June Newsletter

Hurricane Season Begins Today
Preparing for Hurricanes During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Planning for hurricane season and other potential disasters can be stressful. This year especially as the 2020 hurricane season comes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Houston Office of Emergency Management Website contains advice to help you safely prepare, evacuate, and shelter for severe storms while protecting yourself and others from COVID-19. Here are some tips to help you and your family stay safe during hurricane season this year.
Prepare for Hurricane Season
  • Understand that your planning may be different this year because of the need to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
  • Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medicine supplies. Home delivery is the safest choice for buying disaster supplies; however, that may not be an option for everyone. If in-person shopping is your only choice, take steps to protect your and others’ health when running essential errands.
  • Protect yourself and others when filling prescriptions by limiting in-person visits to the pharmacy. Sign up for mail order delivery or call in your prescription ahead of time and use drive-through windows or curbside pickup, if available.
  • Pay attention to local guidance about updated plans for evacuations and shelters, including potential shelters for your pets.
  • If you need to evacuate, prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, or bar or liquid soap if not available, and two cloth face coverings for each person. Face covers should not be used by children under the age of 2. They also should not be used by people having trouble breathing, or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • When you check on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations (staying at least 6 feet, about 2 arms’ length, from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.
  • If you need to go to a disaster shelter, follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stay Safe After a Hurricane
In addition to following guidance for staying safe and healthy after a hurricane, note that:
  • You should continue to use preventive actions like washing your hands and wearing a face covering during clean up or when returning home.
  • It may take longer than usual to restore power and water if they are out. Take steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning if you use a generator.
  • If you are injured or ill, contact your medical provider for treatment recommendations. Keep wounds clean to prevent infection. Remember, accessing medical care may be more difficult than usual during the pandemic.
  • Dealing with disasters can cause stress and strong emotions, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is natural to feel anxiety, grief, and worry. Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover.
  • People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration page
Stay Informed
  • Register for AlertHouston, the city’s official emergency alert system, to receive real-time weather alerts and post-storm recovery information.
  • More information about how to prepared for this year’s hurricane season is available here.
  • Visit www.houstonemergency.org/covid19 for more information about the city’s COVID-19 response.
  • Recovery information is available at www.houstonrecovers.org.
The City of Houston Disaster Preparedness Guide is a free resource available from OEM for all City residents and organizations. Click here to request preparedness materials.

Neuens Rd. Drainage & Paving Project
Interlocal Agreement and Funding Passes!

Great news for District A! On Wednesday, May 27, 2020, Council unanimously passed the interlocal agreement and funding for the design and construction of Neuens Road Drainage & Paving between Gessner and Blalock. This is the first phase of a five-phase project (see map below) that will impact Campbell Woods and Spring Shadows South where many homes flood repeatedly, some of which have flooded 8 times.
This is a joint project with Harris County. Mayor Turner and Commisioner Cagle are leveraging our tax dollars from the City and County for this project to get it done. This is not typically done, but both recognize that we can get so much more done by working together. Thank you also to former District A Council Member Brenda Stardig for starting this project!
I will continue advocating for the remaining four phases!

Free COVID-19 Test Sites

The Houston Health Department and its agency partners are announcing new sites offering free COVID-19 tests during first week of June.
Texas Division of Emergency Management
The Texas Division of Emergency Management and the department will open five drive-thru test sites:
  • Robinson Elementary, 12425 Woodforest Blvd., June 1 – 3
  • Herrera Elementary, 525 Bennington Street, June 4 – 6
  • Kashmere Gardens Elementary, 4901 Lockwood Dr., June 1 – 6
  • HCC-Northeast Campus, 555 Community College Dr., June 3 – 6
TDEM sites require appointments, available by calling 512-883-2400 or visiting txcovidtest.org. The sites will open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
United Memorial Medical Center
United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) will open a new drive-thru and walk-up test site at the Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star. UMMC will continue to offer drive-thru testing at its site at Houston Community College-Southeast, 6815 Rustic.
Each site will open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or until reaching its daily capacity of 250 tests. The sites don’t require appointments.
Other UMMC sites opening weekdays are:
  • UMMC Tidwell, 510 W Tidwell Rd., 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Forest Brook Middle School, 7525 Tidwell Rd, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Cullen Middle School, 6900 Scott St., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Griggs School, 801 Regional Park Dr., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
People needing information about UMMC test sites can call 1-866-333-COVID or visit ummcscreening.com.
Houston Health Department Mobile Unit & Community-Based Sites
The department will set up its mobile unit at the Magnolia Multi-Service Center, 7037 Capitol, June 2 – 6.
Mobile unit testing is set for weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or until reaching daily capacity of 100 tests. People don’t need an appointment to get a free COVID-19 test through the mobile unit, which offers drive-thru or walk-up options.
The department also operates two free drive-thru COVID-19 community-based testing sites open to anyone, regardless of symptoms. Each site has capacity for 500 tests per day.
New days of operation for the sites are Monday through Saturday. The sites will close on Sundays beginning May 31.
People can call the department’s COVID-19 Call Center at 832-393-4220 between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. to receive an access code and directions to the nearest community-based site or get more information about the department’s mobile unit.
Federally Qualified Health Centers
The health department is providing test kits, lab access and equipment to four local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) so they can expand their COVID-19 testing capacity. The centers and phone numbers people can call to set up testing appointments are:
  • Spring Branch Community Health Center, 713-462-6565
  • El Centro de Corazon, 713-660-1880
  • Avenue 360 Health and Wellness, 713-426-0027
  • Lone Star Circle of Care at the University of Houston, 346-348-1200 and
  • Community Health Network, 281-816-3317.
FQHC patients pay what they can afford, based on income and family size, and are not denied services due to inability to pay or lack of insurance.
The department and its agency partners may shift locations and schedules of test sites to better meet community needs. Houstonians can visit HoustonEmergency.org/covid19 for current Houston test sites and information about stopping the spread of the virus.
Information obtained through testing, treatment or services will not be used against immigrants in their public charge evaluation.

City of Houston Municipal Courts
Extends Suspension of All Jury Trials

In an effort to continue to encourage the health and safety of the public and court staff members from the spread of the COVID-19, the City of Houston Municipal Courts Department has extended the suspension of ALL JURY TRIALS through August 3, 2020 in conjunction with the Texas Supreme Court’s Order. The Court remains open for all other proceedings.
Members of the public should contact a health care provider and not come to court if they are experiencing symptoms similar to COVID-19. Once cleared by a physician, individuals may visit any City of Houston court location to speak with an Annex Judge to reset a case. Masks/facial coverings must be worn at all times within the courthouse facility. Temperatures will be taken before entry is granted. Please visit the Municipal Courts’ website at www.houstontx.gov/courts for continued updates on all court locations and hours of operation.
If your jury trial was scheduled from June 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020, resets will be given in person at all City of Houston court locations beginning Wednesday, July 1, 2020 through Friday, September 4, 2020 until 5 p.m. Please visit the Municipal Courts’ website at www.houstontx.gov/courts for information on all court locations and hours of operation. It is important to note that if an individual fails to reset their case(s) when Municipal Court resumes operations, an arrest warrant may be issued.
Through August 3, 2020, there will be:
  • NO JURY TRIALS. If you are a DEFENDANT scheduled for jury trial during this period, you do not have to appear. You must reschedule your setting in person no later than Friday, September 4, 2020 until 5:00 p.m., to receive a new court date. All jury trials will resume on Monday, August 3, 2020 unless further notification is provided. It is important to note that if an individual fails to reset their case(s) during the reset period by September 4, 2020, an arrest warrant may be issued.
  • NO JURY DUTY. If you have been scheduled for Jury Duty at the City of Houston Municipal Courts during the period of June 1, 2020-June 19, 2020 at the Central location at 1400 Lubbock or the Westside location at 3202 South Dairy Ashford, you do not have to appear, and you do not have to reschedule your jury service. Jury duty will resume Monday, August 3, 2020 unless further notification is provided.
For additional announcements and information please call the City of Houston Helpline at 3-1-1, or 713.837.0311 if outside of the City of Houston, or visit the Municipal Courts website at www.houstontx.gov/courts.

Upcoming Events

Fiscal Year 2021 Public Budget Hearing on June 3rd

To speak remotely at the FY2021 Budget Hearing on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
  • All speakers must register in advance (Wednesday June 3rd, 2020 by 8:30 a.m.). The hearing is posted to begin at 9:00 a.m. but may begin a little later.
  • If you did not register in advance, you will not be recognized to speak.
  • To sign up to speak, please call the City Secretary’s Office at 832-393-1100.
  • If you need translation services, please notify staff when registering.

MINDS-ON FUN TAKES PLACE OF HANDS-ON INTERACTIVES!

Children’s Museum Houston among first children’s museums in nation to reopen
Open June 3 and 4 for Museum Members; June 5 for everyone
Imagination, curiosity, creativity, and inspiration are not cancelled. Discovery happens at Children’s Museum Houston – A Playground for Your Mind™! The Museum will reopen its doors on June 3 after temporarily closing for nearly three months due to COVID19.  Following CDC, state, and local guidelines, the Museum reinvented the visitor experience using outside-of-the-box thinking to continue to provide a safe and imaginative place for learning. The Museum will be among the first children’s museums in the nation to reopen and will welcome Museum Members first on June 3 and 4. Then, the general public on June 5.