COVID-19 – CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION FAQs/RESOURCES 6-29-2020

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Sunday - 9:00AM S Family Bible Study, 10:00AM Worship Service | Wednesday - 6PM Youth and Children Small Groups - 7PM Mid Week Bible Study: through Zoom due to the YMCA Covid-19 lock down: To register call 281-498-5441. Leave your name and phone number, along with Bible Study interest.

COVID-19 – CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION FAQs/RESOURCES 6-29-2020

I heard there’s a mask order for parts of the Houston area.  Where?

  • Chambers County
  • Fort Bend County
  • Harris County
  • Cities of: Clute, Dickinson, Freeport, Galveston (city), Katy, Lake Jackson, La Marque, Manvel, Missouri City, Pearland, Sugar Land
  • (Houston area METRO buses and trains)

I heard there are mask orders for various areas – what do the orders say?

  • In most cases, the orders require all employees and customers to wear masks inside businesses.
  • Businesses must post signage about masks.
  • Businesses may refuse service to customers who don't wear face coverings.
  • There are similar exceptions as before regarding masks. People exercising, driving alone, pumping gas or eating won't be required to wear them.
  • Masks are mandatory as well on all Houston area METRO buses and trains.
  • Most apply to those age 10 and up.
  • For more information on the Harris County order, please go to: https://www.readyharris.org/Stay-Safe

I heard the Harris County Judge has a new “threat-level system” for COVID-19//I heard the Harris County Stay at Home order has ended:

  • The Harris County Judge has issued a public threat level system for the spread of COVID-19.
  • The system measures the coronavirus threat on a numerical scale with Level 1/red representing the highest threat and Level 4/green the lowest threat.
  • Houston area public officials ask residents to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
  • The Harris County stay at home order has expired and the Judge has not said if a new order will be issued.
  • For more information/to check the threat level, please go to readyharris.org

 

I heard the Texas Governor has scaled back some re-opening of businesses due to COVID-19:

 

I heard the Governor is allowing more businesses to reopen:

  • *See above for recent updates.
  • *Bars are now closed (see above).
  • *Restaurants have been scaled back to 50% occupancy (see above).
  • The third phase of re-opening is underway.
  • All businesses that were open at 25% capacity can expand to 50% occupancy, with a few exceptions.
  • Fans now allowed at outdoor pro sporting events in most Texas counties at 50% capacity. The updates do not include college or high school athletics.
  • Food Court Dining areas now allowed to open with social distancing.
  • Driver’s Ed programs may begin.
  • Recreational sports programs for adults can open.
  • Restaurants, retail stores, malls, movie theaters, museums, hair and nail salons, libraries, gyms, child care facilities, massage parlors, youth clubs and sports, bars, bowling alleys, bingo halls, zoos, and aquariums are all open.
  • Youth camps, summer camps, and Little League camp are open.
  • For more info, go to dshs.state.tx.us

I heard there’s new info about Texas schools reopening:

  • Students can access campuses for in person instruction, including summer school, special education, and tutoring.
  • Graduation ceremonies allowed.
  • Private schools and higher education can reopen.
  • Youth camps, summer camps, and Little League camp can reopen.

I heard Texas is reopening/the Governor is reopening Texas:

  • The governor’s stay home orders have expired.  This means you can leave your home without restrictions. The state orders supersede local orders.
  • Masks, social distancing and smaller gatherings are recommended.  
  • The governor recommends those over 65 years remain at home.
  • Most businesses are open (see above).
  • For more info, go to dshs.state.tx.us

I heard something about an order to wear masks:

  • See above.
  • Social distancing and limiting the size of gatherings are also recommended.  
  • You can use a bandana, t-shirt, or scarf.
  • If you need a mask, you can get one through “Masks for All.” Go to houstonresponds.org/masksforall

I heard info about where I can vote:

  • Through July 10th ,you can vote early in the primary runoff Texas elections. 
  • The primaries were originally scheduled for May, but were delayed because of the virus.  
  • You can’t vote by mail, but voting locations will have safety measures in place. 
  • Everyone will need to wear a mask and you’re encouraged to bring your own pencil and hand sanitizer. 
  • To find a location to vote near you visit harrisvotes.com

I heard there’s money available for low-income Texas families:

  • Low-income families on the SNAP program may be getting an extra $285 in federal aid per child – this is automatic you don’t need to apply.
  • It helps to make up for free/reduced price meals missed when schools closed.
  • This is being extended to any family who gets free/reduced meals at school.
  • To apply, ask your school district about the P-EBT program (Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer) or call 833-613-6220.

I heard there’s a new Harris County fund for COVID help: 

  • The Harris County COVID-19 relief fund will help struggling residents in the midst of the pandemic.  
  • Applications will be taken through 10 PM Wednesday June 24th.  
  • Amounts given out will depend on how many are in your house. 
  • For more about it: Harris County Relief Fund website: https://www.harriscountyrelief.org/.

 

I heard there’s financial help for people in Harris County:

  • $30 million is available to help Harris County residents.  
  • Eligible include survivors of domestic violence, those in homeless shelters, and youth who’ve aged out of foster care. 
  • For more info visit the Greater Houston Community Foundation’s website ghcf.org
  • If you need immediate assistance, call 211

I heard the driver license office is open now:

  • Driver license offices are opening region by region with limited service.
  • Customers who currently do not possess a Texas DL, CDL, learner permit or ID card, as well those who are in need of a driving test will be serviced. 
  • You can book your appointment online by visiting www.dps.texas.gov

I heard blood donors are needed:

  • Surgeries have resumed in Houston and the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center says they are in critical need of blood donations. 
  • If you are healthy, the Blood Center is asking you to schedule an appointment at giveblood.org
  • Appointments are spaced out to assist with social distancing. 
  • Donor blood will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies.

I heard about how to get my stimulus check:

  • If you haven’t received your stimulus check, you won't be getting the money in the form of a physical check at all.
  • Nearly four million payments will be paid via prepaid Visa debit cards—which can be used anywhere Visa is accepted—you will also be able to withdraw cash from in-network ATMs, and transfer money to your personal bank account without fees.  
  • Questions: call (800) 919-9835.

I heard about mail in voting:

I heard about a Food Drive at NRG:

  • The last Houston ISD community food distribution was Friday May 22nd at NRG Stadium
  • On June 1st the district will launch its free curbside summer meals program. 
  • Families can pick up boxed meals for children ages 1 to 18 twice a week – on Mondays and Thursdays – at one of 68 designated schools across the district. 
  • For more info visit  https://www.houstonisd.org/summermeals

I heard about a way to find out if items are in stock at the store:

  • Two University of Texas students designed a website called Instok.org. 
  • Instok allows users to search for items based on zip codes.

I heard about extra money for food for families in need:

  • Texas families with children who receive free or discounted meals at school will now get $285 from the state. 
  • Families with children aged 5-18 who received SNAP food benefits in March -- when school campuses first closed -- will automatically receive the money on their current Lone Star Card by May 22. 

 

I heard about COVID-related jobs with the City of Houston:

  • The Houston Health department is doing two virtual job fairs on Thursday May 14th for temporary COVID-related jobs like contact tracers, epidemiologists, nurses and more
  • The career fairs are on Microsoft Teams.
  • Go to the City of Houston Human Resource Careers webpage to apply

I heard about a Houston Astros face mask:

  • You can now get an official Houston Astros face mask
  • You must make a $15 donation at Astros.com/Together. 
  • Proceeds benefit the Astros Foundation and it’s COVID-19 relief efforts

I heard about a renter’s relief program:

  • There’s a city of Houston program providing $15 million for renters’ relief.
  • Register at houstonrentassistance.org
  • The money will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis. 

I heard about help with my mortgage:

  • If you have a federally backed loan, your monthly payments can be skipped under the news  CARES Act
  • You will not have to repay skipped payments in a big lump sum
  • There are options for repayment
  • You can find out if you have a federally backed mortgage using Fannie Mae’s look-up tool
  • If you need help, call your mortgage company back and ask for it.

I heard about help with my groceries with NextDoor and Walmart:

  • Walmart and Nextdoor have a new program called "Neighbors Helping Neighbors."   
  • Nextdoor members can get help shopping for essential items at Walmart from a neighbor already planning a trip to their local store.
  • For more info go to nextdoor.com or the nextdoor app. 

I heard something about where to find job openings in Texas:

  • Nearly 500,000 jobs are available across Texas.
  • Connect with Workforce Solutions or go to www.workintexas.com and  search for a job by city or zip code.

I heard there’s a food program for people with disabilities:

  • Non-perishable food, produce, and basic home necessities will be delivered to disabled people (who are finding it hard to get these items).  
  • If you need assistance visit houstontx.gov or call 832-394-0814. 

I heard there is more COVID-19 testing available:

I heard I can get help/food from The Houston Food Bank: 

I heard Walmart is hiring:

  • Walmart is looking to hire an additional 50,000 employees - cashiers, stockers and personal shoppers.
  • To apply go to their careers website or by texting 'jobs' to 240240.

I heard about a new way to file for unemployment:

  • The Texas Workforce Commission has a new app to apply for benefits DoNotPay is a free app and website
  • People can insert information on their smart phone and the app will mail the data to the unemployment office.

I heard about a website to report price gouging:

To report price-gouging, go to www.harriscountycao.org

I heard there are jobs available in Houston.  Where can I learn more?

  • There are thousands of positions available in our area, including grocery stores, healthcare facilities, construction, and trucking companies
  • Go to fox26houston.com

I heard about more loans being offered for small businesses:

  • Yes, there are now $50 million in new loans for Texas small businesses.
  • Go to liftfund.com to apply

I have recovered from COVID-19 and heard my plasma is needed:

  • Yes, if you’ve been recovered for more than two weeks, your plasma is needed for an experimental therapy.
  • There is a form to fill out.  You can find it by going to the KSBJ Morning Show Facebook page.

I heard I can get free WIFI:

  • For low-income students who need WIFI to home school
  • Xfinity is offering their hotspots for free for students nationwide
  • To find one near you visit hotspots.wifi.xfinity.com.

I heard they’re charging for tolls now:

  • Yes, the Harris County toll road is now charging again to drive on toll roads.
  • Toll booths remain closed so you can use your toll tag or pay online on the Harris County Toll Road website
  • That website is hctra.org

Mr. Bill said:

He said NASA has science lessons:

  • NASA has launched a new online platform, called NASA at Home.  
  • It has family friendly activities for kids in kindergarten and up including E-books and virtual tours like the Hubble Space Telescope and the Space Station
  • Check out at nasa-dot-gov. 

He said I didn’t have to file my taxes by April 15th:

  • The IRS delayed the deadline to file and to pay taxes until July 15th, giving all of us three extra months.  
  • You do not need to file any forms for the delay – it is automatic. 
  • If you’re expecting a return however, the IRS recommends filing right away to get your money.  It usually takes about 3 weeks to get your payment.

He mentioned I can find out when my stimulus check is coming/I can sign up to find out what mail is coming to my mailbox:

  • It’s called Informed Delivery and emails you photos of what is coming in your snail-mail.  So, if you are getting your stimulus check via snail mail you can see when it will arrive. 
  • You will get your stimulus check via direct deposit if you’re signed up for direct deposit with the IRS.  Otherwise, it will come via snail mail.
  • To sign up for Informed Delivery, go to informed-delivery-dot.usps.com
  • *Or go to irs.gov and click “get your payment”

He mentioned a service for childcare for essential workers:

  • It’s called Find Childcare Now
  • It links Houston-area essential workers with child-care providers. It also helps with some childcare expenses for low-income families.
  • It’s through a website -go to find-childcare-now-dot-org.  

He mentioned meals for seniors. How do I get those?

  • For more information, you can call 1-800-677-1116 or go to hhs.texas.gov
  • There is also a group called Crowd Source Rescue offering no contact food deliveries for seniors.  They need volunteers.  To volunteer or to request food, go to crowdsourcerescue.com

He said something about how to make a face mask:

  • The CDC now recommends wearing a mask if you must go to a public place where it is tough to keep a social distance.
  • A mask does not guarantee protection, so you should still keep a distance and wash hands.
  • For instructions how to make a face mask, go to cdc.gov

Mr. Bill said I don’t have to pay my student loans:

  • The U.S. government is automatically suspending payments and waiving interest on federal student loans for six months.  
  • It’s automatic and you don’t have to request it.  
  • The Department of Education is asking you to be patient, though, as this change may take a while to show up on your account.

 

MISCELLANEOUS INFO:

I heard about a number I can text to get area info/updates on COVID-19. What is it? Text CV19 to 888777.  This is the Harris County Office of Emergency Management notification system for COVID-19 updates.

FOOD RESOURCES: 

NRG pickup/HISD Summer Food Program:

  • The last Houston ISD community food distribution is Friday May 22nd at NRG Stadium
  • On June 1st the district will launch its free curbside summer meals program. 
  • Families can pick up boxed meals for children ages 1 to 18 twice a week – on Mondays and Thursdays – at one of 68 designated schools across the district. 
  • For more info visit  https://www.houstonisd.org/summermeals

Additional info for HISD: For more information and a list of locations go to: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/article/HISD-plan-food-distribution-schools-five-campus-15172016.php

Additionally, Houston’s Parks and Recreation Dept has started a curbside meals program for youth age 1-18.  It’s Monday-Friday 1-3 PM at 47 sites.  

More info and locations at: https://www.khou.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/houston-now-offering-curbside-meal-program-for-children-teens/285-1e3b178f-4ce6-47a0-a506-864ff150431f

More resources for food programs:

Call the help hotline at 832-369-9390 to locate other food pantries.

I heard there’s a food program for people with disabilities:

  • Non-perishable food, produce, and basic home necessities will be delivered to disabled people (who are finding it hard to get these items).  
  • If you need assistance visit houstontx.gov or call 832-394-0814

 

I have a small business.  How can I get a loan?

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/

I heard about more loans being offered for small businesses:

  • There are now $50-million in new loans for Texas small businesses
  • Go to liftfund.com to apply

I lost my job.  What do I do? How do I file for unemployment:

You can apply for unemployment benefits by calling the Texas Workforce Commission at 800-939-6631 Mon-Fri 8 AM – 6 PM or go to https://www.twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services 

  • The Texas Workforce Commission has a new app to apply for benefits DoNotPay is a free app and website
  • People can insert information on their smart phone and the app will mail the data to the unemployment office.
  • Connect with Workforce Solutions or go to www.workintexas.com and  search for a job by city or zip code

For an additional list of resources if you lost your job go to: https://www.click2houston.com/money/2020/04/01/rent-is-due-here-are-financial-resources-to-help-you-navigate-all-of-the-bills-that-are-now-due/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=snd&utm_content=kprc2

Where can I get general information on resources and food, etc.?

https://publichealth.harriscountytx.gov

Info on COVID 19, map of outbreak, community resources, myth-busters, where to report price gouging

http://salvationarmyhouston.org/ Salvation Army support and coronavirus (COVID-19) resources – help finding essentials like food, household items, emotional support, and activities for families in isolation

hhs.texas.gov Info about State of Texas Health and Human Services programs, including health clinics, food programs, aging, disabilities, indigent programs, and more

https://www.khou.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/houston-now-offering-curbside-meal-program-for-children-teens/285-1e3b178f-4ce6-47a0-a506-864ff150431f this is a Houston Parks and Recreation Dept Food Program for children aged 1-18

crowdsourcerescue.com - a group called Crowd Source Rescue is offering no contact food deliveries for seniors.  They need volunteers.  To volunteer or to request food

I’m an essential employee and must work. Are any daycares open?

The YMCA has daycares open for children of essential employees.  There is more information at https://www.ymcahouston.org/essential-personnel-child-care

Here are more daycares that remain open: https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.click2houston.com%2Fnews%2Flocal%2F2020%2F03%2F26%2Flist-these-daycares-will-be-open-for-kids-of-essential-employees-during-houston-area-stay-home-orders%2F&data=02%7C01%7Csboasehoneycutt%40ksbj.org%7C98cddacb2e674adfc99d08d7d254a628%7Ce4230037ca00439689858d83ae1d3f72%7C1%7C0%7C637209133320294007&sdata=UoLYrfxrqoNtzoLAMzQEcVMqXMgjCv3d9ZrdaECXkUU%3D&reserved=0

Find Childcare Now

  • It links Houston-area essential workers with child-care providers. It also helps with some childcare expenses for low-income families.
  • It’s through a website  go to find-childcare-now-dot-org.  

What about renter’s rights – can I be evicted during coronavirus? 

The Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order barring evictions at this time. Go to https://texashousers.net/2020/03/17/covid-19-texas-protections-preparedness-statement/ 

There’s a city of Houston program providing $15 million for renters’ relief.

Where can I get more information on coronavirus?

HELPFUL WEBSITES:

https://publichealth.harriscountytx.gov

Info on COVID 19, map of outbreak, community resources, myth-busters, where to report price gouging

Readyharris.org – Harris Co Emergency website with info on COVID 19 – list of facilities/public areas with restricted access, disaster checklists, pet preparedness

CDC.gov – updates on the national outbreak of coronavirus, health information, preventing illness, what to do if you’re sick

coronavirus.gov – government website with information on the coronavirus, how to protect yourself and your family, and national info/resources

Q&A/Info on COVID-19 from a physician: https://www.click2houston.com/health/2020/03/19/what-does-covid-19-stand-for-anyway-a-complete-coronavirus-glossary/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=snd&utm_content=kprc2

Where can I get information on volunteer opportunities/ways to help others?

Volunteerhouston.org – places to volunteer and help others – of note – social distancing is recommended by all authorities and should be practiced by all when volunteering

Houstonresponds.org – umbrella organization working with churches and non-profits to respond to disasters including COVID 19, to give helpful info churches and non-profits to navigate the crisis, and to help organize volunteers to serve the community

**They are now asking for churches to help make and donate one-million masks. For info, go to ksbj.org or ngenradio.com

crowdsourcerescue.com Crowd Source Rescue is offering no contact food deliveries for seniors.  They need volunteers.  

CORONAVIRUS TESTING:

I heard that anyone in Houston can now get a COVID-19 test, whether they have symptoms or not?

  • Houston’s drive-through sites are testing anyone who wants it, whether or not they have symptoms, free of charge
  • You MUST call first – call 832-393-4220 between 9 AM – 7 PM to get a unique code and instructions where to go

I heard there is a new screening tool to figure out whether I should be tested:

  • You can take a self-assessment to determine whether you should get a test
  • Go to covidcheck.hctx.net

Where is a list of sites across Texas?

Where are other testing sites/Can I get tested?

Public COVID 19 testing sites are now open; go to the above link for sites across the Houston area and Texas.

  • **For local government testing sites, you must go first call the Houston Health Department COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220 or 832-927-7575 to get screened BEFORE going to get tested
  • Bring ID for anyone getting tested.  
  • Most are free (or will accept insurance copays)

Are there any phone numbers to call for information?

  • Not all counties have phone numbers.  Here is what is available:
  • Call 211 for state-wide information and services on COVID-19 and for various state services and resources including food, housing, etc.
  • HARRIS COUNTY ASK MY NURSE/TRIAGE LINE – for those without access to healthcare: 713-634-1110
  • COVID CALL CENTERS:
  • Houston: 832-393-4220
  • Fort Bend Co: 281-633-7795
  • Harris Co: 832-927-7575

Thanks to ksbj 89.3fm and ngen Radio 91.7FM Christian Contemporary & Hip Hop Christian Radio 

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