Roundup: Find March 23-27 coronavirus updates for the Katy area here

Here are what local institutions are doing about the coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Here are what local institutions are doing about the coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Here are what local institutions are doing about the coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)




Looking for March 30-April 3 updates? Find them here.

Find the latest list of Katy-area businesses open or closed here. Community Impact Newspaper has also complied a guide about the coronavirus testing sites.




Update 5:21 p.m., March 27







City of Katy

Most city of Katy parks remain open, but they now have new access restrictions. Learn more here.

Republic Services, the city’s garbage contractor, has temporarily suspended bulk garbage pickup on the city of Katy’s designated “Heavy Trash” days beginning March 20 in response to the coronavirus, per a March 27 Facebook post.

“This action is necessary due to a 30% increase of garbage volume while families are staying home to prevent COVID-19 spread,” the post reads. “This increased volume per set-out is causing trucks to fill faster, which slows service. Additionally, Republic Services is experiencing a diminished work force.”

Find more information here.

Katy ISD

The district served 123,286 free meals to children between March 23-27, per a Facebook post.

The board of trustees will meet for its regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. March 30. The board will discuss and consider taking action to postpone its local May elections.

Fort Bend County

The Fort Bend County Health and Human Services department announced the first coronavirus-related death in Fort Bend County March 27.

The resident, who died March 25, was a woman in her 70s with significant pre-existing medical conditions, according to a release from the county. She was hospitalized briefly prior to passing away and her physicians agree the coronavirus was a contributory factor in her death. The department received test results today confirming the woman as a COVID-19 case, the release stated.

Waller County

Waller County Judge Trey Duhon announced the county’s first case of the coronavirus March 27 at Prairie View A&M, which confirmed an employee had received a positive test for COVID-19.

However, Duhon stressed that as of 2:47 p.m., the Department of State Health Services has not received a report of the case yet. This mean although the test has been reported as positive, the case is not yet confirmed.






Update 6:18 p.m. March 26






  • Fort Bend County reports 86 positive cases as of 4 p.m. March 26.



  • Harris County reports 135 positive cases, including one death, outside the city of Houston as of 3 p.m. March 26.



  • Waller County reports zero cases as of 4:53 p.m.






Katy area

Learn how Houston Methodist West Hospital, Memorial Hermann Health System and Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus planned ahead for the coronavirus and are changing procedures to prepare for surge in cases in this story.

City of Katy

Katy City Hall will be closed to the public beginning March 27, per a press release. City staff will continue to work out of the facility, but public access is limited.

All city business should be conducted via online, email or phone—though some exceptions do apply.

Fort Bend County

OakBend Medical Group and Fort Bend county have provided additional information about the coronavirus testing site, which is a drive-thru site located in Sugar Land. Patients cannot receive a test without going through a screening process. Call 281-238-7870 to begin this process.

The testing site is privately operated by OakBend Medical Group, and the test is not free. The county is working to open additional testing sites.






Update 8:51 a.m. March 26






  • Fort Bend County reports 54 positive cases as of 4 p.m., March 25



  • Harris County reports 119 positive cases, including one death, outside the city of Houston as of 3 p.m. March 25



  • Waller County reports zero cases as of 11:30 a.m., March 25






Fort Bend County

OakBend Medical Group opened a testing site 8 a.m. March 26. An exact location was not provided, but it is Fort Bend County’s first testing site, per a press release.

Greater Houston area

United Way of Greater Houston and Greater Houston Community Foundation launched the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund to those in need. If you are in need of assistance, call the 211 Texas/United Way Helpline, which is open 24/7.



Update 5:23 p.m., March 25






  • Fort Bend County reports 54 positive cases as of 4 p.m., March 25



  • Harris County reports 119 positive cases, including one death, outside the city of Houston as of 3 p.m. March 25



  • Waller County reports zero cases as of 11:30 a.m., March 25






City of Katy

The city issued a reminder on Facebook that trash cannot be discarded in recycling bins.

"We understand that due to the current situation, residents are going to have more trash to dispose of," the post reads. "The city of Katy wants to be able to continue our recycling services for our residents, but we will be forced to stop if our contamination rate is too high."

Residents can obtain an additional bin by filling out a form available here.

City of Fulshear

At a March 24 meting, Fulshear City Council voted to extend its declaration of local disaster for public health emergency through April 23.

Harris County

Community Impact Newspaper has complied a Q&A to help residents understand the stay-at-home order that went into effect today.

Waller County

Commissioners Court voted to extended its emergency declaration as well as issued an order similar to the "Stay Home to Save Lives" orders issued by Fort Bend and Harris counties. However, Waller County’s order does not shut down local businesses and allows nonsocial gatherings of more than 10 people to occur. Learn more about it here.

Fort Bend County

The county has published an online dashboard of the positive cases in Fort Bend County. Check it out here.

State

President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration for the state of Texas, according to a March 25 press release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This action provides federal funding to help the state recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement to thank the president for approving the declaration.

“Texas is aggressively pursuing and implementing all necessary strategies to limit the impact of COVID-19, and I thank President Trump for his swift action to issue a Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Texas,” Abbott said in the statement. “The president’s declaration opens up new sources of funding for individual and public assistance that will help Texas respond to this public health emergency and protect public health and safety.”






Update 10:03 a.m., March 25






  • Fort Bend county reports 46 cases as of 4:30 p.m., March 24



  • Harris County reports 79 cases and one death as of 3 p.m., March 24



  • Waller County reports zero cases as of 9:11 a.m. March 25






City of Katy

Katy residents have reacted to the postponement of the local May election. Some agree with the decision, while others do not. Read the story here.

Mayor Bill Hastings issued a press release March 24 regarding Fort Bend and Harris counties’ Stay Home to Save Lives orders.

“The city of Katy remains fully operational in order to provide essential government functions,” the release states. "Essential government functions include all services provided by local governments, municipalities, and special districts within Harris County and Fort Bend County needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public, including essential critical infrastructure. Nothing in the Orders prohibit any individual from performing or accessing essential government functions.”

Read the full release here.

Harris County

Harris County Commissioners Court approved a motion at its March 24 meeting to extend the county's disaster declaration to April 29. The court also voted to suspend all tolls on Harris County toll roads through April 29.






Update 6:18 p.m. March 24







Fort Bend County

Following Harris County, Fort Bend County Judge KP George announced a "Stay Home to Save Lives" order effective midnight March 24 through April 3. Residents should remain at their home unless absolutely necessary, such as for grocery trips and doctor appointments.

Restaurants may remain open for curbside, takeout and delivery services. Parks will remain open, but the playgrounds are closed.

Additionally, Commissioners Court extended its emergency declaration by another week.

Harris County

The Harris County Animal Shelter is experiencing an increased volume of animals surrendered at the shelter.

“With the current economic situation and as a result of coronavirus ... many people can't afford to care for their pets anymore because they're either out of a job or just can’t afford to take care [of them],” said Eddie Miranda, senior public information officer of Harris County Public Health.






Update 8:30 a.m. March 24







Check out the latest local stories on the coronavirus including how Katy-area entertainment businesses are coping and Bernie's Burger Bus's closure of its Katy location. Find the latest list of businesses open or closed here.

Community Impact Newspaper has also complied a guide about the testing sites.

City of Katy

Katy City Council approved an ordinance to declare a local disaster for public health emergency at the regular March 23 City Council meeting. Additionally, residents will be fined $2,000 if they violate the ordinance, such as with a gathering of 10 or more people.

Council also voted to postpone May 2 elections to Nov. 3. Council has three positions on the ballot: Ward A, Ward B and at large.

Katy ISD

The Katy ISD board of trustees approved two resolutions to help the district operate during the coronavirus and related campus closures at its special March 23 meeting. Learn more about them here.

The board did not discuss postponing the May 2 elections. The board has three positions on the ballot: Position 3, Position 4 and Position 5.

Harris County

Judge Lina Hidalgo announced on Twitter at 8:24 a.m. that she issued a stay home-work safe order for Harris county residents. It is effective at midnight, March 24.







All testing sites are open to those who have been screened, given a specific code and instructed to go to a specific testing site.

Neither Harris County nor KISD publicly confirmed the drive-thru testing site at Legacy Stadium was open to ensure that only patients who have completed the screening will come to the testing site though residents are reporting it is open on Facebook.

Anyone in the region, including those in Harris, Fort Bend and Waller counties, may access the testing sites if approved by the screening process. To start the screening process go here: https://covcheck.hctx.net/.

Additionally, Harris County primary election runoffs have been postponed from May 26 to July, per a March 23 press release.

Commissioners Court will meet at 10 a.m. March 24 for its regular meeting. The livestream can be viewed here.

Fort Bend County

Commissioners Court will meet at 1 p.m. The agenda includes an item to discuss and take action to extend the declaration of local disaster for public health emergency. Another item on the agenda will allow the court to discuss and take action in response to the impact of the coronavirus. No other details were provided. The livestream can be viewed here.



Update 9:08 a.m. March 23




Fort Bend County reports as of March 21 a total of 29 positive confirmed cases. Harris County outside of the city of Houston reports a total of 51 positive cases as of 3 p.m. March 22. Waller County reports zero cases as of 4 p.m. March 22.

City of Katy

Katy City Council plans to vote on the following agenda items at its 6:30 p.m. regular meeting conducted via teleconference:


  • ordinance declaring a public health emergency related to the coronavirus as well as fining offenders who do not follow the order $2,000 for each offense; and



  • ordinance to postpone the May 2 local elections to Nov. 3. Katy City Council has three positions on the ballot: Ward A, Ward B and at large.






Residents can attend this meeting by calling 877-391-0239 and dialing 30# when prompted for a participant ID. Council Member Janet Corte said on Facebook that the meeting will be livestreamed on Facebook, but did not provide additional details.

Katy ISD

Katy ISD began online instruction and its second week of free meals to children at select campuses March 23.

“I understand that there is anxiety out there among our families as well as our teachers and staff as we adapt to this current situation,” Superintendent Ken Gregorski said in a March 23 video accessible on Facebook. “We trust our incredible educators, administrators and support staff to deliver for our students. And it's just as important for that trust to extend across all levels of our school community as we work through the challenges we're experiencing and seeing across the country.”

A special meeting of the board of trustees will be held at 5:30 p.m. where the board will consider and adopt resolutions related to business and teaching operations during the coronavirus outbreak. Residents can attend this meeting by watching online here.

Waller County

According to Waller County Election's Facebook page, it will postpone its primary runoff election date to July 14.

State

Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference March 22 in which he signed two executive orders, according to Waller County Judge Trey Duhon’s March 22 Facebook post.

These orders lift restrictions to increase the number of nurses, increase the capacity of coronavirus patients at hospitals, and postpone nonessential surgical and medical procedures.

Additionally, the governor formed a task force—which includes former state. Rep. John Zerwas—to find ways to assist health care providers during this coronavirus emergency.

Looking for March 16-20 updates about the coronavirus? Find them here.
By Jen Para
Jen joined Community Impact Newspaper in fall 2018 as the editor of the Katy edition. She covers education, transportation, local government, business and development in the Katy area.


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