RodeoHouston closing amid coronavirus concerns

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The Houston Health Department announced an emergency health declaration Wednesday that shut down the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, an event that draws more than 2 million visitors a year.
The organization said it would close the gates for the event, which had already drawn 566,405 visitors as of Monday, at 4 p.m. Wednesday. In a joint press conference with city and Harris County officials, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the declaration means the cancellation of all city-sponsored and approved events through the end of March, including the Tour de Houston, town hall meetings, and, presumably, the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
“The health and safety of the people in our region are paramount,” he said.
The decision to close came when a case was confirmed in Montgomery County Tuesday that cannot be traced to foreign travel like the current six cases in Harris County and six cases in Fort Bend County. Turner called it, “a change of circumstance.”
Houston Rodeo officials issued a public statement in regard to the closure:
“In the interest of public health, the City of Houston and the Houston Health Department have ordered the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to close. The rodeo will respectfully and dutifully comply with the city’s order.
“The rodeo is deeply saddened; however, the safety and well-being of our guests and our community is our top priority. Out of precaution, the city has decided that this is the best course of action for our community.
“The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been a fabric of this community since 1932. Having to close early is extremely difficult as guests, volunteers, exhibitors, rodeo athletes and entertainers look forward to the 20 days of the rodeo each year.
“We look forward to the 2021 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to continue to promote agriculture, education, entertainment and Western heritage. We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Updates will be posted at rodeohouston.com/2020.”
An hour before the press conference began the World Health Organization updated its status of

Sealy and Austin County
The Sealy News has reached out to Austin County officials and is awaiting a response as to plans and preparations in the county.
Sealy High School FFA advisor Troy Oliver said he is at the rodeo today (Wednesday) with his students who were planning to show animals. He is still trying to sort out what will happen with them. Ryan Reichardt, president of the Sealy ISD Board of Trustees, shared a memo emailed to faculty and staff by Superintendent Sheryl Moore. She said the district is closely monitoring the situation with state health officials.
“While the media speaks in generalities, causing panic, we are receiving very specific and targeted information for our area. At this time, the best defense is personal hygiene and common sense. We do have 30 days of antiviral disinfectants that we will use in the event of an actual case of COVID-19 in our immediate area, but it would not be wise to use it up in advance of when it is necessary. Please help be a voice of calm and reason in the community. We are on top of this and receiving guidance from departments that have the most up-to-date information,” Moore wrote.
She also forwarded information from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Those guidelines include:

What You Can Do to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
While there is no community-wide spread of COVID-19 in PHR 6/5s at this time, everyone can still do their part to respond to this emerging public health threat.
Currently, a vaccine is not available for COVID-19. Until a vaccine is developed, non-pharmaceutical interventions can help slow the spread.
Non-pharmaceutical interventions include:
1) personal protective measures,
2) community measures aimed at social distancing, and
3) environmental measures.
Personal Protective Measures: voluntary home isolation of ill persons, voluntary home quarantine of exposed household members, covering nose/members when coughing or sneezing, hand hygiene, using face masks in community settings when ill.
Community Measures: school dismissals, social distancing in workplaces, postponing or canceling mass gatherings.
Environmental Measures: routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces
At this time, some of the non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as school dismissals or canceling mass gatherings, may not be necessary until there is evidence of a community-wide spread.

What to Do if You or a Loved One Becomes Sick
Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing AND have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread.
Tell your healthcare professional about your recent travel or contact.
Your healthcare professional will work with the health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.
• Stay home except to get medical care.
• Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
• Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes.
• Clean your hands often.
• Avoid sharing personal household items.
• Clean all “high touch” surfaces everyday.
• Monitor your symptoms.
• Adhere to home isolation precautions, unless otherwise instructed by your healthcare provider and state/local health department.
Additional information can be found at the official DSHS State Coronavirus Hotline (1-877-570-9779) or DSHS State Coronavirus Inbox (coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov).
Both the DSHS State Coronavirus Hotline and Inbox are staffed with qualified professionals that can answer questions from the public regarding COVID-19.

Bellville Medical Center Response To Coronavirus
In response to the current Coronavirus concern, Bellville Medical Center wants to assure the public that we are in constant contact with the State, the CDC and the local medical community regarding actions and recommendations to follow. We have had internal discussions to determine any steps to be taken and will continue to follow all protocols . Bellville Medical Center is prepared to deal with Coronavirus in accordance with CDC and State Health Department recommendations.

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