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Cy-Fair COVID count still on the rise

The city of Houston released guidelines for celebrating Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic while case numbers continue to rise around Harris County and the state.

Numbers from the Texas Department of State Health Services showed a total of 5,760 new cases in Texas as of Friday, with an estimate of 88,206 active cases statewide. Harris County Public Health Data showed a total of 157,392 confirmed cases.

Despite rising numbers across the state and in Houston, the city of Houston put out guidelines for Houstonians on how best to safely trick or treat during the pandemic.


“The City of Houston is not canceling Halloween this year, but we are discouraging people from gathering in large groups. It is important that we keep the COVID-19 numbers moving in the right direction. This requires us to be smarter about how we trick-or-treat,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement. “Families and children can still have a ghoulish good time without jeopardizing their health and safety during the pandemic.”

One suggestion given in a news release by the Houston Health Department is placing goodie bags outside for children to pick up to limit the spread of contact.

Other suggestions from the department include virtual costume parties, and a scary movie night with household members. They also stated that people wearing costumes with masks still need to wear a cloth face mask covering the mouth and nose under their mask.

Numbers have gone up around Cy-Fair as well. Harris County Public Health Data shows the number of active cases rose from 962 to 1,098 as of 4 p.m. Friday.

The number of deaths increased slightly this well, from 91 to 93, their data showed.

Data was compiled using ZIP codes in the Cypress Creek Mirror’s coverage area: 77040, 77041, 77065, 77070, 77086, 77095, 77429, 77433. Of the ZIP codes collected, 77433 saw the sharpest increase, from 93 active cases to 127 active cases. The ZIP code with the highest number of active cases is still 77040, with a total of 258 active cases, and 77086 with the second highest number at 163.

The testing centers closest to Cypress this week are MAS Katy Center, 1800 Baker Road, which is offering testing between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Spring Creek Church of Christ, 14847 Brown Road in Tomball, which is offering testing from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday except for Wednesday.

Appointments are recommended but not required and can be scheduled at covidcheck.hctx.net.

paul.wedding@hcnonline.com

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HCDE lowers tax rate, continues services to CyFair ISD

For the sixth consecutive year, the Harris County Department of Education board of trustees voted unanimously to lower the tax rate.

“During these unprecedented times, I think it is important for residents of Harris County to know that we are in this together,” said HCDE Board President Eric Dick in a press release. “Many businesses are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Harris County Department of Education is going to tighten its belt and lead fellow school districts by example.”

Board member Mike Wolfe was not present for the first in-person meeting held on Sept. 17.


The county-wide education agency launched a “Because We Care” initiative distributing hand sanitizer, masks, and food supplies to residents. Dick also said they reinvested in teachers and their staff by increasing the minimum wage to $13.50. Their plan is to raise that to $15 in 2021.

“We’re also using record low bond rates to reinvest approximately $50 million in adult education,” Dick said, “including music therapy and additional services.”

Some of those services may feel the pinch of local districts budget cuts next year when fallout from the coronavirus expenditures are realized. No school districts have announced any cuts for the next school year, but HCDE staff is prepared to meet the challenge should it occur.

“I’m a little bit worried about school districts budgets next year,” said Carie Crabb, senior director of school-based therapy services for HCDE.

“We’ve lived through budget crunches and crises before. It happens pretty regularly in education. We’ll figure it out,” she said.

That meant picking up additional tasks and hours to meet the needs which lasted for a couple of years until things were back on track again.

“We’re pretty lean as we are, but if we have to reduce the number of therapists, we look at our processes and how we can make things more efficient to get the same amount of work done with fewer people,” she said.

While those services are subsidized by HCDE, they come at a rate much cheaper than what districts would pay for it in the market.

Currently Cypress Fairbanks ISD is the largest district with the most HCDE therapists at work for the district.

Crabb said they’ve been serving CFISD continuously with no break in service since 1978.

“Our business model is pretty efficient. I serve as the director and I have nine managers and we oversee more than 150 therapists who serve 33 school districts,” she said.

The management team stays on top of the best practices for their profession and any changes in the law which occur almost annually.

“If districts were left to do it on their own, it would take considerably more personnel. Our districts count on us to do this,” Crabb said.

Therapists are trained in the medical environment to work in hospitals and clinics. In a school district, the difference is enormous between an educational and medical model.

Therapists became necessary with the passage of the 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act.

“With

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More than 100 more cases identified in Cy-Fair

Hospitalizations for coronavirus are rising across Texas, but a recent poll shows that many Texas voters may not take a coronavirus vaccine if one is developed.

The poll, conducted by the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas, shows that only 42 percent of Texas voters would try to get the vaccine, the Tribune reported, while 36 percent said they would not. This is a drop from a previous poll they had conducted in June, which showed 59 percent of Texas voters would try to get the vaccine.


There is significant skepticism around a potential vaccine as well, the Tribune reported, with polling showing 41 percent think a COVID-19 vaccine would be provided before being proven safe and effective.

While Texas still waits for a vaccine, cases have still been going up around Cy-Fair. Data from Harris County Public Health shows a total of 962 active cases in the area as of 4 p.m. Friday, which is an increase of more than 100 cases since last week.

There were no more deaths from COVID-19 reported this week, however, with the number of deaths remaining stagnant at 91.

Data was compiled from the ZIP codes in the Cypress Creek Mirror’s coverage area: 77040, 77041, 77065, 77070, 77086, 77095, 77429 and 77433. The ZIP code with the highest number of cases, 77040, dropped this week from 242 to 234 active cases, but increases were seen in other ZIP codes like 77070, rising from 125 to 151 cases, and 77086, rising from 138 to 160 active cases.

Testing is being offered at Spring Branch Community in Cypress, 7777 Westgreen Blvd., from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Walk-ins are accepted but appointments are preferred. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 832-927-7575 or by going to covidcheck.hctx.net.

paul.wedding@hcnonline.com

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