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Posted on: October 29, 2020

The Woodlands Township COVID-19 Update, Thursday, October 29, 2020

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Township News

Township Board of Directors Meeting
The Woodlands Township Board of Directors held a Regular Board Meeting in person Wednesday, October 28, 2020, at 6 p.m. to discuss Township matters. Prior to addressing agenda items, the Board of Directors issued the following proclamations: Veterans Day, Small Business Saturday and The Woodlands Recycles Day. The Board approved service and easement agreements, numerous reports and presentations, Chairman Bunch provided a COVID-19 update and Director Sekula-Gibbs provided an update for COVID-19 vaccines. Read the full release. The meeting can be viewed online via The Woodlands Township’s website

Free COVID-19 Testing at Township Town Hall
The Woodlands Township is a host location for free COVID-19 testing performed by COVID-19 testing company, Curative, Inc. Curative launched this free testing on Friday, October 23, 2020, with daily hours between 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The walk-up testing will take place seven days a week at The Woodlands Township Town Hall, located at 2801 Technology Forest Blvd. The Woodlands, TX 77381 until future notice. Read the full release here and view a video of Chairman Bunch performing the self-testing process.

Township Installs Wellness Checkpoints
The Woodlands Township has reopened several offices to the public and new temperature-screening kiosks have been installed in several Township facilities. Members of the public as well as employees will be required to be screened prior to entering. Read the full press release and view video of Chairman Bunch at The Woodlands Township Townhall wellness checkpoint.

County News
Montgomery County COVID-19 Case Count October 29, 2020
Montgomery County Public Health District, in conjunction with the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, can sadly confirm three additional deaths related to COVID-19.

  • A man in his 50s, from Spring, died at home. He had co-morbidities in addition to testing positive for COVID-19.
  • A man in his 70s, from Montgomery, died in the hospital. He had co-morbidities in addition to testing positive for COVID-19.
  • A man in his 70s, from Magnolia, died in the hospital. He had co-morbidities in addition to testing positive for COVID-19.

They can also confirm:

  • TOTAL cases of COVID-19 increased by 80 to 14,076 since yesterday’s (10/28) report. All cases were tested in the last 7 days.
  • ACTIVE cases of COVID-19 increased by 19 to 2,320 since yesterday’s (10/28) report.
  • 33 residents are known, as a result of contact investigations, to be in the hospital. Contact investigations have not been initiated on all reported cases.
  • 8,905 people have clinically recovered.

*These numbers include PCR and rapid antigen testing. Antibody testing results are not included. Have questions? Please go to https://mcphd-tx.org/ and scroll down to the FAQs.

You can find more information on the SETRAC website.

Take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

  • If your children have started in-person school, teach them proper hygiene and the correct way to wear a mask. Encourage them to never share masks with others.
  • Consider staying home unless it is necessary to leave your home.
  • Avoid groups of people.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Wear a mask (if it is necessary to leave your home).
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.
  • Disinfect surfaces in your car and around your home.

You can view the case-by-case updates on the MCPHD website here. You can refer to the dashboard here.

Harris County COVID-19 Case Count
Harris County Public Health (HCPH) publishes their daily case count, combined with the City of Houston's daily case count, here. Cases by zip code in Harris County can be found by clicking on areas of the map.

The Village of Creekside Park is located in two zip codes: 77375 and 77389, and these also include Magnolia, Augusta Pines/Auburn Lakes/West Rayford Road in northwest Harris County. Today, Harris County is reporting zip code 77375 has 1,359 confirmed positive cases with 115 active cases, and 77389 has 703 confirmed positive cases with 53 active cases.

COVID-19 Case Count Brief from The Woodlands Fire Department
As of Thursday, October 29, 2020, + or – signifies change since previous report.

Montgomery County

  • 14,076- Confirmed, +80 (All tested in last 7 days)
  • 2,320 - Active Cases, +19
  • 154 - Deaths, +3
  • 8,905 - Recovered, +58
  • 33 - Hospitalized, -2

Harris County

  • 76,966 - Confirmed, +249
  • 4,739 - Active Cases, +45
  • 892 - Deaths, +12
  • 71,325 - Recovered, +200

Get Tested for COVID-19

Free Curative COVID-19 Testing at Town Hall
The Woodlands Township is a host location for free COVID-19 testing performed by COVID-19 testing company, Curative, Inc. Free testing began on Friday, October 23, 2020 with daily hours between 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The walk-up testing will take place seven days a week located at 2801 Technology Forest Blvd. in The Woodlands, TX 77381 until future notice.

Montgomery County residents may sign up online for Free COVID-19 testing at https://www.mchd-tx.org. Call 936-523-3916 for more information. 

Harris County residents may also sign up for free COVID-19 testing online at hcphtx.org. Call 832-927-7575 for more information.

State and National News

Texas Municipal League Coronavirus Update
Are voters required to wear masks when voting in person?
Well, we thought we knew the answer to that question…until last Tuesday. On Tuesday, October 27, 2020, a federal district judge invalidated an exemption to Governor Abbott’s statewide mask mandate for voters. The governor’s face covering mandate issued back on July 2, 2020, GA-29, requires every person in Texas to wear face coverings under certain circumstances, and with certain exceptions. One of the exceptions to the mask requirement is for “any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election, but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged.” In other words, voters were not required to wear masks while voting, although doing so was highly recommended.

On Tuesday, October 27, 2020, Federal District Judge Jason Pulliam of San Antonio issued a memorandum opinion voiding and invalidating the mask-mandate exemption for voting. The legal reasoning behind the opinion is that the mask mandate exemption for voting violates the Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in a certain language minority group. According to the opinion, the plaintiffs challenging the exemption hold a substantial likelihood of success on the Voting Rights Act claim due, in part, to data showing that minority groups experience greater risk of contraction and severity of COVID-19, and that risk can be mitigated by wearing masks at the polling place.

Where does all of this leave us? As of the time this email goes out, voters, poll watchers, and election workers in Texas are now legally required to wear masks due to this decision. Both the governor and secretary of state have reportedly already appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, so the situation remains quite fluid at this stage.

Switching gears completely - with Halloween coming up this weekend, what can local leaders do to promote healthy celebrations?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published guidance on how to minimize COVID-19 spread at holiday gatherings, including specific different “risk level” activity information for Halloween, Día de los Muertos, and Thanksgiving. Additionally, the CDC has a separate webpage spelling out the best ways to make trick-or-treating as safe as possible, under the circumstances.

Beyond CDC guidance, the Halloween and Costume Association has created a website – Halloween2020.org – that includes social distancing tips and a color-coded COVID-19 risk-level map created by the Harvard Global Health Institute. The map can be broken down by Texas county, and the website has guidance on possible Halloween activities based on the risk-level of each county.

On October 7th, Governor Abbott released a new emergency executive order affecting the opening of Texas. The October 7th order, GA-32, available here, provides for further openings, including allowing some standalone bars to operate at reduced capacity, increasing the capacity of indoor meeting space to 75 percent, and more. GA-32 took effect on October 14, 2020.

GA-32 continues to allow indoor areas of restaurants, retail establishments, and gyms in most areas of Texas to operate at a maximum 75 percent capacity. This applies to hotel restaurants and other hotel dining areas. However, in areas of Texas where COVID-19 hospitalization cases exceed 15 percent of the area’s hospital census, restaurant, retail, and gym capacity remain restricted to 50 percent maximum capacity.

GA-32 retains the Governor’s face mask requirements, and physical distancing requirements remain in place.

Under GA-32, indoor meetings and other gatherings may occur at 75 maximum percent occupancy capacity, and subject to the physical distancing requirements found in the standards of operation issued by the State of Texas. Read more at the THLA website

FBI Warns of Potential Charity Fraud Associated with COVID-19
Many Americans want to help during the COVID-19 pandemic by contributing to charities, but the FBI is warning that scammers also want to help—they want to help themselves to your money. Be careful about giving money to any charity calling you for donations and be wary if you get a call about a donation pledge that you don’t remember making. Read the full press release.

Steps to Take During Halloween and Other Halloween Activities
Traditional Halloween activities are fun, but some can increase the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 or influenza. Take steps to protect yourself from getting or spreading COVID-19 such as, wearing a cloth mask, while indoors and outdoors, stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Read more from the CDC.

The Federal Trade Commission Chairman is Not Writing to You
If you saw an email from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simons, it wasn’t. From him, that is. Scammers pretending to be him are emailing, though. If you get an email from the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission about getting money because of an inheritance or relief funds related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — or anything else — do not respond. Read the full article.

It’s a Good Time to Get Your Flu Vaccine
While the United States remains focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to also be aware of flu season as we approach winter. Flu viruses typically spread in fall and winter, with activity peaking between December and February. Getting vaccinated now can lower your chances of getting the flu.

Flu (influenza) is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. The flu vaccines approved by the FDA provide important benefits and are your best defense from flu and its potential complications. Learn more from the FDA.

Travel Confidently this Fall
A healthy and safe travel experience is a shared responsibility. When we all do our part, we can all #TravelConfidently. Join travel businesses across the industry and commit to doing your part to provide a safe travel experience. Watch a short video on traveling safely during the pandemic and learn more from the U.S. Travel Association.

Community Resources

Numerous resources are available in the community for support. These vary from food banks to financial assistance and much more. Please visit the Community Resources webpage to find more information about resources in the community related to COVID-19.

The Woodlands Family YMCAs to Host Blood Donor Coach
The Woodlands Family YMCAs will host the Blood Donor Coach Friday, October 30, 2020, at both locations, to help address the critical needs of blood supply for local hospitals. Free voucher for a stack of pancakes from I-Hop and free Covid-19 antibody test with blood donation. Visit Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center for more information. 

Friday, October 30, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Community Assistance Center Saturday Market
The Montgomery County Community Assistance Center, along with the Montgomery County Foodbank and Interfaith Community Clinic, will host a Saturday Market on October 31, 2020, beginning at 8 a.m. The market is located at 1022 McCall Ave. and includes free flu shots and groceries, while supplies last. For more information, please visit their website.

Keep Up with Best Practices During the Pandemic at CDC.GOV
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

The Woodlands Township COVID-19 eNewsletter
The Woodlands Township COVID-19 (Coronavirus) informational enewsletter will now be published every Tuesday and Thursday and as needed. Manage your notifications and subscriptions. 

Township’s Coronavirus Page
The Woodlands Township’s COVID-19 page can be found at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/covid19. This page features Montgomery and Harris county hubs, community resources and news from the Federal Government and the CDC. It also includes the latest news from the Township, partner agencies, important links, FAQs, live Twitter feeds and more.

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.

Stay Informed with The Woodlands Township
Sign up for news and alerts from the Township at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/notifyme. During a weather-related event, additional information can be found at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/emergency.

The Woodlands Township publishes this update to inform residents and businesses regarding COVID-19 and its impact on The Woodlands Township. Please sign up for Township news and notifications at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/notifyme. This newsletter is published every Tuesday and Thursday, or as needed.

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