¡Que Onda Magazine!

Houston's oldest bilingual publication

COVID-19: Community Guidelines

Protecting the health and safety of our community remains our highest concern. We are also committed to continuing to provide Harris County residents with the latest information about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) so you can make informed decisions for you and your family. As you may know, multiple individuals in the greater Houston area are confirmed positives for COVID-19. While the majority of these individuals contracted the virus while traveling, there is evidence that we are beginning to identify individuals who may have contracted the virus through community transmissions.

On Wednesday, Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a Disaster Declaration for Harris County and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner issued an Emergency Health Declaration, both of which allow the city and county to better serve you. We recognize that difficult decisions, such as cancelling community events, causes inconveniences, as well as economic strains on organizations and individuals. Rest assured that no one takes these decisions lightly. It is out of an abundance of caution and because containing the spread of the virus helps keep our community healthier that additional cancellations may occur. 

Until March 31, Precinct One will be following the guidelines jointly issued by Harris County Public Health Department, the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Harris County and the City of Houston. Designed to create the social distancing needed to help slow the spread of the virus throughout our community, these guidelines will be in effect for the remainder of the month. All Precinct One community centers will adhere to the following guidance:
Precinct One community centers will be closed until the end of MarchPostpone gatherings of greater than 250 peopleSuspend all seniors programs through March (excluding the Meals on Wheels program)Suspend all Harris County community meetings

Let’s remember to remain calm, be cautious and listen to the advice of medical professionals. It is also important to show compassion and concern for the individuals who are recovering from this illness while protecting those vulnerable to contracting the virus. The number one way to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 remains good hygiene and cleaning practices, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Harris County Public Health. That means you should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds several times a day, stay home if you’re feeling sick, and sterilize dirty surfaces at home and at work with detergent or soap. Individuals at greatest risk that should be especially careful:People 60 and olderPeople who have underlying health concerns (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, lung disease)People who have weakened immune systemsPregnant women

It is also vital that we stick to the facts and prevent the spread of misinformation. We cannot let rumors and innuendo get in the way of helping our community withstand this virus. Please listen to your medical provider, the CDC, Harris County Public Health, local officials and other trusted sources for information.

To help separate fact from fiction, you can have your questions answered by trained professionals:Harris County residents can get the latest information by calling Harris County Public Health’s dedicated hotline at 832-927-7575 (9 am to 7 pm everyday)You can also text CV19 to 888777 to get text updates directly from Ready HarrisCity of Houston residents are encouraged to contact 832-393-4220 (9 am to 7pm M-F, 9 am to 3pm on Saturday)Additionally uninsured residents of unincorporated Harris County can call the “Ask My Nurse” hotline for clinical-related questions at 713-634-1110 (9 am to 7 pm everyday)

Finally, everyone should have access to quality, affordable medical care. Consider the tough decisions our neighbors may need to make in the coming days. Deciding not to go to work when you don’t have sick time or paid leave means losing money that pays the mortgage or buys groceries. This is another reminder why I am committed to continuing to fight for fair wages and benefits for everyone. I will also continue to use my voice to advocate for policies that make our health care system more equitable, affordable and accessible so that every family can focus on their health first. Despite this time of concern, I am eternally grateful for the dedicated, experienced public health officials in Harris County working around the clock to contain the spread of this illness and keep our families safe. We are immeasurably better because of their talent and dedication to our community. Times like these can be difficult but they also present the opportunity to bring more hope, acceptance and love into the world. I hope that we will use this opportunity to support our loved ones, friends and neighbors and do our part to prevent the spread of this illness.