Update, Wednesday, 4:10 p.m.
A woman in her 30s is now considered recovered from the virus after her symptoms resolved for at least 72 hours, the health district said. That includes not having a fever for three days without the aid of fever reducers.
The health district did not identify the woman by name, but its description matches two people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by the county so far — including the very local first person who was diagnosed with the virus on March 13.
Along with announcing the recovery, the health district also announced five newly diagnosed cases of COVID-19 among county residents. The newest group includes three women and two men, aged between 20 and 70. All five people are currently self-quarantined, according to the health district.
Update, Wednesday, 2:45 p.m.
The grace period is to allow people the opportunity to pick up to-go food at restaurants, Barnett said.
The grace period applies to both downtown and seawall parking, she said.
Update, Wednesday, 1:50 p.m.
“Great news,” Abbott said. “President Trump just granted a Major Disaster Declaration for Texas. This will expand the resources available to Texas speed our ability to robustly respond to coronavirus.”
A major disaster declaration allows people from a state to access individual assistance programs, or for state and local governments to get assistance for emergency work, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Update, Wednesday, 11 a.m.
The man is the 22nd local diagnosis of COVID-19 since testing began in the county on March 2.
Update, Wednesday, 9:06 a.m.
Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday appealed to Texans with the ability to volunteer as a medical responder or to donate medical supplies to make themselves known.
Texas has created a website where people can let state officials known about what kind of help they can offer as volunteers or what kinds of goods and space they can donate.
The form can be found here.
“I urge all Texans who would like to donate essential supplies and all medical professionals who are willing to volunteer their time and expertise to visit www.texas.gov to find out how they can help,” Abbott said.
Abbott has already loosened regulations on who can serve as nurses and doctors, in anticipation of a need for a greater number of medical providers in coming days and weeks.
Update, Tuesday, 8:39 p.m.
The furlough accounts for about 70 percent of the employees who work at Fertitta’s restaurants, hotels and casinos, according to the report. But Fertitta didn’t criticize efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus through such measures as social distancing and government orders that have staggered the hospitality industry.
“I think what we are doing with the shut-down is good, but in a few weeks people will need to be around people,” Fertitta said told Bloomberg. “Otherwise, you are going to go into an economic crisis that is going to take us years to dig ourselves out of.”
The furloughs could last “a few weeks,” according to the report.
Fertitta has sizable holdings in Galveston County, including the Brick House Tavern Tap, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Fish Tales, Joe’s Crab Shack, the Saltgrass Steakhouse and the Rainforest Cafe. He also owns the Galveston Island Pleasure Pier, the Kemah Boardwalk and the San Luis Resort.
Keeping properties open during the crisis has cost Fertitta millions of dollars in cash a day, he said.
“We are doing basically no business,” Fertitta said. “I want to hire every employee back. This is very hard on a lot of working families, but we have to survive or there is no company.”
Update, Tuesday, 4:24 p.m.
The younger woman was in contact with another local person who had already been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the health district. It’s the first time the health district has connected a new case to a case previously announced in the county.
Update, Tuesday, 3:47 p.m.
The man began to complain about shortness of breath and a cough on March 21, while in custody at the Lychner State Jail in Humble, the department said. He was taken from there to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston and then taken to the Galveston hospital.
The man is in medical isolation and in good condition, the department said.
“TDCJ is saddened to learn of this positive case in an offender, but the agency is well prepared to handle this challenge,” said Bryan Collier, the executive director of the criminal justice department. “Our coronavirus protocol was developed exactly for a situation like this. Our prayers are with the offender and his family as he recovers from this illness.”
Update, Tuesday, 3:03 p.m.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered Texas hospitals and medical facilities to submit daily reports of the number of COVID-19 tests they’ve conducted and to report the number of treatment b they have available.
The orders are the most recent steps Abbott has taken to prepare the state for a large and sudden increase in the number of people who need hospital care in coming days.
Abbott spoke Tuesday afternoon from a warehouse full of medical equipment, including masks and tents, that he said was being sent to hospitals around the state.
On Monday, Texas ordered $80 million in supplies, Abbott said. Later this week, the state will begin receiving shipments of more than 100,000 masks a day. By the end of next week, the state will received more than 1 million masks a week.
Abbott also lauded Texans, including private practice physicians, who have donated medical supplies to hospitals. He invited people and groups that want to donate more medical supplies or to volunteer to help to visit www.texas.gov.
“We are looking to expand our capacity of medical professionals,” Abbott said.
The state ne “more soldiers” on the front line of the fight against the virus, he said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 715 Texans had tested positive for COVID-19, Abbott said. Eleven people had died, he said. Cases have been confirmed in 65 counties.
More than 11,000 people have been tested for the virus, Abbott said.
Abbott urged people to continue practicing social distancing and said the next 15 days were critical in responding to and limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Texas. He said he was still “”flexible” on the idea of issuing a statewide stay-at-home order, if people in the state do not comply with local orders to avoid gatherings.
Update, Tuesday, 2:35 p.m.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s update on the state’s response to COVID-19 is scheduled to begin shortly.
A livestream of his speech can be found here.
Update, Tuesday, 11:45 a.m.
The 25th annual Keels Wheels Concours d’Elegance has announced that the event, scheduled for May 2-3, has been rescheduled for Oct. 17-18 at the Lakewood Yacht Club, 2322 Lakewood Yacht Club Drive, in Seabrook. Additionally, the 11th annual Keels Wheels Uncorked event originally set for April 2 will now be Oct. 1 at the Lone Star Flight Museum at Ellington Field, 11551 Aerospace Ave., in Houston. For information, visit www.keels-wheels.com.
Update, Tuesday, 11:06 a.m.
Update, Tuesday, 10:42 a.m.
This morning, The Daily News reported on the plight of Crystal Janke and Michael Petterson, a Galveston couple who were stranded in Honduras because of a border closure that happened in the middle of their vacation.
Update, Tuesday, 9:18 a.m.
Abbott will speak from a Texas Department of Public Safety warehouse facility and will be joined by officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
On Monday, Abbott sent a letter to the White House asking President Donald Trump to declare a major disaster in Texas. Texas ne federal assistance to save lives, Abbott said. He asked for federal aid to address shortages of personal protective equipment and other medical resources.
“Texas is all-in on our response to COVID-19, and we need Washington’s financial assistance as provided for under the law to support our efforts to limit the spread of this virus,” Abbott said. “COVID-19-related expenses and obligations are already exceeding $50 million, and that will only rise as our efforts continue. Additional federal funding is essential for us to maintain our aggressive course of action to protect our state.”
Abbott’s is scheduled to speak at 2:30 p.m.
Update, Monday, 5:43 p.m.
Galveston County will announce a countywide shelter-in-place order this evening, multiple county officials have confirmed. The order will go into effect beginning at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and remain in effect until April 3.
“We all agree that the county is at a tipping point,” Tabor said in a recorded statement. “If we don’t do something now, the cases of COVID-19 will skyrocket.”
Under the county’s order, Galveston County residents may only leave their homes in order to seek medical care, pick up essential items such as food — for either humans or pets — or household supplies, participate in solitary outdoor recreational activities or to work at an essential business.
Essential business includes retailers such as grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores, in addition to healthcare providers, news organizations, restaurants providing takeout, delivery and drive-thru services.
Essential infrastructure providers, like local governments, trash collection and telecommunication systems providers can also remain open. Charity organizations that provide help to those in need and child care providers are also exempted from the order.
Galveston County’s order closely mirrors the one issued by Dallas County on Sunday afternoon. The local order a little more than 24 hours after Gov. Greg Abbott said he would not issue a statewide shelter-in-place order because of the coronavirus and deferred to local cities and counties to make their own decisions about shutdowns.
Update, Monday, 4:15 p.m.
The girl is also the youngest person in the county to be diagnosed with the coronavirus. The girl had recently traveled domestically and is currently self-quarantined at her home, according to the health district. The girl is not an infant, a district spokeswoman said.
“As we look at the pattern of testing, we can assume it’s everywhere and you should assume that, too,” said Dr. Philip Keiser in the statement announcing the latest case. “We’re reaching a point where knowing where someone who tested positive lives or shops is not going to protect you. You should assume it is everywhere and take proper precautions.”
Update, Monday, 12:30 p.m.
The report, released by the CDC on Monday, includes a review of the outbreaks that occurred on board two cruise ships, the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess, and reviews the public health challenges are created by cruise ships.
“Outbreaks of COVID-19 on cruise ships pose a risk for rapid spread of disease beyond the voyage,” the report said. “Aggressive efforts are required to contain spread. All persons should defer all cruise travel worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises, the two major cruise companies that operate out of the Port of Galveston, have already canceled cruises through the middle of April. As of Monday morning, they had not announced plans to cancel beyond that time period.
Update, Monday, 11:20 a.m.
The number of local cases is now up to 17.
Update, Monday, 9:40 a.m.
The declaration is mostly meant to keep the county in line for financial relief in the future, Henry said. The order does not close any county facilities or make any other changes to current state warnings in the county.
The commissioners court meeting being held in the county’s North County Annex Building in League City looks very different than a normal meeting. Commissioners are spread out at least six feet apart at separate plastic tables, and constable deputies wearing face masks are guarding the entrance to the court room.
The meeting is being streamed here.
Update, Sunday, 4:17 p.m.
The total number of local confirmed cases now stands at 12.
The newest diagnosis is a woman in her 40s who had recently traveled internationally and had contact with another person who was diagnosed with COVID-19, the health district said. No other details about the woman were released on Sunday.
Update, Sunday, 3:35 p.m.
During an afternoon address from Austin, Abbott said that while the number of confirmed cases in Texas was growing and expected to grow more, he did not think a statewide order was appropriate.
Abbott noted that more than 200 counties in Texas do not yet have any confirmed cases in their boundaries.
“What may be right for places like the large urban areas, may not be right at this particular point in time for the more than 200 counties that have zero cases of COVID-19,” Abbott said.
Abbott said that he was still evaluating the effectiveness of the executive order he issued on Thursday and would, for now, defer to local officials across Texas to decide whether to issue their own stay-at-home orders.
“Local officials have the authority to implement more strict standards than what I, as governor, have ordered here in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “They already have the full authority at the local level to implement those stricter standards. And if they choose to do so, I would applaud them for doing so.”
Texas National Guard troops will be deployed to help hospitals around the state this week. The guard will complete tasks at the directions of hospitals, including setting up tents for potential COVID-19 treatment areas or helping pre-screen people who have lined up to have a coronavirus test taken.
Abbott announced two new executive orders prohibiting all nonessential medical procedures at hospitals across the state, and loosening restrictions on the number of people that can be treated in a hospital room at one time.
Update, Sunday, 3:05 p.m.
Gov. Greg Abbott is set to speak soon. A live feed of his speech from Austin can be found here.
Update, Sunday, 11:20 a.m.
The second case is a woman in her 20s who has no history of travel or contact with another infected person. The third case is a woman in her 50s who has no history of travel or contact with another infected person.
The health district believes the two women are examples of community spread of the virus in Galveston County. That means they may have contracted the virus from another, unknown person in the community.
Update, Sunday, 7:15 a.m.
Update, Saturday, 3:09 p.m.
Update, Saturday, 2:15 p.m.
Galveston hasn’t closed any of its beaches, officially, but has taken steps to keep people away from them. No beach amenities, such as bathrooms or pavilions, are open. And on Friday, the city restricted vehicular access to beaches on the far West End of the island, beginning around the Miramar subdivision.
The idea behind those closures was to limit “pop-up” crowds of people in places that are generally unguarded and unmonitored by public safety agencies, Davis said. The vehicular closures include blocking access to roads at the San Luis Pass.
Davis said beach patrol lifeguards were ready to speak to groups of people that gather in large numbers if that happens this weekend or in the coming weeks. Right now, that hasn’t been something they really needed to worry about, he said.
“So far people have seemed like they’re cautious and staying away from each other,” Davis said.
Update, Saturday, 9:12 a.m.
The temporary shutdown of some businesses and services ordered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began this morning.
The order also prohibits social gatherings of more than 10 people.
The orders do not require people to shelter in place. People can still go to stores and banks and parks. Businesses can stay open, although Abbott recommended companies allow non-essential employees to stay home.
Update, Friday, 5:20 p.m.
Managers asked patrons to consider converting tickets for the canceled concerts to donations, or making donations in any amount to sustain the orchestra.
Update, Friday, 3 p.m.
Texas landlords can’t evict residential tenants for most reasons until April 19, the Texas Supreme Court ruled.
Renters can be evicted only for posing an imminent threat of physical harm to others, or for engaging in criminal activity, according to the Texas Apartment Association, which said it supported the move.
The ruling offers a “lifeline to many Texans who are beginning to feel the economic impact of COVID-19,” Gov. Greg Abbott said.
“Temporarily suspending residential eviction proceedings will provide Texans whose personal income has been affected by the spread of this virus with greater flexibility to meet their housing ne and provide for their families,” Abbott said.
Update, Friday, 1:45 p.m.
The second is a woman in her 50s who been to an area hospital and is self-quarantined at home. The woman has not recently traveled, but did come in contact with a person known to have traveled to a COVID-19 affected area, health officials said.
Update, Friday, 12:45 p.m.
Update, Friday, 12:40 p.m.
To find your nearest office, visit www.wrksolutions.com/locations, or call 888-469-5627 and enter your ZIP code and the call will route to the nearest office.
For unemployment benefit questions, or to apply, visit www.ui.texasworkforce.org, or call 800-939-6631 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays.
Update, Friday, 12:30 p.m.
Update, Friday, 12:30 p.m.
The Galveston Lions Club has canceled its annual oyster roast. The raffle will take place at 7 p.m. March 28 via Facebook live on the club’s Facebook page. Tickets are still available by calling 409-771-6893.
Update, Friday, 12:20 p.m.
The policy applies to patient rooms, the emergency department and waiting rooms, but exceptions will be allowed for a partner or spouse in labor and delivery, for one parent or caregiver in pediatrics and for patients receiving end-of-life care, according to the statement.
Permission for visitors may be given by the patient care team or on a case-by-case basis.
Update, Friday, 7:54 a.m.
The income tax filing date has been pushed back from April 15, to July 15, The Associated Press reports.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the decision in a tweet Friday saying that at President Donald Trump’s direction “we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”
Update, Friday, 7:54 a.m.
The company proposed using its ships a temporary healthcare facilities to treat non-COVID-19 patients.
“If needed, cruise ships are capable of being quickly provisioned to serve as hospitals with up to 1,000 hospital rooms that can treat patients suffering from less critical, non-COVID-19 conditions,” the company said.
Two Carnival cruise ships, the Vista and the Dream, are currently rotating positions at Cruise Terminal No. 1 at the Port of Galveston. There have been no local announcements about using the ships as hospitals as of Friday morning.
Update, Thursday, 6:47 p.m.
The University of Texas Medical Branch is contacting patients to ask anyone who has an elective procedure scheduled to cancel it until after April 5, according to a statement.
Clinical visits scheduled for the next two weeks will also move to televisits, which include either phone and video or just phone calls, according to the statement.
Update, Thursday 6:16 p.m.
The Galveston County Clerk’s office will close its League City Annex, 174 N. Calder Drive, effective Friday until further notice. The office at 600 59th St. in Galveston would remain open with limited staff.
The office would maintain services by answering phones, issuing marriage licenses, recording property documents, processing electronic filings for judicial cases, and property records, and by processing all mail.
Update, Thursday 5:16 p.m.
The city closed the parks out of an abundance of caution, according to the city’s statement.
Update, Thursday, 1:54 p.m.
Mayor Randy Stricklind on Thursday signed a declaration of local disaster, Administrator Marie Gelles said.
Update, Thursday, 1:50 p.m.
The state is urging clients of Texas Health and Human Services and all residents affected by the coronavirus emergency to use the 2-1-1 Texas Social Services Hotline to speak to someone who can help. To access the COVID-19 hotline, dial 211, then choose option 6 to get information about coronavirus-related social services including testing, community clinics, unemployment benefits and more.
Texans can also dial 877-541-7905, select option 6, for the same information and services.
The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Information about local community resources such as financial assistance for utilities or rent and food pantries, housing assistance, crisis counseling, utility payment assistance and senior services are available via the hotline, according to Texas Health and Human Services.
Update, Thursday, 1:30 p.m.
Texas City Independent School District will distribute curriculum packets to elementary students on March 20 on a schedule based on alphabetical order of last names and grade level. The district also will distribute technology devices to students who don’t have access to a school district or home device on the same schedule, posted at www.tcisd.org.
Parents can pick up their children‘s medications from school nurses during the same posted time frame. There will be drive-throughs at the schools to avoid congregating. Maps are available at www.tcisd.org/coronavirus. Medications will not be given to students unless they are 18 or older.
Secondary students with school-issued technology devices can find their assignments on Canvas and don’t have to come to the school if they have nothing to pick up. Students who have not checked out a school issued technology device should plan to come during the scheduled time to pick one up. Secondary students coming to school to pick up items need to wear their school ID.
Update, Thursday, 12:36 p.m.
As part of the order, Abbott has banned all social gatherings of more than 10 people in Texas, and has ordered people to avoid eating or drinking inside bars and restaurants or exercising at gyms, and ordered restaurants to provide takeout service only.
He banned all non-essential visits to nursing homes, retirement homes, or long-term care facilities. All Texas schools have been ordered closed.
The executive order goes into effect at midnight on Friday, March 20 and ends on April 3, Abbott said.
Update, Thursday, 11:18 a.m.
Despite signing the declaration, city officials are not yet forcing restaurants and businesses to close their dining rooms, but only strongly recommending it, officials said.
Update, Thursday, 10:37 a.m.
The town hall will air in the Houston area on Channel 39 at 7 p.m.
Texans can submit questions for Abbott to answer by using the hashtag #AskAbbott on Twitter and Facebook.
“As Texas continues to respond to the threat of COVID-19, it is vital that all Texans understand the size and scope of this challenge as well as what the State of Texas is doing to mitigate the spread of this virus and keep Texans safe,” said Abbott said.
Abbott is also scheduled to make a public announcement this afternoon about a statewide decision on closing and limiting service at restaurants and bars. That announcement is expected around noon.
Update, Thursday, 9:30 a.m.
Rather than dropping in to its offices, if you need services from any of these programs, please call them to schedule an appointment:
Vitals (birth and death records): 409-763-7202 or 409-765-2553
Executive Office: 409-938-2379
Human Resources: 409-938-2260
Healthy Concepts Clinic: 409-765-2528
Update, Thursday, 9 a.m.
Update, Thursday 9 a.m.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars No. 6378 will have its Lenten fish fry from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at 5204 state Highway 3 in Dickinson. Patrons can call in their order at 281-337-4952 and drive by the glass doors facing state Highway 3 and the group will bring it to your car. Dinners are $10 each (cash or check only).
Update, Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.
League City is not restricting the operation of bars and restaurants at this time Mayor Pat Hallisey stated in an email to residents Wednesday evening.
“Things continue to evolve and change, but at this time, the City is not mandating the closures of bars and restaurants. However, we strongly encourage residents to consider ordering take-out or placing a pick-up order as a way to maintain social distancing while still supporting our local restaurants.”
City Hall and the Municipal Court building remain open, but Hallisey strongly encouraged residents to utilize online options for making payments. All court dockets in League City Municipal Court scheduled through March 31 will be rescheduled and jurors do not need to appear.
The Helen Hall Library will be closed to the public as of 6 p.m. Thursday, March 19. All City-sponsored events are postponed/canceled through May 4 but all city public parks remain open.
Update, Wednesday, 9 p.m.
The Moore Memorial Public Library, 1701 9th Ave. N in Texas City, is no longer considering curbside service and is now closed to the public.
The library is not assigning late fines for the duration of the closure. Staff advises that although residents may still get automatic notifications of fines, the notifications can be ignored. No books are to be returned to the library until further notice.
Update, Wednesday, 2:56 p.m.
“We understand the announcement of two additional cases may concern our community but, as we’ve said, now that testing has increased, we can expect to see the number of positive cases in the county also increase,” said Philip Keiser, Galveston County’s local health authority.
“We continue to strongly encourage residents to follow guidelines from the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),” he said. “There is evidence of community spread in Galveston County, and staying home while practicing social distancing is the best way you can protect yourself and others.”
Update, Wednesday, 2:33 p.m.
City staff will video conference all the council members into the meeting and broadcast the meeting to the public, according to the city.
People should look for additional information about how to submit public comments.
In light of a Wednesday order that shifted all restaurants to take-out and delivery only, the city also extended free parking in paid parking areas from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.
People normally can park their cars in paid areas for 15 minutes to allow for pick-ups and drop-offs.
Update, Wednesday, 2:32 p.m.
University of Texas Medical Branch is moving to emergency statutes effective immediately, according to a 2:01 p.m. statement from the university.
That means employees might get moved to different locations, shifts or duties and that employees working remotely may be called back in for duty, according to the statement.
Coursework will shift all online starting Monday, according to the statement.
Update, Wednesday, 2:09 p.m.
The office on Wednesday afternoon began to notify local cities and other entities about its decision.
The election office’s decision likely means that most of the elections scheduled for May 2 will be postponed.
Most cities and local entities contract with the election office to conduct the election. Local entities could still attempt to conduct their own elections or hire someone else to do them. Those plans would need to be made and finalized by April 20, the first day of early voting for the May 3 election.
Sullivan, who is an elected official, said he made the decision to cancel the office’s participation. The decision came hours after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation allowing local governments to postpone their elections until Nov. 3.
Update, Wednesday, 1:27 p.m.
The man is the person whose diagnosis was publicly announced by the Galveston County Health District on Tuesday. In its announcement, the health district said the man was from the north part of Galveston County but did not say what city he lived in.
League City officials learned Wednesday morning that the man was from League City, officials said.
Officers within the League City Police Department have been informed where the person lives specifically and will respond to reports in the area with caution, officials said. League City officials declined to release what part of the city the man is from.
The man may be the first example of community spread of the coronavirus in Galveston County. The health district has not identified how he contracted the virus, and he had not recently traveled or come into direct contact with another person who had been diagnosed with it.
Update, Wednesday, 11:16 a.m.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has suspended a part of the Texas Election Code, giving local governments the opportunity to delay their upcoming local elections.
Local entity elections are scheduled to take place on May 2, with early voting beginning on April 20. Abbott’s proclamation allows local governments to suspend their elections until Nov. 3.
“I strongly encourage local election officials to take advantage of these waivers and postpone their elections until November,” Abbott said. “Right now, the state’s focus is responding to COVID-19 — including social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. By delaying this election, our local election officials can assist in that effort.”
Galveston County’s election calendar promises dozens of races, some of which will result in major leadership changes. Galveston, Texas City and Dickinson are all set to elect new mayors. Voters in Friendswood, Galveston and Dickinson are slated to vote on hundr of millions of dollars in school bonds.
There were no immediate announcements from any local governments announcing plans to change their election dates.
Update, Wednesday, 11:15 a.m.
Daily News customers and members of the public are still encouraged to call with questions or concerns at 409-683-5200.
Update, Wednesday, 10:56 a.m.
Update, Wednesday, 10:47 a.m.
In a message to students and parents, Charles Mouton, the provost and dean of the medical branch’s school of medicine, said officials were developing plans how the change will affect students’ educational plans.
“We appreciate everyone’s concern about the impact that this interruption and reorganization has on each student’s progress toward the completion of degree requirements,” Mouton said. “We ask for your continued patience as we realign the various curricula to meet our educational outcomes. ”
Update, Wednesday, 10:15 a.m.
College of the Mainland will move all instruction possible to an online format starting March 23. All college events are postponed or canceled through the middle of May and may include moving the graduation ceremony to a later date, said Monique Sennet, spokeswoman for the college.
Through the end of the semester, library computer classrooms will remain open for students needing computer and internet access, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays. Tutoring services provided through the college’s student support services will continue to be available with an increased online tutoring presence, the college said.
Should there be a need for physical presence on campus, the college will institute social distancing and protective hygiene measures. Any student, faculty, staff or visitor experiencing symptoms of illness should stay home.
Update Tuesday, 10 p.m.
• NASA announced that effective immediately all employees and contractors will telework until further notice after “a limited number of employees have tested positive” for coronavirus. Mission-essential personnel will continue to be granted access onsite.
Update, Tuesday, 7 p.m
Update, Tuesday, 5:05 p.m.
The theaters will remain closed until business administrators decide it’s safe to welcome customers again, officials said.
The chain will pause movie club membership, extend the expiration of rewards points until June 30 and refund all tickets purchased in advance, officials said.
Update, Tuesday, 5:03 p.m.
The department will be making several changes, including taking more reports by phone, officials said.
The department also will be investigating price gouging, officials said.
Update, Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.
In effort to reduce foot traffic in the state’s eligibility offices, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is asking Texans to submit benefit applications and other paperwork online at www.yourtexasbenefits.com or use the Your Texas Benefits mobile app.
The commission administers assistance programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP food benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF cash assistance and Women Infants and Children or WIC nutrition program. Applying online will minimize the potential for staff and public exposure to COVID-19 while allowing staff to process applications effectively during the COVID-19 outbreak, Wayne Salter, executive commissioner said.
Office locations will remain open but applicants should work through the website if they can, the commission said. Visitors on foot are encouraged to used hand sanitizer placed in the state offices. Sick people should not visit.
People with questions about using the website or the mobile app, including those with special ne, should dial 2-1-1 and select option 2. To check benefit amounts, visit YourTexasBenefits.com or call the help desk at 800-777-7328.
Update, Tuesday, 4:25 p.m.
“Except for a few Art for All sites, all programming is canceled or postponed until further notice,” the center said in an announcement.
Update, Tuesday, 2:19 p.m.
The man had not traveled and had no direct connection with another person believed to be infected with the virus, Keiser said.
Update, Tuesday, 1:41 p.m.
Despite the presumptive positive case of the coronavirus in Galveston County that could indicate community spread, Galveston County Judge Mark Henry and Local Health Authority Philip Keiser on Tuesday said they would not go so far as to order a county-wide closure of bars, restaurants and other gathering places on Tuesday.
In fact, during a press conference announcing the second local presumptive positive case, the two officials said they were still researching their authority to do so.
“We’re looking into that to make sure that we as a county and as a health authority know what we have the legal right to do, which may be different then the cities,” Keiser said. “We want to make sure where we are.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough said he would order bars and restaurants and other public venues to close or offer only takeout service. No other Galveston County cities had announced such measures Tuesday.
There have been growing calls for the county to make such a call since Monday evening, when both Dallas County and Harris County issued closure orders.
Despite the precedent set by those Texas counties, Keiser and Henry said they weren’t sure the sure the decisions made in those other places were legal.
In light of the diagnosis, the county is recommending anyone who at high risk from exposure to the coronavirus — the elderly and people with complicating conditions — to stay indoors for two to three weeks, Keiser said.
He also urged event planners to cancel any events they have planned in coming days and weeks.
Update, Tuesday, 12:04 p.m.
The buses, which are decorated like trolleys, are geared toward island tourists. Island Transit buses will continue to operate, but will make changes to keep passengers 6 feet apart, according to the statement.
Update, Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.
A male aged 45-50 presented to a University of Texas Medical Branch clinic with fever, dry cough, sore throat, headache and body aches and tested positive for the virus. Initial test results must be confirmed by the Houston Health Department laboratory to make a confirmed positive diagnosis.
In its announcement, the health district strongly encouraged event organizers to consider whether their gatherings can be held virtually or postponed, urging everyone to consider the health of others when making those decisions. Older people and those with chronic medical conditions are at highest risk of complications from the virus.
Update, Tuesday, 11 a.m.
Rosenberg Library, 2310 Sealy St., in Galveston, will be issuing temporary cards via its online services at www.rosenberg-library.org, by phone, 409-763-8854, Ext. 111, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails must include name, birthdate, valid ID number, address and phone number. Temporary cards will give patrons access to the library’s databases.
Update, Tuesday, 10:27 a.m.
On Friday, Royal Caribbean canceled its cruises for 30 days and Carnival Cruise Lines canceled its cruises through April 10. For Galveston, that means that 26 scheduled cruises will not leave through the Port of Galveston, Port Director Rodger Rees said at a special meeting of the Wharves Board of Trustees on Tuesday morning.
The port’s lost revenue estimate is a combination of the fees generated from passengers boarding cruise ships and from parking revenues, Rees said.
More than 700 people have attempted to cancel their parking reservations that were scheduled over the next month, Rees said.
Update, Tuesday, 10:15 a.m.
The man, who was in his late 90s, died Sunday evening at Matagorda Regional Medical Center, according to the Associated Press.
Update, Monday, 6:35 p.m.
The city will limit public attendance and will stream the meeting live online, a spokeswoman said.
The city is still determining how it will accept public comment.
Update, Monday, 6:28 p.m.
The City of League City is postponing or canceling all city-sponsored events scheduled through May 4, including:
• Household Hazardous Waste Event
• Community Garage Sale
• Grand Opening of Fire Station No. 6
• League City Egg Scramble
• League City Hiring Expo
• 2nd Annual Pet Fest
• Nature with Kristine
• Astronomy in the Park
All sports programs and leagues in League City have been suspended until March 30.
Starting March 17, all city board, committee and advisory group meeting are canceled. City Council on March 24 is still scheduled at this time, but residents are encouraged to watch on Channel 16 or online at the city’s website.
Update, Monday, 6:20 p.m.
Galveston County school districts late Monday issued a flurry of announcements that their classes would be halted until at least April 10, extending a closure meant to blunt spread of the coronavirus by three weeks.
Update, Monday, 6:15 p.m.
Jury duty for March 20 at Texas City Municipal Court has been canceled.
Update, Monday 4:47 p.m.
Mayor Jim Yarbrough signed the order Monday afternoon, three days after Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state disaster for Texas, according to a release from the city.
The measure means that Galveston will have access to federal and state money for city expenses related to coronavirus and means the city can take actions necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to the statement.
The city was not considering any additional action as of 4:45 p.m. Monday, according to the statement.
Update, Monday 4:30 p.m.
The council would begin making refunds over the next few days as it finalized details, officials said.
Update, Monday 4 p.m.
The Grand 1894 Opera House in downtown Galveston has canceled the remainder of its spring season and has canceled its Grand Kids Festival, a yearly event that was scheduled for April 4, as it joins a growing number of organizations responding to the coronavirus crisis.
The Grand, 2020 Postoffice St., also has put on hold plans for the summer season and for dance classes usually held in the spring.
Patrons have the option of using tickets when a performance is rescheduled, asking for credit, donating their tickets or asking for a refund, Patton said.
Update, Monday 3:55 p.m.
Update, Monday 2:15 p.m.
The Galveston-based environmental nonprofit Artist Boat has halted education and outreach programs through March 31. The Oppenheimer Bird Observatory at the Coastal Heritage Preserve will remain open for public use, according to Karla Klay, executive director.
Update, Monday 1:45 p.m.
Texas State Parks are open and are taking steps to make visits safe. Visitors are asked to print their day-use and camping permits before arrival to eliminate in-person check in if possible. Visitors are urged to pack extra soap or hand sanitizer; they may not be available at remote locations.
Texas State Parks are waiving cancellation fees for visits scheduled in March. To cancel without fees, call customer service at 512-389-8900 or email customer at the state parks website.
Update Monday, 1:38 p.m.
Texas City’s Water Department is asking customers to exercise social distancing precautions when paying their bill by paying online at www.texascitytx.gov , calling 409-643-5923 or dropping off payment at the dropbox located at the Moore Memorial Public Library.
Disconnects for non-payment are temporarily suspended, but the city urges residents to pay water bills as soon as possible.
Update, Monday 12:04 p.m.
Moore Memorial Public Library in Texas City has canceled all library programs until further notice, according to Maegan Rocio, the young adult librarian at the library. The library will remain open to provide technological, reference, and general services to patrons and guests.
Update, Monday 11:45 a.m.
Update, Monday, 11:41 a.m.
La Marque City Hall and the La Marque Public Library will be closed until further notice, the city said.
The city will continue accepting utility billing payments online and through a drop at city hall. However, the city has also decided it will not conduct utility disconnects for the time being.
All city council and city committee meetings are postponed until further notice, the city said.
Update, Monday, 11:10 a.m.
The Galveston Arts and Culture Conversation scheduled for March 18 at Garten Verein has been canceled. The conversation was to be the kickoff event of an effort by the city to coordinate arts and culture events, announcements and planning through a central coordinating office. Joshua Ojeda, cultural collaboration coordinator, will be moving the conversation online this week.
Visit the office’s Facebook page to participate and learn more at https://www.facebook.com/galvestonartsandculture/ .
Update, Monday, 11:04 a.m.
Update, Monday, 10:36 a.m.
“Any currently scheduled event of 50 or more people will be canceled or postponed until after June 1, 2020,” the city said in a tweet.
Update, Monday, 9:50 a.m.
“Your health and safety are top priorities, and the state of Texas will give school districts flexibility to protect and ensure the health of students, faculty, and their families,” Abbott said. “We will empower schools to make the best decisions to protect their communities from COVID-19.”
Update, Sunday, 8:35 p.m.
School districts across Galveston County have announced the places and times they will serve meals. The schools are all offering ways for parents and students to drive to a place, pick up food and leave.
Clear Creek Independent School District Dickinson Independent School DistrictFriendswood Independent School DistrictGalveston Independent School DistrictHitchcock Independent School DistrictSanta Fe Independent School DistrictTexas City Independent School District
Update, Sunday, 1 p.m.
A patient is in quarantine at the University of Texas Medical Branch awaiting results of a coronavirus test. But the woman, who asked to be unnamed, said it was doubtful that she contracted the infection. She said she suffers from an underlying health condition with similar symptoms that also puts her in a very high-risk category.
She entered the hospital Thursday and doctors told her it could take three to five days to get results. As of 1 p.m. Sunday, she had not gotten results. Medical branch officials declined to comment about whether others were in similar quarantine.
Update, Saturday, 8:50 p.m.
The two Brazoria County residents who tested positive are between the ages of 35 and 45 and share a home in Alvin. They have been self-quarantined since going for the test Thursday in Harris County, Brazoria County spokeswoman Sharon Trower said. Officials declined to provide any more information about them, citing federal privacy laws. That includes whether anyone else lives in their home and, if so, whether those people would be tested.
The affected residents told officials they had not traveled outside the Houston area but attended the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which shut down last week after learning an infected Montgomery County man had been at an affiliated event. It is not known when the Brazoria County residents attended or whether that is where they contracted the virus, Trower said.
Update, Saturday, 6:44 p.m.
The White House released the test results Saturday night after Trump told reporters hours earlier that he had taken the coronavirus test, following days of resisting being screened despite the fact that he had been in recent contact with three people who have tested positive for the virus.
The president had multiple direct and indirect contacts with people who have since tested positive for the virus, including three people he spent time with last weekend at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
Update, Saturday, 4 p.m.
“There is no need for panic buying, this is not like a hurricane,” Campos told The Associated Press. “This should not be a ‘stock up’ event.”
Campos said the company is also closing in-store restaurants in about 20 stores and using those employees to help the grocery operations.
Hours normally vary at the stores from 24 hours a day to 6 a.m. until midnight, Campos said.
Update, Saturday, 12:14 p.m.
Early Saturday morning, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a sweeping bill that would expand access to testing for coronavirus, as well as provide food aid and sick leave benefits to some Americans.
Weber explained his vote against the aid in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
“Congress will continue provide funding and legislative resources needed to ensure families and communities weather this storm,” Weber said. “While we must address this situation, we cannot use it as an excuse to create permanent programs or government spending that will long outlast this virus. Early this morning, the House passed legislation that was not made available to Members until just minutes before the vote. I did not support it because I am not in favor of passing a bill to find out what is in it.”
Update, Saturday, 10:24 a.m.
All commission and committee meeting will also be postponed for 14 days, said Marissa Barnett, spokeswoman for the city.
City employees will also try to conduct as much business over the phone and online as possible, Barnett said.
City officials are also asking private event organizers to consider postponing events, Barnett said.
Update, Saturday, 8:53 a.m.
The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the board’s headquarters.
The wharves board is scheduled to go into executive session to receive legal advice about its operating agreements with cruise lines, and to talk about economic development negotiations, according to the posted agenda. Port director Rodger Rees is also scheduled to discuss the effects and impacts COVID-19 will have on port operations.
On Friday, the two major cruise lines that operate out of the Port of Galveston announced they would cease all cruises nationall until April. Royal Caribbean and Carnival were scheduled to conduct 24 cruises between March 14 and April 10, according to the port’s cruise schedule.
Update, Friday, 8:39 p.m
Carnival Cruise Lines has paused all service nationally until Friday, April 10, the company said.
Update, Friday, 8:34 p.m.
The University of Texas Medical Branch has canceled classes for some students, spokesman Christopher Smith Gonzalez said.
Update, Friday, 8:12 p.m.
The release did not include information about when the race will be rescheduled.
Update, Friday, 7:39 p.m.
Update, Friday, 5:57 p.m.
H-E-B stores in the Houston area, including League City, have limited their hours and will only be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting Saturday, President Scott McClelland said in a video statement. Normal store hours are 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.
The reduced hours are to give employees enough time to restock shelves, McClelland said.
There are two H-E-Bs in League City, 2955 I-45 and 2755 East League City Parkway.
Update, Friday, 4:48 p.m.
The church will still have its fish fry tonight, but orders will be to-go only, leaders said.
Sunday Mass will be held at 9 a.m.
Update, Friday, 4:22 p.m.
The board will continue to evaluate the safety of students and staff next week, McCracken said.
Update, Friday, 4 p.m.
A packaged lunch and a breakfast meal for the next morning will be available for each student, the district said in a news release. Parents and students may drive through and pick up the meals from March 16 to March 20 from 11 a.m. until noon.
The Dickinson Independent School District is the first district to announce its school meal policy for the recently canceled school week. Other school districts have said they are making similar plans and will announce them in coming days.
Update, Friday, 3:30 p.m.
“Current plans call for the library to maintain regular hours of operation during this time,” Augelli said. “There’s a strong possibility that the curtailment of meetings, programming and events at the library will be extended beyond March 21, but no firm decision has been made at this time.”
Update, Friday, 3 p.m.
Trump said the emergency would open up nearly $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. Trump also waived interest on federally held student loans, and he moved to prop up energy markets by directing the Department of Energy to buy oil to fill the strategic petroleum reserve “’right up to the top.”
Update, Friday, 2:40 p.m.
“Our policies remain the same in terms of requesting a refund, credit or donation,” Director Maureen Patton said. “All of our ticket holders for this weekend will receive a specific email regarding their tickets to whatever performances in March for which they are holding tickets.
“We will evaluate any additional postponements or cancellations during the next week and keep everyone informed of our plans.”
Update, Friday, 2:30 p.m.
Galveston College has extended spring break for students for one week, from March 16 to March 20. No online or in-person classes will be held during this time. Faculty and staff will prepare and coordinate planning for the remainder of the semester during this time.
All faculty and staff should report to campus on Monday. Part-time employees should not report to work unless they are contacted and instructed to do so by their supervisor. Student workers are not expected to return to campus for work until April 6.
The college has suspended all school-sponsored travel, including athletic travel, until April 6. All college-related travel for employees is suspended until April 6 as well, unless it is approved by college leadership.
Update, Friday, 2:30 p.m.
The Oceans of Opportunity Job Fair, which was scheduled for Wednesday at the Galveston Island Convention Center has been postponed, according to Shawn Lott, a business consultant manager of Workforce Solutions in Houston.
Update, Friday, 1:30 p.m.
League City announced that as of 6 p.m., Hometown Heroes Park, 1001 East League City Parkway, will be closed and all programming there will be canceled through March 30. That includes recreational classes and sporting events. The Helen Hall Library, 100 West Walker St., will remain open to the public, but library programming will be canceled. Facility rentals will be canceled or rescheduled, but all city public parks will remain open.
The Household Hazardous Waste Event scheduled for March 21 will continue to run.
Update, Friday, 1:30 p.m.
Governor Greg Abbott has declared the novel coronavirus a statewide public health disaster. At a press conference, Abbott said Texas is ramping up its testing capacity significantly and directed that day care centers, nursing homes and prisons limit visitors.
Abbott said 220 Texans have been tested by either a state public lab or by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An additional 75 Texans are currently being tested, he said.
The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Texas, announced by Abbott, was 49, though that number is changing constantly. A presumptive case announced in Galveston County was not included at the time of Abbott’s announcement.
State capacity for testing, which was at about 270 people per day, will expand into the thousands when private labs come online, Abbott said. When that will happen remains unclear.
Update, Friday, 12:06 p.m.
Galveston County has confirmed its first presumptive case of coronavirus. The person diagnosed with the virus is a woman in the early 30s from the north county. She is currently being treated in Austin, according to the Galveston County Health District.
More details are available here.
Update, Friday 11:48 a.m.
Texas City officials have decided to cancel the St Patrick’s Day and Texas City Little League and Youth Softball Parade. Future events are still scheduled to occur until further notice, the city said. Residents are advised to monitor the City of Texas City’s social media for official updates.
Update, Friday, 10:37 a.m.
There is no need for people called for jury duty to report, he said. Their service has been excused.
Bankruptcy court hearings are still being held.
Update, Friday, 10:14 a.m.
“While there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at our properties, we believe this is the right decision for our guests, associates and community,” the company said.
Schlitterbahn opened for the 2020 season on Feb. 29.
Update, Friday, 9:20 a.m.
Upward Hope Academy and Mainland Preparatory Classical Academy will also be extending its spring break through March 20 over concerns about the spread of coronavirus, according to emails sent by school administrators.
Update, Friday, 9:02 a.m.
The college has been on spring break this week.
Faculty will come to work Wednesday for training in preparation for online instruction, according to the release.
Update, Thursday, 8:09 p.m.
The orchestra does plan to reschedule the concert and ticket-holders will be contacted with more information, according to the statement.
Update, Thursday, 4:06 p.m.
Hitchcock school Superintendent Travis Edwards said his district was working on a plan to distribute meals to students who depend on school meals. Other districts said they would release more information about the closures soon.
Update, Thursday, 3:30 p.m.
Cancellation of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo over coronavirus concerns sparked concern among locals who attend and participate in the Galveston County Fair Rodeo planned for April 17-15 in Hitchcock.
“We are closely monitoring the situation. Our board is working with the county officials including the Galveston County Health District, who is working with local, state and federal partners to closely monitor the Corona Virus Disease 2019,” organizers said in a statement on its website and in phone interviews.
Update, Thursday, 2:55 p.m.
In the city of Galveston, Lasker Park Community Pool, and the Wright Cuney and Menard Park recreation centers will be closed Friday until further notice, according to Marissa Barnett, city spokeswoman.
Update, Thursday, 2:14 p.m
The Texas University Interscholastic League has suspended its boys basketball state championship in San Antonio.
Update, Thursday 1:51 p.m.
There are no changes to city government entities and operations in the cities of Galveston, Dickinson, Santa Fe, La Marque, Tiki Island, Bayou Vista, Hitchcock, Texas City and Jamaica Beach in response to COVID-19.
Update, Thursday, 1:32 p.m.
Schools districts including Galveston, Texas City, Dickinson, Hitchcock and Santa Fe have said they are monitoring their responses to the coronavirus and will make any announcements about closures Friday or Saturday.
Right now, no school districts in Galveston County have announced plans to extend their spring breaks into next week. Officials from multiple districts said they were participating in calls with state and local officials on Thursday and Friday before making a decision about closing.
Texas AM University at Galveston has already announced that it would not hold classes Monday and Tuesday. On Thursday, the school urged students and staff who are currently in Europe to return to the United States in advance of new federal travel restrictions that go into effect Friday.
The University of Texas Medical Branch has not canceled any classes, a medical branch spokesperson said. The medical branch on Tuesday announced that all employees and students who travel for personal reasons must report their travel to administrators — and to be prepared to be required to self-isolate on their return.
Update, Thursday, 11:24 a.m.
The city of Friendswood has canceled programs and events for seniors until further notice.
“Our senior community is precious to Friendswood, and given the high population of seniors diagnosed with COVID-19 around the world, we are taking every precaution to protect this population from possible exposure,” the city said.
Update, Thursday, 10:39 a.m.
Fans planning to attend state playoff basketball tournament this weekend may have a difficult time getting into the games in San Antonio.
The league is no longer selling All-Tournament tickets and has canceled honor team presentations.
Update, Thursday, 9:10 a.m.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening announced a travel ban on some people traveling to the United State from Europe. This morning, the stock market dropped so quickly trading on Wall Street was halted.
This page will be updated throughout the coming days with the latest local developments about coronavirus. If you have a tip, news or questions about the virus in Galveston County, contact The Daily News at email@example.com.
Update, Wednesday, 4:50 p.m.
“We’ll be following CDC guidelines,” Tompkins said.
That includes answering a number of questions including whether patients have any symptoms that could be related to coronavirus and whether they have traveled recently. Based on those answers, clinic personnel will decide where patients should be sent to wait or be seen. The clinics will be providing masks to patients as they come in, Tompkins said.
Update, Wednesday, 2:30 p.m.
Only certain types of patients — mothers in labor and after delivery, neonatal intensive care patients and pediatric patients — will be allowed to have a visitor stay with them overnight.
People should postpone any visits to the hospital if they have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, have traveled in an area where COVID-19 is present or have been in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
People who are being subject to a COVID-19 investigation will not be allowed any visitors unless under exceptional circumstances, according to the medical branch.
“As new cases of novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 continue to emerge, including the first cases in the Greater Houston area, UTMB Health is proactively expanding its restrictions and implementing new guidelines to safeguard our students, trainees, faculty, staff, patients and our community supporters,” the school‘s announcement said.
“While there have been no diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in Galveston county yet, public health and infectious disease experts have good reason to suspect the situation may get worse before it gets better.”
Update, Wednesday, 12:30 p.m.