Due to the surging COVID-19 case numbers in Texas, we’re sharing these resources with you in order to make sure you have updated and accurate information to keep you and your loved ones and community safe and healthy over the holidays:
The Houston Health Department and its agency partners are announcing the schedule for sites offering free COVID-19 tests the week of December 14, 2020. The week will offer 19 FREE+FAST+SAFE testing sites across Houston.
Houston Health Department
The Houston Health Department will offer drive-thru testing at two surge sites affiliated with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star Drive, and Houston Community College – North Forest, 6010 Little York Rd., will offer nasal self swab tests Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Appointments are available at doineedacovid19test.com and on-site registration is also available. Each site has a daily capacity of 1,250 tests.
The department also offers free drive-thru testing via self-nasal swab at the Aramco Services Company, 9009 W. Loop South. The mega testing site will open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The site has a daily capacity of 1,000 tests.
People wanting to get tested at the Aramco site can call the department’s COVID-19 Call Center at 832-393-4220.
The department will offer testing at three community sites that don’t require appointments and remain open until each reaches its daily capacity of 250 tests. The sites and their hours of operation are:
Holy Ghost Catholic Church, 6921 Chetwood Drive, Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., drive thru or walk up, self-nasal swab,
Melrose Community Center, 1001 Canino Rd., Tuesday-Thursday. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., drive thru, self-nasal swab, and
Unity of Houston Church, 2929 Unity Dr., Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. drive thru or walk up, self-nasal swab.
The department will provide self-nasal swab testing at the METRO Addicks Park & Ride, 14230 Katy Freeway, and the Multicultural Center, 951 Tristar Drive, city of Webster. Appointments are available by calling the department’s call center at 832-393-4220.
Texas Division of Emergency Management
Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Houston Astros offer self-oral swab tests daily at Minute Maid Park (Lot C), 2208 Preston. The testing site’s capacity is 1,200 tests per day.
The site features evening hours twice a week, eight drive-thru testing lanes and four walk-up testing lanes. It opens 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday and from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Spanish-speaking staff is available on-site.
Visit curative.com to set an appointment or obtain more information. On-site registration is also available.
TDEM and the department will also operate drive-thru sites offering tests Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at:
HCC – Northeast Campus, 555 Community College Drive, self-mouth swab tests, and
HCC – South Campus, 1990 Airport Blvd., nasal swab tests by healthcare professionals.
TDEM and the department offer drive thru, nasal-swab tests administered by healthcare professionals at LeRoy Crump Stadium, 12321 Alief Clodine Rd. The site is open Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Federally Qualified Health Centers
The health department is providing test kits, lab access and equipment to 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:
HOPE Clinic, 713-773-0803
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
Scarsdale Family Health Center, 281-824-1480.
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 testing 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.
Houston Health Department & Community-Based Sites: Two free drive-thru COVID-19 community-based testing sites open to anyone Monday through Saturday, regardless of symptoms. Each site has capacity for 500 tests per day. Call 832-393-4220 between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. to receive an access code and directions to the nearest community-based site.
Houston Health Department hotline for COVID-19 questions: 832-393-4220 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Staff can answer questions in English and Spanish; follow up in other languages; and will return voice messages left after hours.
We hope you have been taking advantage of the resources we’ve shared on the http://HOUimpact.com app, on LinkedIn, and on Facebook. We’re doing our best to keep you updated and prepared for whatever comes next. As a global network, we are lucky to have the infrastructure in place to cooperate and act around the world. All Impact Hubs are implementing health and security protocols to support their local communities. We are also leveraging our virtual platform with a group dedicated to all things COVID-19, providing a safe space for open sharing of questions, assets, and best practices that we can then share with you.
To continue serving you locally through the coronavirus COVID-19 sequestering, we’re working to move our events, resources and support online, and are postponing any major celebrations. Our team will reassess policies on a weekly basis and share updates via newsletter, our Global and Local apps, and social media.
While we scale back on in-person meetings, we plan to scale UP on knowledge exchange and resource sharing online. Since Day 1, we’ve been dedicated to meeting people where they are, and practicing radical collaboration, inclusion, and equitable entrepreneurial support. Now, more than ever, we are committed to helping you access the resources and opportunities you need to survive this and thrive beyond it. If you’d like to be the first to know about new resources or updates as they evolve, please join us on http://HOUimpact.com — we are offering this app for FREE to the Greater Houston community to connect and collaborate! (* Impact Hub Members: You get a private group for special mentoring sessions, and still receive free access to any of our virtual workshops! *)
To stay safe, informed, and get help in the Greater Houston area:
Houston Public Media has a dedicated coronavirus page for live updates, 24/7: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/coronavirus/. It includes a guide from PBS on ways to talk to children about the outbreak, and bilingual information from the CDC.
The Houston Health Department has opened up a hotline for questions about COVID-19. Call 832-393-4220 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Staff can answer questions in English and Spanish; follow up in other languages; and will return voice messages left after hours.
We believe that this crisis offers our city and community the opportunity to focus resources towards solving not just for the pandemic, but also for some of Houston’s already-existing issues, from public health and wellness to learning and resource accessibility to mobility disparity to entrepreneurial funding and support. To that end, we’re adding special programs and making vital resources available online for you to continue connecting, ideating, and developing your solution and business through this time…and beyond:
We will continue to work with you to make sure that you are leveraging your benefits to address current challenges and minimize any disruption to your business. Please search your inbox for the invitation to the private Impact Hub Houston Members Group on http://houimpact.com, or contact us directly if you need specific help.
Regarding work spaces: Please try to reschedule or move any non-essential office visits online; and avoid the spaces entirely if you feel ill. If you still need a space to meet IRL, please contact Michelle. Help keep our community safe and healthy so we can all keep doing the work we love!
If you know of any resources and opportunities that we can help share for entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits, creatives and freelancers to maintain their work, livelihood, and mission from the safety of home, please post it in http://HOUimpact.com or send it to us at [email protected]
It has always been Impact Hub’s vision to catalyze collective action for a better world. Now, more than ever, we must unite through compassionate leadership and collaborative action to strengthen and support our communities. Please take care of yourselves, your neighbors, and your local businesses and entrepreneurs. When Hurricane Harvey hit, we came through it together. Together, we’ll survive this, too! #HoustonStrong
Here for you and wishing you well,
Grace, Michelle, and the Impact Hub Houston community
The World Health Organization (WHO) predicted the next epidemic. Not as a matter of if, but as a question of when. Globalization and our lifestyles in the 21st century exacerbate the risks and spread of infectious diseases. The good news is that it is manageable. The bad news is that with unequal access to quality healthcare services, the ability to travel around the world at a fast pace, forced migration due to conflict and natural disasters, global trade, homelessness, and growing global population; we can expect to continue experiencing epidemics for the foreseeable future.
What makes epidemics in the 21st century more dangerous than they were in the past, and the potential for them to become pandemics, is our ability to travel from one side of the world to the other and introduce a new disease to multiple populations before even showing symptoms. In 2015, it took just one traveler returning home to South Korea from spending time in the Middle East to bring MERS back with him. The consequences: a national outbreak, 186 cases, 36 deaths, and outbreak-related losses of approximately US$ 8 billion, all in the space of two months.
Given our history, WHO predicts, with a high degree of certainty, that when the next epidemic comes, there will be:
an initial delay in recognizing it;
a serious impact on travel and trade;
a public reaction that includes anxiety, or even panic and confusion, and
So what can you do to protect yourself at work and prevent the spread of infectious diseases?
Washing your hands thoroughly with soap is the most important preventative action you can take. Make sure you scrub the back of your hands, palms, fingertips and nails, in-between your fingers and your thumbs. Use hand sanitizer if you’re in a situation where hand washing is not an option. Try to wash your hands after touching any common items like door handles, shared desks and coffee pot. If you’re not sure whether you’re washing your hands correctly, watch this video.
Do not touch your face, nose, eyes and mouth as this provides a pathway for infection. This is easier said than done. The Director of the Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department in California recommended the same advice during a press conference on Feb 28 before subconsciously licking her finger to turn the page. The NY Times shared 4 tips to help you break the habit or you could try a different approach if you work on your laptop all day concocted by DoNotTouchYourFace.com.
Avoid touching or being in the close vicinity of anyone who shows symptoms including coughing, sneezing, and runny nose. If you usually offer events for people who frequent high-risk areas or work in a high-risk area yourself, you might want to consider offering online webinars instead. This could actually help your business grow in the long run by making your sales pitch scaleable.
Use an alcohol-based cleaning spray to wipe down shared surfaces such as meeting room desks, chairs and door handles in-between use. People invariably tend to spray saliva when they talk and coronavirus is thought to be spread through moisture droplets, so make sure you wipe down surfaces in conversational areas before touching them. While this protects you from anything left behind from the previous meeting, you need to continue to protect yourself during your meeting as well. Remember to sit at least 1 meter away from other people. This is easiest done by choosing a conference room with a large table and facing away from the person sitting closest to you when you speak.
Avoid crowds to reduce your risk of infection from others. This could mean going to work earlier or later to avoid peak hour travel on public transportation. If you have flexible working hours and a busy workplace, you could try working earlier in the morning or later in the evening. International conferences around the world with over 1000 expected guests are being canceled. If you follow the recommended hygiene advice, events shouldn’t pose too much of a risk as long as you are not mingling with people who have recently traveled to high-risk areas and have not self-isolated.
Avoid traveling to high-risk areas. If you do have to travel, make sure you self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work to make sure you’re not infected. This period of self-quarantine is to make sure you don’t spread an infectious disease before any symptoms appear. Opt for virtual meetings with international colleagues or frequent travelers if you can to avoid putting yourself at risk.
If you are sick, work from home and avoid visiting public places and events to prevent spreading your infection to others. You could experience very mild symptoms but other people might not be so lucky. High-risk factors aside from age are not always obvious to the eye so the best way to protect others is to stay away from other people. Isolation alone is suggested by studies to have a greater impact than all other interventions.
Do not go to the hospital if you think you could be contagious. Always call ahead and follow the advice given to you by a medical practitioner. It’s important that you provide advanced notice so front line staff can prepare and protect themselves from being infected. It takes years to train new doctors and nurses and if they get sick, it puts a far greater burden on the remaining staff which can weaken the healthcare system.
Go to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to read more about how the Swedish Government is taking action and find frequently asked questions about international travel. You’ll need to translate the Swedish website as the information is not currently available in English.
“Can we create a pandemic-free world? There is no such thing as a guarantee, but with meticulous preparation and rapid response, we can prevent most outbreaks from getting out of control, and limit the impact of those that spread internationally.” – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization