Houston Woman Wire

NEWS Mayor Turner invites Tesla to move headquarters to Houston

Mayor Sylvester Turner sent a letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk today inviting him to bring SpaceX and his company’s headquarters and manufacturing facility to Houston.

This comes after Musk recently tweeted his frustration with the regulatory environment in California by threatening to move manufacturing and headquarter operations to Texas or Nevada. With Houston’s strengths in manufacturing, energy transition, and aerospace, the region presents a strong value proposition. Mayor Turner’s invitation allows Musk to consider a unique opportunity to consolidate Tesla and SpaceX operations in Houston.

“Houston is the Energy Capital of the World and is known as Space City for a reason. Moving Tesla and SpaceX to our city makes perfect sense,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We are unique in that we can offer Elon Musk a single solution for his operations. Moving the companies to Houston would be a huge boon to our local economy. We have a diverse and skilled talent base powered by a workforce of nearly 3.5 million. We went from a cotton, rice and rail hub to the Energy Capital of the World, to a global center for bio-medical breakthroughs and we’re now entering a new frontier in becoming home to imagination and innovation. Tesla and SpaceX fit in to our vision for Houston’s economic future.”

NEWS Harris County Judge announces framework to guide COVID-19 containment efforts

Today, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced a three-point framework designed to contain the spread of COVID-19 as a phased approach to reopen the economy across Texas begins to ramp up. The framework contains three key components, including increased tracing of positive cases, enhanced testing capacity and continued efforts to ensure there is enough healthcare capacity to weather a spike in cases.

“If the economy will begin opening May 1, in order to keep it open, it’s vital we follow a smart containment strategy that ensures our systems are prepared to identify, test, and treat those who are sick,” said Hidalgo. “Achieving containment that is sustainable will be a tall order given the May 1st timeline, and we cannot afford to erase the gains our community has sacrificed so much to achieve. Harris County will do everything possible to preserve what we have accomplished thus far, and this framework will help us get there.”

The framework, developed with input from public health officials and policy experts, will work to expand the county’s ability to identify, test and treat residents. It will do so by focusing on enhancing County capacity to identify and isolate new cases by tracing the contacts of infected individuals, testing higher-risk community members and closely tracking key indicators of disease spread and hospital capacity. The goal is to ensure that COVID-19 cases are contained, and hospital admissions continue to decline.

As part of the plan, Harris County will immediately begin recruiting hundreds of new contact tracers to identify and support isolation efforts. The contact tracers will work to locate everyone in contact with infected residents and ensure they are tested and/or self-isolating for at least 14 days. At the same time, Harris County will continue to expand the availability of testing for anyone who has reason to believe that they may be infected, including close contacts of individuals who test positive, and other higher-risk groups.

The three key components of the framework include:

Harris County will continue to increase testing capacity in coordination with public and private sources to ensure the availability of widespread, affordable, and efficient testing.

As part of this effort, yesterday the county announced a “strike team” to deploy testing to congregate settings like nursing homes along with two additional pop-up testing locations. These testing sites add to the existing two pop-up locations and two fixed testing locations in Katy and in Baytown. Beginning this week, the county will have the ability to test up to 1,600 residents per day and will continue to advocate for more testing resources.

In order to test all new cases and their contacts with existing resources, it is imperative that the number of new cases remain at below 100 per day.

Harris County will exponentially expand its epidemiological workforce, which has already been scaled up from pre-COVID levels. As part of the effort,  Harris County will recruit about 300 contact tracers, with the ability to expand as needed. Potential sources of additional workforce include temporary hires, contractors, existing Harris County staff and volunteers, all of whom will be hired by qualified epidemiologists and other staff.

Harris County will continue to work with healthcare providers and other partners to ensure that healthcare capacity is in place as part of planning for another wave of infections. While the curve of hospital admissions has not decreased to the safest level recommended by local healthcare experts, the county will work to maximize resources given the current circumstances.

In addition, Harris County will continue to track the rate of infection and hospitalization to understand the potential progression of COVID-19 and to gauge the possibility of a spike in cases. This information will inform advocacy efforts as well as additional actions the county may take to restrict or loosen public health measures to protect the health and safety of our community. Harris County is working with several research organizations as part of this effort. The goal is to also continue tracking total hospital beds, ICU beds, ventilators and other metrics to support our planning work.

For additional information, visit ReadyHarris.org.

NEWS Harris County Judge orders wearing of masks for next 30 days

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has issued an order requiring residents to wear masks when in public for the next 30 days, beginning on Monday, April 27, 2020. The order requires individuals over the age of 10 to wear a face covering, which can be a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief, when outside the home. Medical masks or N-95 respirators are not recommended as they are needed for health-care workers and first responders. 

Masks should cover the nose and mouth, and must be worn except when an individual is exercising or engaging in physical activity outside alone or when alone in a separate indoor or outdoor space, eating, drinking or driving, or when doing so poses a threat to one's health, mental health or safety. Masks are not required when an individual is in the presence of only members of their own residence.

“’When it comes to fighting this virus, each of us is capable of committing heroic acts by making adjustments in how we live our daily life,” said Judge Hidalgo. “Steps like wearing a face covering, getting tested,and staying home save lives and reduce transmissions, which will get our economy back online sooner. I’m heartened by the number of residents who have already been following guidance to wear face coverings, but we are in this for the long haul. The best way to get our economy back up and running again - and keep it open - is by making sure we’re working together to prevent the spread of this virus. Wearing face coverings is a vital piece of our playbook.” 

The order comes as an uptick in hospital admissions indicates the region has not yet reached the peak of the Coronavirus outbreak. During the past week, the county has doubled its testing capacity and dispatched mobile testing units to all four precincts. 

To view the order or for information on how to make your own face covering, visit readyharris.org.

NEWS TUTS to present Tommy Tunes Awards as online show on Tuesday April 28

The annual celebration of high school musical theatre in the Greater Houston area, is going online. In response to Harris County's active stay-at-home order, due to the coronavirus cris, event organizer Theare Under The Stars will live-stream the awards show on Ruesday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. on the Theatre Under The Stars Facebook page and on the YouTube Channel. The event was originally scheduled ot take place at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

"The Tommy Tune Awards is the ultimate celebrtion of high school musical theatre inour city, with typically over 2,500 young people from across Houston in attendance," said Israel Jimenez, director of community engagement for TUTS. "We knew we had to find a creative way to give these kids a very special evening during this difficult time."

In addtion to the annoucement of this year's winners during the online event, college scholarships will also be awarded to a talented group of graduating seniors who plan to pursue careers in the arts.

"We'll be featuring at-home performances from local high school students, clips of the productions nominated for Best Musical and some very special Broadway guests. There will be many surprises during the show," aid Olson Scott Kelly, TUTS' artistic associate and director of the Tommy Tunes Awards show.

The Tommy Tune Awards Program celebrates the educational value, artistry and community of high school musical theatre in the Greater Houston area. After evaluating the 46 paticipating Houston-area high school productions during the 2019-2020 schol year, a team of 36 Houston-based theatre professionals nominated students in 15 award categories. A complee list of rthe nominees for the 2020 Tommyt Tune Awards is avaiable online at www.TUTS.com/TTA.







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