May 2020

Updates - May 16, 2020

Houston Health Department and partners to offer more than a dozen free COVID-19 test sites week of May 18

Houstonians will continue to benefit from easier access to free COVID-19 tests as the Houston Health Department and its partner agencies offer 13 testing sites across the city the week of May 18, focusing on vulnerable communities.  Read the News Release

Updates - May 14, 2020

Mayor Turner receives COVID-19 test results; encourages all Houstonians to get tested

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced today that he tested negative for COVID-19.  Read the News Release

HealthScope, is now available. Read the Newsletter

Updates - May 13, 2020

Houston HealthScope: COVID-19 Special Edition 16

The latest issue of the Houston Health Department newsletter, Houston HealthScope, is now available. Read the Newsletter

Houston Health Department hosting virtual job fairs to expand COVID-19 workforce

The Houston Health Department will host two virtual job fairs this week to increase its workforce to monitor and contain COVID-19.  Read the News Release

Updates - May 11, 2020

Mayor Turner’s statement on Council Member Plummer testing positive for COVID-19

Please attribute the following statement to Mayor Sylvester Turner.  Read the Statement

Houston HealthScope: COVID-19 Special Edition 15

The latest issue of the Houston Health Department newsletter, Houston HealthScope, is now available. Read the Newsletter

Updates - May 10, 2020

Houston Health Department, partner agencies to set up COVID-19 test sites in four new vulnerable communities

Four vulnerable Houston communities will benefit from easier access to free COVID-19 tests as the Houston Health Department and its agency partners set up new testing sites for this week.  Read the News Release

Updates - May 8, 2020

Houston’s Resilience Office Joins Global Coalition: Cities for a Resilient Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Houston, like other urban communities around the world, is experiencing the dramatic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Read the News Release

Help the Houston Health Department understand the mental health impact of COVID-19

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.

Help the Houston Health Department understand how the COVID-19 situation affects your mental well-being.

Please complete the brief COVID-19 Mental Distress Survey now.

Updates - May 7, 2020

Houston’s COVID-19 response focuses on access and equity, contact tracing

Access and equity are the focus of the Houston Health Department’s COVID-19 testing strategy moving forward, Mayor Sylvester Turner and COVID-19 Recovery Czar Marvin Odum announced Thursday. The health department will also significantly increase its contact tracing workforce to monitor and contain disease.  Ready the News Release

Updates - May 6, 2020

Mayor Turner announces citywide celebration for 2020 high school seniors

Houston Celebrates H.S. Seniors 2020 will take place at each of the school districts’ high schools and will feature special guests, celebrity appearances, and other surprise moments. The mayor and superintendents will work together to create a collective, but personal celebration that salutes the achievement of all graduates and reflects the unity of the city.

Read the News Release

Houston City Council approves Mayor Turner’s proposed rental relief program

Today, the Houston City Council approved a $15 million rent relief fund to help Houstonians make their payments amidst the COVID-19 public health crisis.  Read the News Release

Updates - May 5, 2020

Houston HealthScope: COVID-19 Special Edition 14

The latest issue of the Houston Health Department newsletter, Houston HealthScope, is now available. Read the Newsletter

Office of Business Opportunity collaborates with law firms to provide free legal advice to small businesses

Small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic now have a resource for free legal advice, thanks to the Houston Small Business Legal Consultations (HSBLC) Program in collaboration with the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO), Vinson & Elkins (V&E) and several private law firms.  Read the News Release

Updates - May 4, 2020

Houston Health Department expands, relocates COVID-19 testing sites

The Houston Health Department continues targeting free COVID-19 testing to vulnerable communities. This week, the health department and partner organizations expand and relocate some of Houston’s testing sites.  Read the News Release

Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy supports access to adult literacy resources during COVID-19 crisis

During this challenging time with COVID-19, many of the most vulnerable in our community may be experiencing profound and significant changes in their lives due to loss of jobs and income because of the economic downturn. A time of uncertainty is when some Houstonians need adult literacy resources and support more than ever.  Read the News Release

Updates - May 3, 2020

City partners with organizations to provide support, create COVID-19 hotline and testing program for homeless population

Mayor Sylvester Turner joined with representatives from several local organizations recently to provide details on how the city’s homeless population is being helped during the COVID-19 public health crisis.  Read the News Release

April 2020

Updates - April 30, 2020

Mayor Turner and the City’s COVID-19 Recovery Czar Encourage Houstonians to Use Caution as Businesses Reopen

As retailers and restaurants, along with other businesses prepare to reopen, Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City’s COVID-19 Recovery Czar, Marvin Odum, on Thursday encouraged Houstonians to practice caution before returning to a normal routine.  Read the News Release

Updates - April 28, 2020

Houston HealthScope: COVID-19 Special Edition 13

The latest issue of the Houston Health Department newsletter, Houston HealthScope, is now available. Read the Newsletter

Updates - April 27, 2020

Houston Health Department expanding COVID-19 testing to vulnerable communities

The Houston Health Department is bringing COVID-19 testing to vulnerable communities through new mobile testing and partnerships with community organizations.  Read the News Release

Updates - April 24, 2020

Mayor Turner joins local celebrities to launch the Mask Up! campaign and announce mask distribution sites 

Mayor Sylvester Turner this week announced MASK UP!, a grassroots public health information campaign to encourage Houstonians to safeguard themselves from potential exposure to COVID-19.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department expanding nursing home COVID-19 outreach

The Houston Health Department is expanding its efforts to protect nursing homes, assisted living centers and similar facilities against COVID-19.  Read the News Release

 

Updates - April 22, 2020

Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities launches food access program

In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities has launched a food access program for people with disabilities. This program will deliver shelf-stable goods, fresh produce, as well as some basic home necessities for people with disabilities who are finding it difficult to independently secure these items.  Read the News Release

Mayor Turner launches domestic violence awareness campaign

Mayor Sylvester Turner and Council Member Abbie Kamin announced a city-wide domestic violence awareness initiative to reach vulnerable populations and provide resources for victims. Local law enforcement and the Houston Area Women’s Center are tracking a rise in domestic violence incidents linked to the crisis.  Read the News Release

Updates - April 21, 2020

Mayor Sylvester Turner names Marvin Odum the City of Houston’s COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Czar

Mayor Sylvester Turner on Monday named former Shell Oil Co. Chairman and President Marvin E. Odum as the city’s COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Czar. Read the News Release

Updates - April 17, 2020

Mayor Sylvester Turner to close parking lots at some city parks this weekend

To help control overcrowding at City parks this weekend, Mayor Sylvester Turner will limit access to parking lots adjacent to parks.  Read the News Release

Updates - April 16, 2020

Mayor Turner launches campaign to support local restaurants

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the City of Houston is partnering with the Houston and Texas Restaurant Associations to encourage Houstonians to support local restaurants.  Read the News Release

Updates - April 13, 2020

Houston Health Department expands COVID-19 test sites to anyone wanting to get tested

The Houston Health Department’s two COVID-19 drive-thru sites will broaden testing to anyone wanting to get a test and double their daily testing capacity to 1,000 on Tuesday.  Read the News Release

Houston HealthScope Special Edition 11 – April 13, 2020

The latest COVID-19 special edition of the Houston Health Department newsletter is now available. Read the Newsletter

Updates - April 6, 2020

Mayor Turner announces new resource to help essential workers find childcare

In response to the challenge of essential workers finding child care, the Mayor’s Office, including the Mayor’s Office of Education and the Mayor’s Office of Resilience, partnered with the Houston Endowment and the Harris County Judge’s office to develop a child care solution during this COVID-19 pandemic. Read the News Release

Updates - April 9, 2020

Houston city parks to close for Easter weekend to help slow the spread of COVID-19

Mayor Sylvester Turner has announced the closure of all Houston Parks and Recreation Department parks and trails for the Easter holiday weekend.  The closures begin on Thursday, April 9th at sundown.  Read the News Release

Updates - April 4, 2020

Updates- April 4, 2020

Houston HealthScope COVID-19 Special Edition 10

The latest issue of the Houston Health Department newsletter, Houston HealthScope, is available. Read the Newsletter

Updates - April 3, 2020

CDC now recommends using cloth face coverings, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Learn More 

Houston, Harris County combine COVID-19 data

Houston and Harris County COVID-19 data is now combined to give people a full visual overview of what’s happening in the entire county, including the city of Houston. The dashboard is available at HoustonEmergency.org/covid19.

City partners with Cheniere Energy, the Astros Foundation and Project C.U.R.E. on personal protection equipment donation drive

Mayor Sylvester Turner, in partnership with Cheniere Energy, the Astros Foundation, and Project C.U.R.E. announced a donation drive to collect personal protection equipment (PPE)  in support of first responders and municipal employees working in essential functions.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department confirms two new COVID-19 deaths, 81 new cases

The Houston Health Department reported two additional COVID-19 deaths Friday, bringing Houston’s total to 8. The department also also announced 81 new COVID-19 cases, bringing Houston’s total to 587. To date, 45 of the Houston cases have recovered.  Read the News Release

Updates - April 2, 2020

Houston Health Department confirms two new COVID-19 deaths, 48 new cases

The Houston Health Department reported Thursday two new COVID-19 deaths. A total of six people, all older adults with underlying health conditions, have died in Houston. The department also announced 48 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 506.  Read the News Release 

Updates - April 1, 2020

Houston Health Department reports 81 new COVID-19 cases

The Houston Health Department reported 81 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases Wednesday, bringing Houston’s total to 458. The number of Houston deaths remains at four.  Read the News Release

March 2020

Updates - March 31, 2020

Mayor Sylvester Turner supports extension of Harris County’s Stay Home, Work Safe Order and announces the opening of second City of Houston COVID-19 testing site on Wednesday, April 1

Mayor Sylvester Turner, standing alongside Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, announced the Harris County Stay Home, Work Safe order set to expire on Friday, April 3, is now extended through April 30, 2020.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department to open second COVID-19 drive-thru site

The Houston Health Department will double its daily COVID-19 testing capacity when it opens its second community drive-thru test site for people with symptoms on Wednesday.  Read the News Release 

Houston Health Department confirms Houston’s fourth COVID-19 death, 68 new cases

The Houston Health Department reported Houston’s fourth coronavirus (COVID-19) death Tuesday. The department also announced 68 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the city’s total to 377.  Read the News Release 

Updates - March 30, 2020

Houston Health Department reports additional COVID-19 death, 23 new cases

The Houston Health Department reported 23 new COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the city’s total to 309. The department also reported a new COVID-19 death, bringing Houston’s total deaths to three.  Read the News Release

Updates - March 29, 2020

Houston Health Department announces 54 new COVID-19 cases

The Houston Health Department announced 54 new positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on Sunday, bringing the city’s total to 286. Houston’s COVID-19 deaths remain at two as no new deaths were reported Sunday.  Read the News Release 

Updates - March 28, 2020

Houston Health Department confirms Houston’s second COVID-19 death; 163 new case reports

The Houston Health Department reported Saturday the second coronavirus (COVID-19) death in Houston. The department also announced 163 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 232. The jump in cases is a result of a batch of reports received by the department from area medical providers.  Read the News Release

Updates - March 27, 2020

Houston Health Department reports COVID-19 cases total 69

Houston’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases total 69 after the recording of the city’s first death from the illness, the Houston Health Department reported Friday.  Read the News Release

Updates - March 26, 2020

Houston Health Department reports Houston’s first COVID-19 death

The Houston Health Department reported Thursday the first coronavirus (COVID-19) death in Houston. The resident was a woman with several underlying health conditions in the 60 to 70 age range. She died at a local hospital Tuesday, March 24. The department received test results today confirming the woman as a COVID-19 case.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department reports two new COVID-19 cases

The Houston Health Department announced two new positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on Thursday, bringing the city’s total to 68.  Read the News Release

New information on HPARD curbside meal distribution program 

In the wake of the Houston Independent School District’s decision to shut down its food distribution program, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department is clarifying how our Curbside Meal Program for Youth operates.   Read the News Release

Mayor Sylvester Turner thanks local businessman for donating hand sanitizer to the City of Houston

Mayor Sylvester Turner today accepted 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer generously donated by prominent Houston businessman Dr. Farouk Shami, Founder and Chairman of Farouk Systems, Inc.  Read the News Release

Updates - March 25, 2020

Houston Health Department reports 11 new COVID-19 cases

The Houston Health Department announced 11 new positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 66.  Read the News Release

City of Houston Municipal Courts suspend all trials (jury and judge), jury duty, arraignments, hearings, and parking adjudication hearings to promote safe distancing in response to COVID-19

In an effort to continue to encourage the health and safety of the public and court staff members from the spread of the COVID-19, the City of Houston Municipal Courts Department has suspended ALL JURY AND JUDGE TRIALS, JURY DUTY, ARRAIGNMENTS AND PARKING ADJUDICATION HEARINGS through Friday, May 1, 2020. The Court remains open for all other proceedings. Read the News Release 

Updates - March 24, 2020

Mayor Turner asks Houstonians to follow “Stay Home, Work Safe” order

Mayor Sylvester Turner joined Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and local health officials Tuesday to announce details of a Stay Home, Work Safe” Order issued by Harris County that requires individuals to remain at home or a place of residence, with exceptions for essential work and activities.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department reports 31 new COVID-19 cases

The Houston Health Department announced 31 new positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on Tuesday, bringing the total to 55. The one-day spike is a result of a batch of reports received by the department from commercial laboratories.  Read the News Release

Updates - March 23, 2020

Mayor Turner accepts donation of $42,000 in medical supplies from Asian American Chamber of Commerce to help with city’s COVID-19 response

The Asian American Chamber of Commerce donated Monday over $42,000 in medical supplies t the City of Houston following our urgent calls for personal protective equipment.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department reports two COVID-19 recoveries and one new case

The Houston Health Department announced Monday the first COVID-19 recoveries in the city. A man and woman in the 60-70 age range, the city’s first two COVID-19 cases, are considered recovered from the disease after each tested negative twice more than 24 hours apart.

The health department also announced a new positive COVID-19 case, bringing the city’s total to 24. The case, a female in the 20 to 30 age range, has no known travel history. She is recovering at home.  Read the News Release

New guidelines for Houston City Council meetings

As the City of Houston and local health professionals work to blunt the progression of COVID-19, Mayor Sylvester Turner has implemented new guidelines for Houston City Council meetings to comply with social distancing requirements.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department providing core services with temporary modifications

To help contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Houston Health Department modified some services to protect the health and well-being of the community.   Read the News Release

HPARD to begin curbside meal distribution program for youth at 47 community centers

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department will begin a Curbside Meal Program for Youth, ages 1 to 18, beginning on Monday, March 23rd. The Curbside Meal distribution of a snack and lunch will take place Monday-Friday from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. On Monday, March 23rd, a total of 50 meals will be available at each site. This may increase to up to 200 per site based on participation.  Learn More

Updates - March 22, 2020

Hundreds tested for COVID-19 during first days of Houston’s community-based testing site; services continue for high-risk symptomatic people

More than 500 high-risk symptomatic people were tested for COVID-19 at Houston’s first community based testing site during its first three days of operation. The free drive-thru site was launched by the Houston Health Department and local medical community on Friday, March 20.

Services will continue Monday, March 23 for symptomatic medical professionals, first reponders, people 65 and older, and people of any age with chronic illnesses. Cough, difficulty breathing, and fever are the common COVID-19 symptoms.

People meeting the criteria can continue to call the Houston Health Department’s COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to get screened. They will receive a unique identification code and instructions on where to go for testing.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department reports new COVID-19 case

The Houston Health Department announced a new positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case on Sunday, bringing the city’s total to 23.

The case, a male in the 30 to 40 age range recently traveled to Idaho. He is recovering at home.  Read the News Release

City of Houston currently providing quarantine accommodations for four firefighters

The City of Houston has secured safe and secure accommodations for four Houston firefighters who were exposed to COVID-19 and were not able to quarantine at home.  Read the News Release 

Updates - March 21, 2020

Houston’s COVID-19 site broadens testing to symptomatic people with chronic illnesses

Houston’s first free COVID-19 drive-thru testing site will broaden services to people of any age with chronic illnesses on Sunday, March 22.

People with chronic illnesses experiencing cough, difficulty breathing and fever, the common COVID-19 symptoms, can call the Houston Health Department’s COVID-19 call center at 832-393-4220 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to get screened. They will receive a unique identification code and instructions on where to go for testing.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department reports three new COVID-19 cases

The Houston Health Department reported three new positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID -19) cases Saturday, bringing the city’s total to 22.  Read the News Release

Updates - March 19, 2020

Governor Abbott Issues Executive Orders In Accordance With Federal Guidelines To Mitigate Spread Of COVID-19 In Texas

Governor Greg Abbott today announced a series of Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation. The four orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department announces new COVID-19 case

The Houston Health Department announced a new positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case on Thursday, bringing the city’s total to 11.

The case, a female in the 50-60 age range, is hospitalized. She has no known travel or exposure history.  Read the News Release 

Updates - March 18, 2020

Update- March 18, 2020

Mayor Turner seeks federal support for the restaurant, bar and nightclub industry

While the City of Houston works to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Sylvester Turner urges federal leaders to assist restaurant, bar, and nightclub owners and employees who may be devastated by a loss in business.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department announces five new COVID-19 cases

The Houston Health Department announced five new positive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID -19) cases on Wednesday, bringing the city’s total to 10.   Read the News Release

SBA disaster recovery assistance- informational webinars

The SBA Houston District Office provides information to help small businesses with their economic recovery from the effects of Coronavirus. SBA offers information on how to apply and where you can get additional help with preparing and applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan.  Learn More

Updates - March 17, 2020

Rumors of health department testing sites opening March 18 are FALSE

The Houston Health Department is working with community partners to establish COVID-19 testing sites. Details will be announced when finalized.

Despite reports, the sites are NOT scheduled to open on March 18. Please DO NOT show up to a location you may have heard is a testing site. You will not be tested, and your presence could unintentionally put others at risk, cause delays, and interrupt the healthcare professionals who are working expeditiously to open the sites.

People currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms need to contact their medical provider.

Houston Public Library extends suspension of onsite service through March 2020

All Houston Public Library locations will be closed through the end of the month in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The closures come in response to directives from Mayor Sylvester Turner as well as Harris County and federal guidelines.  Read the News Release 

City extends Emergency Disaster Declaration; Mayor Turner cancels city events through April and announces new public meeting guidelines

In a special called meeting Tuesday morning, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston City Council members voted to indefinitely extend the proclamation of a local state of disaster due to a public health disaster for the City of Houston.  Read the News Release

Updates - March 16, 2020

Mayor Turner announces changes to operating procedures for city of Houston bars, nightclubs and restaurants; Houston Health Department broadens COVID-19 social distancing guidance for all Houstonians

Mayor Sylvester Turner joined Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and local health officials Monday afternoon to announce new measures to help contain and mitigate COVID-19.

Mayor Turner and Judge Hidalgo ordered bars and nightclubs to close and food-service establishments to stop in-service dining for 15 days, effective at 8 a.m. on March 17, 2020.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department closing birth and death record office to public until further notice due to COVID-19

The Houston Health Department will close its Bureau of Vital Statistics (birth and death records) office to the public until further notice, effective March 17, 2020. The closure is a measure to help contain and mitigate COVID-19 spread.  Read the News Release  

Houston Public Library temporarily suspends service to implement COVID-19 procedures

Houston Public Library has suspended service at all locations until further notice. This suspension also includes all public programs and events.  Read the News Release 

Updates - March 15, 2020

Library Closures – All Neighborhood Libraries and Special Collections

Houston Public Library temporarily suspends service to implement COVID-19 procedures.  Read the News Release

Mayor Turner joins Gallery Furniture’s Mattress Mack to assist vulnerable communities 

Mayor Sylvester Turner joined Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee today to announce a donation drive to assist Houston’s most vulnerable populations during the city’s response to COVID-19.  Read the News Release

City of Houston Municipal Courts – No jury trials and no jury duty

In an effort to continue to encourage the health and safety of the public and court staff members from the spread of the COVID-19, the City of Houston Municipal Courts Department has suspended all  jury trials and jury duty during the period of Monday, March 16, 2020 through Tuesday, March 31, 2020.  Read the News Release 

Updates - March 14, 2020

Houston Health Department reports Houston’s fifth COVID-19 case

The Houston Health Department reported Houston’s fifth case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID -19) on Saturday.

The new presumptive positive case is a man in the 50 to 60 age range with a history of international travel. He is hospitalized but in good condition.  Read the News Release 

Updates - March 13, 2020

Houston Health Department reports Houston’s fourth COVID-19 case

The Houston Health Department announced Friday a new presumptive positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Houston, bringing the city’s case total to four.

The case, a female in the 70 to 80 age range, is currently experiencing mild symptoms and quarantined at home. She recently traveled to Egypt.  Read the News Release

Mayor Turner hosts conference call for Houston faith leaders

During a conference call Friday morning  with Houston faith leaders, Mayor Turner provided a list of recommendations for those who had questions about holding regularly scheduled religious services over the weekend.  Read the News Release 

Updates - March 12, 2020

Mayor Turner addresses false COVID-19 information on social media

At a news conference Thursday to update the public on the city of Houston’s response to containing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Sylvester Turner also addressed false information that some are sharing on social media.  Read the News Release

Updates - March 10, 2020

Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health, Fort Bend Health & Human Services joint statement

The Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health, and Fort Bend County Health & Human Services only identify locations related to infectious disease investigations when there is a public health risk associated with a location. This is true not only of our COVID-19 investigations, but the 115,000+ disease investigations our department conduct annually.

Currently, there are no general public health risks associated with locations affiliated with our region’s current COVID-19 cases.

Based on CDC guidelines, simply being in the same building or indoor environment as a COVID-19 patient is not a risk. As such, passing by someone in an airport or other location does not represent a risk. People seated within six feet of an infected person on an aircraft are identified by the airlines and CDC and notified by their local health department. If an airline passenger has not been notified, they were not seated within six feet of an infected plane passenger and are not considered to be at risk.

Public health departments routinely conduct contact investigations to identify people who are potentially at risk and contact them directly, as a standard infectious disease procedure. Public health actions are guided by science, based on duration and distance of potential exposure.

While patient privacy is a reason for this standard practice, it is not the sole reason. Publicly identifying a location without an immediate risk (as per CDC guidelines) can create unnecessary, often confused, alarmed public reaction. Confusion and panic can be damaging to facts, dangerous, and difficult to reverse. Furthermore, managing confusion or panic takes vital public health resources away from identifying and monitoring people who are actually at risk.

We will continue to let science, not fear, drive our public health decisions. It’s the best way to keep the public informed with factual information.

Dr. David Persse’s invited testimony to Texas House of Representatives Committee on Public Health

Dr. David Persse, Houston’s local health authority, provided invited testimony to Texas House of Representatives Committee on Public Health regarding our COVID-19 response activities. Read the Testimony

Updates - March 11, 2020

Houston Health Department reports Houston’s third COVID-19 case

UPDATE: On Wednesday night, the Houston Health Department reported the city’s third positive COVID-19 case.

The case, a female in the 15 to 25 age range, is experiencing mild symptoms and self-quarantined. The case is travel-related through direct contact with a known case in New York state and there is no evidence of local community spread. Read the News Release

Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo declare public health emergency due to COVID-19

Mayor Sylvester Turner today signed a proclamation declaring a Local State of Disaster Due to a Public Health Emergency to help contain and mitigate COVID-19 from spreading. As a result of the emergency order, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo will close down immediately and city-sponsored, produced and permitted events will be postponed or cancelled through the end of March.  Read the News Release

What you need to know about COVID-19 community spread

The Houston Health Department is taking proactive steps to protect the health of our community by making recommendations that are meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and reduce the number of people infected. English | Español | አማርኛ | عربى |  ဗမာ | 中文 | دری | فارسی | Français | پښتو | Kiswahili | ትግርኛ | Tiếng Việt 

Updates - March 9, 2020

Houston Health Department sets up COVID-19 call center for Houstonians

The Houston Health Department is operating a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call center for Houston residents needing more information COVID-19.

Houstonians can call the center at 832-393-4220 to speak to department staff and obtain information about the disease or get their questions answered.

The call center will open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Read the News Release

Updates - March 8, 2020

Statement on Senator Cruz’s self quarantine 

As Senator Cruz announced Sunday night, he decided to self-quarantine after being notified a person he briefly interacted with at a conference more than a week ago has since tested positive for COVID-19. Given the interaction was ten days ago, that the average incubation period is 5-6 days, that the interaction was less than a minute and that Senator Cruz is experiencing no symptoms, the likelihood of transmission to Senator Cruz is extremely low.

As such, the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public want to assure people  who met and shook hands with Senator Cruz at an event in Houston on Saturday that they are not at increased risk and do not need to take any action. Senator Cruz’s decision to self-quarantine was a decision he made out abundance of caution.

Local health departments ask passengers of Egypt Nile River cruise to self-quarantine, contact local health department

The Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health and Fort Bend County Health and Human Services ask any local residents who recently traveled to Egypt and took a Nile River cruise to immediately self-quarantine for 14 days and contact their local health department.

On March 5, 2020 the M.S. A’sara cruise traveling to and from Aswan, Egypt was quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure. Local health departments are seeking M.S. A’sara passengers from the Greater Houston area who traveled on the cruise line from February 12 to March 5, 2020 because they may have been exposed to COVID-19.  Read the News Release 

Updates - March 7, 2020

Mayor Turner’s update on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) for Saturday, March 7

“I know Houstonans are concerned about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), especially with the recent positive cases identified in our area. It’s important to note that all cases in our area thus far are linked by international travel and there is no evidence of community spread. For the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 remains low.

“While I understand the concern expressed by some, based on the current situation, public health experts indicate there is no need for the general public to avoid large gatherings in Houston. This is true of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which has taken extra measures to help ensure the health and well-being of its attendees….”  Read Mayor Turner’s Full Statement

Updates - March 6, 2020

Houston Health Department reports city’s second case of coronavirus disease 2019

The Houston Health Department reports the second case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the city of Houston. The new case is travel-related and there is no evidence of community spread.

The female patient, in the 60 to 70 age range, is part of the same group of travelers to Egypt associated with recent cases announced in Fort Bend County and Harris County. She is currently hospitalized and stable. Read the News Release

Updates - March 5, 2020

Houston Health Department report’s city’s first presumptive positive case of coronavirus disease 2019

The Houston Health Department announced today the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the city of Houston. The case is a male in the 60 to 70 age range with a history of international travel.

The man is experiencing mild symptoms and is self-quarantine at home. He is part of the same group of travelers to Egypt associated with recent cases announced in Fort Bend County and Harris County. There is no evidence of community spread. Read the News Release 

What you need to know about COVID-19 in the Houston area

Although COVID-19 has reached the Houston area, there is currently no evidence of community spread. English FAQs | Spanish FAQs  | Vietnamese FAQs | Chinese FAQs

Harris County reports first two cases of COVID-19

Harris County Public Health is reporting its first two confirmed cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Harris County. The tests have been verified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A man and a woman from the unincorporated area of northwest Harris County, outside the city of Houston, tested positive for COVID-19. These cases are travel-related and, at this time, there is no evidence of community spread.  Read the News Release

Updates - March 4, 2020

What you need to know about the Fort Bend County COVID-19 case

Houstonians should go about their daily lives, but take certain precautions. Read More

Mayor Turner’s statement on presumptive positive COVID-19 case in Fort Bend County

“I know many Houstonians may feel anxious after learning of the presumptive positive COVID-19 Fort Bend County resident. I want to assure everyone that the city of Houston Health Department  is closely monitoring the developments and collaborating with regional, state and federal health authorities.”  Read Mayor Turner’s Statement 

Texas Department of State Health Services announces travel-related COVID-19 case in Fort Bend County

The Texas Department of State Health Services and Fort Bend County Health and Human Services are reporting the first positive test result for COVID-19 in Texas outside of the passengers returned under federal quarantine from Wuhan City, China or the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The patient is a resident of Fort Bend County who recently returned from travel abroad and is currently isolated in the hospital.  Read the News Release

Houston Health Department laboratory now conducting local COVID-19 testing

The Houston Health Department laboratory is now conducting COVID-19 testing for specimens collected by medical providers from patients who meet CDC COVID-19 testing criteria.

In most cases, COVID-19 results are expected within 24 hours of arrival of specimens to the health department lab, which serves at the regional public health laboratory for a 17-county region of Southeast Texas. Read the News Release 

Updates - March 3, 2020

The Houston Health Department is in regular communication with local organizations and venues regarding precautions to help protect people from respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19. Health department guidance includes ensuring an adequate supply of hand soap and disinfectants, conducting environmental cleaning, providing hand sanitizing stations, placing signage to remind people to practice healthy hygiene habits, and reviewing infectious disease protocols.

The threat of COVID-19 to the general public in Houston remains low and there is currently no need to cancel local events or classes. Accordingly, there is no current need for residents and visitors of Houston to take out-of-the-ordinary precautionary actions against COVID-19.

People should practice routine healthy hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, such as washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home if sick.

The Houston Health Department routinely investigates and contains infectious diseases and is well-prepared to protect the public if a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in our community. Infectious disease investigations include tracing and notifying contacts and implementing control measures, as needed, to contain the spread of disease.

There are currently zero cases of COVID-19 in Houston or Harris County. However, people need to remain vigilant given the rapidly evolving nature of this public health threat and the expectation there will be additional cases in the United States. To stay-up-to-date with the latest recommendations visit HoustonEmergency.org.

Updates - March 1, 2020

Joint statement from Harris County Public Health and Houston Health Department:

A person at Rice University is currently self-quarantined under the guidance of Harris County Public Health as the department conducts an infectious disease investigation.

Public health departments, such as Harris County Public Health and the Houston Health Department,  routinely investigate infectious diseases and take preventative measures, based on CDC guidance, to minimize the spread of disease. Infectious disease investigations may include guidance for potential contacts of a person under investigation to self-quarantine.

There are currently zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city of Houston or Harris County. The Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health report only confirmed cases of infectious diseases and will promptly inform the public if a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in our community.

People should practice healthy hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, such as washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home if sick.

The threat of COVID-19 to Houston and Harris County remains low and there is no need for the public to take additional precautionary actions at this time.

UPDATE 1: There are currently zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Houston or Harris County. If a case is confirmed in our community, the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health will promptly inform the public.

Joint statement from Harris County Public Health and Houston Health Department:

A person at Rice University is currently self-quarantined under the guidance of Harris County Public Health as the department conducts an infectious disease investigation.

Public health departments, such as Harris County Public Health and the Houston Health Department,  routinely investigate infectious diseases and take preventative measures, based on CDC guidance, to minimize the spread of disease. Infectious disease investigations may include guidance for potential contacts of a person under investigation to self-quarantine.

There are currently zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city of Houston or Harris County. The Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health report only confirmed cases of infectious diseases and will promptly inform the public if a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in our community.

People should practice healthy hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, such as washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home if sick.

The threat of COVID-19 to Houston and Harris County remains low and there is no need for the public to take additional precautionary actions at this time.

UPDATE 1: There are currently zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Houston or Harris County. If a case is confirmed in our community, the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health will promptly inform the public.

February 2020

Updates - Feb. 26, 2020

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Houston or Harris County.

Dr. David Persse, Houston’s public health authority, provided an update on the Houston Health Department COVID-19 response during Mayor Turner’s regularly-scheduled post-city council media availability on Feb. 26, 2020.

Updates - Feb. 17, 2020

There are currently no confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Houston or Harris County.

If a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in our community, the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health will promptly inform the public.

Updates - Feb. 11, 2020

There are currently no confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Houston or Harris County.

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19.

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) provide primary care services, even if you don’t have health insurance. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. FQHCs do not deny services due to inability to pay. There are many FQHC locations in the Houston area.

Updates - Feb. 3, 2020

Houston Health Department

There are currently no confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Houston or Harris County.

While 2019 novel coronavirus is an evolving public health threat, based on current information, the risk to our community remains low and there is no need for average Houstonians to take out-of-the-ordinary preventative actions.

“The real viral threat to Houstonians right now is the flu,” said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department. “Every year, there are upwards of 40,000 preventable flu-associated deaths in the United States.”

People can help stop the spread of the flu and other illness by:

  • getting a flu shot;
  • washing hands frequently;
  • avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth;
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • staying home when sick;
  • covering coughs and sneezes;
  • cleaning and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If a case of 2019 novel coronavirus is confirmed in our community, the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health will promptly inform the public.

More information about 2019-nCoV travel advisoriestransmissionprevention and symptoms is available from the Texas Department of State Health Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also offers a list of frequently asked questions.

Houston Airport System

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has directed all flights from China, and all passengers who have traveled to China within the last 14 days, to be routed through one of eleven airports,  which do not include any airports in Houston.  Therefore, CDC has informed Houston Airports that the previously announced enhanced screenings of passengers will not occur at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

CDC officials at Bush Airport routinely conduct screenings of passengers at Bush Airport, which will continue as a part of normal operations. Houston Airports stands ready with federal, state and city of Houston partners to ensure our community is protected. We are closely monitoring the latest developments and will post updates on fly2houston.com and our social media channels. 

January 2020

Updates - Jan. 29, 2020

Mayor Turner joined Houston Health Department Local Health Authority Dr. David Persse and Houston Airport System representatives on Jan. 29 to provide an update on the City of Houston’s response to novel coronavirus.

Updates - Jan. 28, 2020

  • Update 2: RUMOR CONTROL: The Houston Health Department has not taken action to close any business related to novel coronavirus. Additionally, there is no current reason for people to avoid any local business due to concerns about novel coronavirus.
  • Update 1: At this time, there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Houston. As a preventative measure, CDC will expand screenings to 15 additional airports, including George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The City of Houston continues to work closely with CDC as logistics are still being finalized. At this time, Houston is waiting for further guidance on when screenings will begin. The City of Houston continues to stand ready with our partners to ensure our community is protected. We are closely monitoring the latest developments and will post updates here and on our social media platforms, @houstonhealth on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Update 3: There are currently no confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus in Houston or Harris County. The Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health only report confirmed cases of infectious disease and will promptly do so in the event of a confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus.

Update - Jan. 27, 2020

The Houston Health Department, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas Department of State Health Services and other public health officials, continues to monitor an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV) first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

DSHS reports no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Texas at this time. While this is a serious public health threat, based on current information, the risk to the general American public is low.

Prevention

While Wuhan coronavirus is a new respiratory virus, ways to prevent respiratory illness are the same:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Travelers

CDC advises travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to China.

  • Travelers to Hubei Province, China
    • Avoid contact with sick people.
    • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider.
  • Travelers arriving from Hubei Province, China
    • Monitor for fever, cough and difficulty breathing for at least 14 days and seek medical care right away if you experience those symptoms. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
    • Avoid contact with others.
    • Not travel while sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Additional Information