Wednesday's Coronavirus Developments in the Houston Area

Gov. Abbott in an earlier press conference.
Gov. Abbott in an earlier press conference. Screenshot

On Wednesday, Gov. Abbott got the Major Disaster Declaration he wanted from the White House that will enable him to apply for increased federal assistance.

“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.”

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, who has declined to issue a stay at home order, issued an amended order today that takes effect through April 6 and adds restrictions on "nail and hair salons, spas, licensed massage businesses, tattoo parlors, and cosmetic businesses. Additionally, nursing homes, retirement, and long term care facilities are now required to limit visitation to critical assistance and end of life visitation only."

Keough's earlier order said there should be no dine-in at restaurants, restaurants shouldn't employ any person who looks sick and all employees should wash their hands. Also bars and clubs, gyms, movie theaters and amusement type businesses were ordered closed. All events sponsored or permitted by a political subdivision in Montgomery County should cease as well as events involved 10 or more people at publicly held facilities in the county. Daycare facilities are exempt.

At its 3 p.m. Wednesday report, Harris County Public Health reported 40 new cases of COVID-19 which brings the total to 119 positive cases. So far there has only been one reported death in the county, reported on March 19.

At the same time the Houston Health Department announce it had 11 new positives (separate from the county cases) bringing its total to 66.

Fort Bend County is reporting 54 confirmed cases of which 5 have recovered and no deaths. Montgomery County reported 31 positive cases of COVID-19, an increas of 8 from the day before.

Abbott also loosened the regulations governing the licensing of nurses and hospitals to prepare to take care of more coronavirus patients as needed. 
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing