2020 has not been the easiest year and just as we feel that things will get better, things seem to get worse. The Holidays are among us and to be honest, things seem “off” it’s understandable. I don’t think any of us imagined finishing this year almost in the exact place as we started. We never really had a chance to begin crossing off those goals we planned back in January. I know that it just doesn’t seem right to even start planning for 2021 but let me tell you how we can end the year on a perhaps somewhat promising note.
COVID Safety has been our number one priority this year and the BEST thing we can do as a community is to continue to protect not only our community but more importantly our loved ones, our elderly family members and our children.
I know that we are all over our current situation and that we might be tired of hearing the same messages over and over, but the only way we will be able to overcome this pandemic and more importantly make it safely through the end of 2020 and into 2021 as we attempt to create a new norm of celebrations and festivities.
Some things you already know but should keep in mind are the following; just some reminders and information for us all to read and share with our family and friends.
Please see below messaging from the Harris County Health Department that we should all keep in mind:
"Do your part and protect your loved ones by wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands and getting tested simultaneously and consistently. Only when combining the four will we reduce the impact of the virus on you, your family and your community. Doing one or the other will not suffice; these preventive tactics work BETTER TOGETHER."
As we have all had to start leaving our homes, we should remember the following and more importantly right now during the Holiday break:
• Wear a mask or cloth face covering when in public. Your mask helps protect people around you, and their masks help protect you.
• Social distance by staying at least six feet away from other people.
• Wash hands often with soap and water. When you cannot wash your hands, use hand sanitizer.
• Get tested. It’s FREE, safe and confidential and you don’t need insurance or proof of citizenship.
Visit https://houstonemergency.org/todos-juntos-mejor/ or call 832-393-4220 for information on how to get tested and to schedule an appointment at one of the locations across the city.
Remember that as members of our community we have a responsibility to your own family and friends to keep them safe. The only way we can do this is together…. Because we are…Better Together/Todos Juntos. Mejor!
Testing Information can be found at the following resources:
• The Houston Health Department and agency partners offer free testing sites across the city.
• Visit HoustonEmergency.org or call 832-393-4220 for information on how to get tested. We have support team members who speak Spanish available.
• Getting tested at Houston Health Department-affiliated sites is free and does not require proof of residency, citizenship, or insurance.
• COVID-19 services will not be factored against immigrants in their public charge evaluation.
• Getting tested empowers you to protect your family, friends and community.
If you or a loved one tests positive and cannot work, here’s where you can go for help:
o Houston Food Bank offers services for families that have been affected by COVID-19, in addition to the numerous locations in the city that distribute food, produce and prepared meals. The Houston Food Bank employs certified navigators who assist with SNAP applications, utility assistance and rental assistance.
o Lone Star Legal Aid can assist with COVID-19-related eviction and foreclosure information, unemployment compensation, public benefits and domestic violence situations.
o 211 Texas/United Way HELPLINE is a free helpline operated in many languages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by United Way of Greater Houston. Trained specialists provide information and referrals from a range of social service organizations.
BEST PRACTICES FOR WHEN YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW TEST POSITIVE:
• If you or a family member has tested positive, it is vitally important that you work with the Houston Health Department to contact trace anyone with whom you’ve been in contact.
• Contact tracing is easy to do. Making a choice to work with contact tracers helps protect your family and your community by slowing the spread of COVID-19.
• If you test positive for COVID-19, a contact tracer from your local health department will contact you by phone, email or text message. There may be resources available to help you during the period of isolation (i.e., help you find a free place to stay and self-isolate).
• The contact tracer will check in on your health, discuss with whom you’ve been in close contact and ask you to stay at home to self-isolate.
• The contact tracer then contacts the people with whom you had close contact to ask if they have symptoms and offer guidance about testing and quarantine.
• Unless you give permission, your name will not be given to those you identify as close contacts.
• Information gathered through contact tracing is not used for any other purpose.
• It’s important to be forthcoming with the contact tracer, as the information is vital to stopping the spread of the disease.
• Contact tracers will never ask for your citizenship status, social security number, bank account information or credit card number.
• Your Information is Safe o No one from the Houston Health Department will ever ask you about your citizenship or immigration status.
o COVID-19 testing does not affect Green Card status or application for a permanent residency card. Undocumented individuals will not be deported if they test positive.
VISIT THE FOLLOWING SITES FOR ALL THE MOST UP TO DATE INFORMATION: