Coronavirus in Houston: Updates, cases and latest news

Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 headlines from around Houston, Texas for Saturday, April 25.

We are continuing to track the latest headlines and updates regarding the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

There were more than 900,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States by Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 51,000 deaths in the U.S., with 96,000 recoveries and over 4.6 million tests have been conducted nationwide.

Worldwide, there have been over 2.7 million cases, and more than 195,000 people have died.

Get the latest updates and top headlines below.

Today’s top headlines

Latest updates

Here are the latest updates from around the Houston area and the world (all times are Central/Houston time):

APRIL 25 11:12 a.m.  Glen Campbell’s widow and daughter are offering comfort and guidance for other families who can’t visit loved ones in long-term care because of the coronavirus. Read more here. 

APRIL 25 10:23 a.m. — The Fort Bend Independent School District will be holding 2020 graduation ceremonies July 19 – 21 at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land, according to district officials. 

Administrators said if the district is unable to do face-to-face graduations then virtual graduations are possible. But that decision will not be made until June or July. More here.

APRIL 25 9:17 a.m. — The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 9,156 Texans have recovered from COVID-19. 

There have been more than 22,000 positive cases in the state. As of today, the state health department reported 593 deaths. 

APRIL 25 8:40 a.m. Fort Bend Health & Human Services reported 14 new cases today and nine recoveries. 

This brings the total number of cases in Fort Bend County to 919. Click here for a breakdown of cases in each county. 

APRIL 25 7:16 a.m. This weekend is Texas Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday. 

Texans are allowed to purchase certain emergency preparation supplies tax-free during this sales tax holiday. There is no limit on the number of qualifying items you can purchase, and you do not need to give an exemption certificate to claim the exemption. More here. 

APRIL 25 7:07 a.m. India announces easing of a stringent lockdown for 1.3 billion people by allowing opening of neighborhood and standalone shops with restrictions such as 50% of workers with face masks and social distancing.

A home ministry statement issued late Friday says that shops in single and multi-brand malls would not be allowed to open anywhere in the country.

The relaxation also would not be applicable in hundreds of hotspots and containment zones across the country. India has so far reported more than 18,600 positive new coronavirus cases and 775 deaths. The worst-hit states are Maharashtra with 6,817 positive cases, Gujarat with 3,815 cases, New Delhi 2,514 and Rajasthan 2,034 cases.

APRIL 25 7:06 a.m. For the 10th straight day, China reported no new deaths from the coronavirus.

Twelve new cases were reported on Saturday, 11 of them brought from overseas and one local transmission in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang bordering on Russia, according to the National Health Commission.

APRIL 25 6:56 a.m. Houston and Harris County residents will be required to wear facial coverings when they go outside starting Monday, April 27, 2020. 

The City of Houston is opening several sites that will be distributing free masks starting today.

Click here for a list of locations. 

APRIL 24 5:55 p.m. — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday said the City of Houston is facing a $170 million to $200 million budget shortfall — the worst deficit in the history of Houston. He said thousands of city employee will likely be furloughed.

“It will be the worst budget deficit that the city has faced,” Turner said at a press conference Friday afternoon. “I said in 2016 that it was the worst, and that’s because we were dealing with … the rising cost of pensions. … This one will be worse than 2016.”

APRIL 24 4:25 p.m. — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said doctors are telling him the curve has flattened and indicating that if we haven’t hit the peak yet, we’re close.

Health experts say everyone must continue following guidelines, including social distancing so the trend will continue.

“We’re not coming down yet. We’ve plateaued,” said Houston Health Authority David Persse. “That means all of things Houstonians are doing means we are at the same pace as the power of this virus. What everyone is doing is working. Keep doing it.”

There are a total of 3,210 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Houston with 422 recoveries.

APRIL 24 3:40 p.m. — If you’ve recovered from COVID-19, your plasma is needed to treat Houston-Area patients who are still in the ICU. Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse says The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center will begin taking volunteers who have recovered and who want to donate. 

You’ll need to provide documentation that you’ve recovered and the Red Cross will double check before taking your plasma.

Dr. Persse says volunteers can contact the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center via or at 713-791-6608 starting Monday.

APRIL 24 3:10 p.m. For the first time since the pandemic begin, the City of Houston reported the death of a patient with no known underlying health conditions. The man in his 70s died on April 12, according to Mayor Sylvester Turner, bringing the Houston total to 35 deaths. 

Before Friday, the city had marked four straight days without any deaths. 

APRIL 24 2:20 p.m. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced they are winding down the medical shelter set up in the parking lot of NRG. The county spent $17 million to set up the shelter in case extra hospital beds were needed during the pandemic. Hidalgo said FEMA will reimburse 75% of that cost.

Hidalgo stood by her decision to build the shelter after seeing what happened in other cities, like New York.

“It was our responsibility to put our community in the best position to save lives,” Hidalgo said.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through…

The air by coughing or sneezingClose personal contact, such as touching or shaking handsTouching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

Stay home when you are sick.Eat and sleep separately from your family membersUse different utensils and dishesCover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.Avoid close contact with people who are sick.Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting ‘FACTS’ to 713-526-1111.

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