CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

County entities originally had the option to decide, but Election Director Lisa Mujica decided to move all municipal elections to November after considering the increasing number of cases.

“It’s unpredictable at this moment, so we are just playing on the safe side,” Mujica said. “We just didn’t want to be putting the public in jeopardy.”

Primary runoff elections, including the race for the Republican nod for House District 25, will be moved to July 14, Mujica said.

With so much at stake for these elections, Mujica and the elections office wanted to ensure everyone could exercise their right to vote safely, she said.

“Multiple entities had already opted out, so we determined in the best interest of safety to postpone them all,” Mujica said. “We hope the public and the voters understand and we look forward to seeing them in July and November.”

Only 10 of the 25 county entities had proceeded to postpone their elections.

Even if the elections were to happen as originally scheduled, turnouts were in serious doubt, Mujica said.

Freeport orders masks

Freeport’s fire and police chiefs are continuing to serve residents’ needs by supplying medical masks and leaving jails open.

The city ordered 500 masks for response teams and recovering patients and to prevent containment for those in the most contact with the virus, Fire Chief Chris Motley said during a City Council meeting Monday.

“We are assuring our employees with the best personal protective equipment for treating patients and the best protection for the response teams,” Motley said.

Motley encouraged residents to be compliant with the governor and county’s executive orders.

“We need to stay calm, take care of yourself, and be safe,” Motley said. “This isn’t like a hurricane season where we know an end.”

The city’s jail will not be closed, Police Chief Ray Garivey said.

“I want to reiterate that our jail is not closed,” Garivey said. “I’m asking for our wonderful citizens to just work together, but those that are doing harm to others, we will still do our jobs.”

During the Monday meeting, the council extended their disaster declaration indefinitely.

Parks, beaches, and golf courses will remain open, but council meetings will remain closed to the public per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations, City Manager Tim Kelty said.

Richwood extends disaster declaration

Following state, federal and county guidelines, Richwood unanimously decided to extend its disaster declaration for 30 days.

“Let’s follow the guidelines,” Mayor Steve Boykin said during a Monday meeting. “We definitely do need to be staying in.”

The meeting was held via telephone conference to comply with state restrictions on public gatherings.

“We’ve given the public option to dial in if they choose,” City Manager Eric Foerster said.

While city services remain open, there will be a rotating crew, he said.

“We’re going to have staff working 50 percent of the time, with a skeleton crew,” Foerster said. “We’re tracking costs, so far the only costs we just have are just two laptops and printers and we should get FEMA reimbursement for that.”

City Hall is sanitized multiple times a day, he said.

The city anticipates no interruption of residential and commercial garbage services, Boykin said.

That will change if there is a shelter-in-place order, Foerster said.

Community Health Network provides COVID-19 testing

Community Health Network is offering testing for COVID-19 for patients who meet the screening requirements set forth by the CDC guideline, according to a press release.

Screening and testing are offered at Adoue Family Health Center in Alvin, Brazoria County Dream Center in Clute, and Scarsdale Family Health Center in southeast Harris County. Testing done at these sites is only for those who are scheduled and have been prescreened, the press release states.

Insured patients will have their insurance billed with no copay or deductible payment, and uninsured patients that meet CDC testing guidelines won’t be charged for testing.

People who want to be screened can call the network’s health center at 281-824-1480 or send a text to 281-385-8401. To practice social distancing, virtual visits are offered and can be scheduled via phone.

Community Health Network offers medical visits, psychiatric visits, counseling services, and prescriptions mailed out at no additional cost, the press release states.

Sweeny ISD MOVING TO GIVING MEALS IN BULK

Sweeny ISD is cutting back on its daily meal distribution, but students in need are invited to collect three to four days’ worth of breakfast and lunch items.

The program will replace the district’s daily meal schedule, Sweeny ISD Superintendent Tory Hill said. Food will be distributed from 4 to 6 p.m. today at Sweeny Elementary.

“We want to continue to serve our families in any capacity we can,” Hill said. “All students in need will receive meals that they can take with them and refrigerate from home for three to four days.”

The district is working with its food vendor to provide options for a variety of needs and preferences.

“We’re serving four different packs to choose from, for lunch and breakfast,” Sweeny ISD Director of Child Nutrition Tonya Edwards said. “They’re all packaged with allergen information.”

The plan is to make sure students, parents and staff stay safe for the foreseeable future, Edwards said.

Clute adapts to pandemic

While Clute has not issued a shelter-in-place order, the city is working to ensure the safety of its people in light of the pandemic.

Effective today, Clute is limiting staffing to only essential personnel, not allowing in-person or cash payments of any kind, suspending collection of any trash other than household collection and no longer accepting applications for new permits until further notice.

All city council meetings are also canceled until April 9, City Manager C.J. Snipes said. All public events are canceled for the time being, as well as use of our parks and recreation facilities.

“We’re not yet sure yet if we will move to online city council meetings as we are taking it a day at a time,” Snipes said. “We will make that announcement in the days leading to April 9.”

People who cannot pay bills online will not be penalized, he said. For the time being, all processing fees will be waived in an effort to encourage people to use the online payment portal.

“There’s been nothing come down from either the mayor, or the county judge that has put a stay-at-home order in place,” Clute Police Chief James Fitch said. “While there is no shelter-in-place order, the city encourages everyone to engage in social distancing.”

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