Coronavirus in Houston: Updates, cases and news for April 30

Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 headlines and updates for Thursday, April 30.

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

Galveston’s beaches are set to reopen tomorrow, the same day that California’s are reported to be closing. Get the latest updates and top headlines below.

This morning’s top headlines

Latest COVID-19 updates

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

Tomorrow, May 1st, is reopening day: Texas will begin reopening its economy. In case you missed it, here are the Phase One rules for reopening malls, churches, movie theaters in Texas. If Phase one goes well – without a spike in COVID-19 cases – Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas will move on to Phase 2 of reopening Texas on May 18. Read more here.

APRIL 30 8:59 a.m. — Stocks slam on brakes as dismal economic data piles higher | Stocks are falling in early trading on Wall Street Thursday as more grim news piles up about the damage that lockdowns related to the coronavirus are causing the global economy. The S&P 500 was down 1.1%. European markets were also lower. The U.S. government reported more than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week and that consumer spending plunged 7.5% in March. The U.S. economic crisis is shaping up to be the worst since the 1930s. Meanwhile new data came out showing that the European economy contracted by a record 3.8% in the first three months of the year. (AP) Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 30 7:33 a.m. — New jobs numbers out this morning: 30 million have sought US jobless aid since virus hit | More than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the U.S. economy slid further into a crisis that is becoming the most devastating since the 1930s. Roughly 30.3 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the six weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors and slash their workforces. That is more people than live in the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas combined, and it’s by far the worst string of layoffs on record. It adds up to more than one in six American workers.  (AP) Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 30 6:15 a.m. — The latest confirmed numbers from Texas and around the world: There are 3,207,248 million confirmed cases worldwide with 227,971 deaths and 984,161 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins at this time. The U.S. leads the world with 1,040,488 confirmed cases. Texas Health and Human Services reports that as of early Wednesday afternoon (the latest update at this time), we have 27,054 COVID-19 cases in the state with 732 deaths and an estimated 12,507 recoveries. Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 30 6 a.m. — Surf’s down in California: Governor will close beaches | A memo sent to California’s police chiefs says Gov. Gavin Newsom intends to close all beaches and state parks starting Friday in the wake of a weekend that saw a crush of people at open seashores. The head of the California Police Chiefs Association sent the bulletin to members on Wednesday, saying the governor plans to announce the order on Thursday. A message to the governor’s office seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned. The order comes as some communities reopen their beaches and pressure is building to cautiously begin easing stay-at-home restrictions that have throttled the state’s economy and kept millions at home. (AP) Read more here.

APRIL 30 1 a.m. — Greta Thunberg’s foundation donates $100K to fight coronavirus | Climate activist Greta Thunberg is launching a campaign with a Danish foundation to help finance the U.N. childrens’ agency’s emergency program to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Thunberg said in a statement that “like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child-rights crisis” that will affect youngsters now and in the long-term, especially the most vulnerable. She urged people everywhere “to step up and join me in support of UNICEF’s vital work to save children’s lives, to protect health and continue education.” The campaign is being launched with $100,000 from the Greta Thunberg Foundation and $100,000 from Denmark’s Human Act Foundation. Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 30 12:28 a.m. — Dogs are being trained to smell COVID-19 on people | Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) are trying to discover if dogs can smell whether someone has COVID-19. It could potentially cut down on community spread of the virus by identifying patients who may be asymptomatic — those who have the disease but are not showing symptoms. Read more here.

APRIL 29 11 p.m. — South Korea reports four new coronavirus cases, lowest in about two months | South Korea has reported four more cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, the first time that its daily jump has marked below five in about two months. The Koreas Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement Thursday that the additional figures took the country’s total to 10,765 with 247 deaths. It says 9,059 of them have recovered and been released from quarantine. It says the four new cases are all imported ones and that there were no newly reported cases of local infections. Local media said it’s the first time for South Korea to have no daily increase of local infections since Feb. 15. Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 29 10:30 p.m. — Texas Army National Guard helping state’s fight against COVID-19 | Texans are seeing Texas Army National Guard soldiers across the state, including at dozens of COVID-19 testing sites. Where to get tested and how it works remain top questions for many of you. A KHOU 11 team was allowed to get a closer look at a drive-through facility set up in the parking lot of the Delmar-Tusa Sports Complex in Houston where the National Guard is helping with traffic control and COVID-19 testing. Read/watch the full story here.

APRIL 29 10:30 p.m. — Conroe HOA apologizes to family after calling 4-year-old girl’s artwork ‘unsightly articles’ | It didn’t take long for people to fall in love with 4-year-old Giuliana and her colorful artwork on the windows of her home in Conroe. “We really didn’t expect that much attention over it,” Andrea, Giuliana’s mother, said. First Service Residential Homeowners Association said her daughter’s artwork was classified as “unsightly articles” and said it needed to be taken down. Read the full follow-up story here.

APRIL 29 10 p.m. — Many Japanese defy appeals to stay home to curb virus | Under Japan’s coronavirus state of emergency, people have been asked to stay home. Many are not. Some still have to commute to their jobs despite risks of infection, while others are dining out, picnicking in parks and crowding into grocery stores with scant regard for social distancing. Nobody is breaking the law, and business almost as usual is the message they are getting from the government. Wary of wrecking the economy, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has rejected the idea of European-style hard lockdowns. Experts say a sense of urgency is missing, thanks to mixed messaging from the government and a lack of incentives to stay home.   Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 29 10 p.m. — NYPD called after overwhelmed funeral home stores bodies on ice in rented trucks | Police were called to a Brooklyn neighborhood Wednesday after a funeral home overwhelmed by the coronavirus resorted to storing dozens of bodies on ice in rented trucks, and a passerby complained about the smell, officials said. Investigators who responded to a 911 call found that the home had rented four trucks to hold about 50 corpses, according to a law enforcement official. No criminal charges were brought and the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home was cited for failing to control the odors. The home was able to obtain a larger, refrigerated truck later in the day, the official said. Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 29 9:53 p.m. — Drug proves effective against virus as economic damage rises | Scientists have announced the first effective treatment against the coronavirus — an experimental drug that can speed the recovery of COVID-19 patients — in a major medical advance that comes as the economic gloom caused by the scourge deepens in the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. government says it is working to make the medication available to patients as quickly as possible. Read more here.

APRIL 29 8:53 p.m. — President Donald Trump said Wednesday the federal government’s coronavirus social distancing guidelines will be “fading out” when they expire Thursday, counting on states taking charge as they pivot to reopening.

The administration says the cautionary guidance issued 45 days ago has been incorporated into recommendations given to the states on how they can begin gradually easing restrictions and reopening their economies. Read more here.

APRIL 29 8:13 p.m. — The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which oversees the state’s prison system, reports its latest COVID-19 positives:

381 employees, staff or contractors1,050 prisoners

Five employees and 12 prisoners have died as a result of the virus.

Forty-six employees and 156 prisoners have recovered.

APRIL 29 6:26 p.m. — Galveston beaches will reopen Friday while still encouraging social distancing among beachgoers who aren’t from the same household. All beaches will be open seven days a week under normal hours. Beaches were closed back on March 17 due to COVID-19.

APRIL 29 5:25 p.m. — University of St. Thomas Houston will reopen its campus in the fall for onsite classes.

UST President Richard Ludwick said safety will be the top priority and they are preparing for every contingency.

“Our faculty, staff and students have risen to the challenge of online delivery through the summer, but now we’re looking forward to getting our community back together on campus,” Ludwick said. “This pandemic has been especially hard on our students.”

Ludwick said students who don’t feel ready to return to the classroom will be accommodated.

UST will also begin offering free tuition for three new associate degree programs for the fall semester, designed to help those in hard hit sectors in Houston develop skills in thriving career fields, Ludwick said.

Read older COVID-19 updates here

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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