a puzzle? Let us know!

Gardening with Children: Easy Strategies During Social Distancing
With the extra time created by social distancing, gardening is an activity that children of all ages can enjoy. Here are a few tips to get you started with minimal supplies and minimal cost.

Please Stay Safe! Practice Social Distancing
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. And remember, parks are closed for everyone’s safety.

Reminder: Parks Are Still Closed
The Woodlands Township urges all residents and visitors to continue to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reminds that all Township parks are closed to the public until further notice. “This is an unprecedented time, and we urge Township residents and visitors to abide by the closures for their own safety and the safety of our area,” said Township Chairman Gordy Bunch. “We cannot let our guard down in this endeavor.”

Numerous resources are available in the community for support. These vary from food banks to financial assistance and much more. Please visit the link below to find more information about resources in the community related to COVID-19: http://thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/1491/Community-Resources.

Suicide Awareness and Prevention Podcast
Mosaics of Mercy has released a podcast on suicide that covers how warning signs might be different right now due to COVID-19 and what to look for, how to open up the conversation with someone, virtual training, what to do if someone shares they are suicidal, resources available now, walking through the grief of suicide and much more. Listen to the podcast. This is also available on iTunes, Stitcher, Apple Play, and all of the other major podcast platforms. The podcast is hosted by Whitcomb Terpening, LCSW. She is a counselor in the area that has one of the only practices in the US that specializes in suicide. She was recently written up in a USA Today article and she is part of the leadership of the local Suicide Prevention Task Force.

Mobile Market Food Drive at the YMCA
Even though the doors of the YMCAs are closed during these difficult times of COVID-19, our hearts are open and our legacy of service continues to meet the needs of the community.

As the Y responds to the changing needs of our community as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on our families, we are collaborating with organizations across Greater Houston and surrounding communities to address food insecurity. Distribution sites fill a critical need for so many.

Locally, Montgomery County Food Bank distributes food to more than 30,000 individuals a month in Montgomery County. They do this in partnership with more than 60 partner agencies including the YMCA. The Woodlands Family YMCA will host a mobile market in the Shadowbend YMCA parking lot on Saturday, April 25, 10am – Noon.

Located at 6145 Shadowbend Place, boxes of food will be loaded into patron’s cars by volunteers and Y Staff. Each family will receive fresh produce, dry/canned goods, frozen meat and breads/desserts. Distribution of food will be on a first come, first serve basis with enough food to serve 200 families. Social distancing guidelines will be strictly enforced.

As a non-profit organization, the Y depends on community support to continue to support those in need. For those who are YMCA members, we ask that you continue to support our work through your membership. Produce is provided by our partnership with Brighter Bites and Houston Food Bank. If you are an individual or organization that would like to partner with the Y to support these efforts, please email CommunityCare@ymcahouston.org.

For more information on Montgomery County Food Bank, the guidelines they are following to address the spread of COVID-19 and additional food distribution sites, please visit https://mcfoodbank.org/.

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 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.

Hotlines for health questions and COVID-19

  • Montgomery County: 936-523-5040                 
  • Harris County: 713-634-1110 
  • Statewide Mental Health Support Line: 833-986-1919

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.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Public Service Announcement
FBI has seen a rise in fraud schemes related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus. This includes fake CDC emails and phishing emails related to stimulus checks from the government, charitable contributions, airline carrier funds, fake cures and more. Read the full PSA for more information.

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.

______________________________________________________________________________
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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