BEAUMONT, Texas — This article contains ongoing U.S. and international updates on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. Here are some key updates for Wednesday, July 15, 2020. You can find more details by scrolling through the story which we are updating throughout the day. The newest items will be at the top.
Here are the latest updates from around Southeast Texas, Texas, Louisiana and some from the world (all times are local Central Daylight Time)
July 15, 3:30 p.m. – A new tool developed by Georgia Tech allows people to look up their risk of encountering COVID-19 at event, based on the county they live in.
The interactive map allows users to choose a county anywhere in the United States, choose the event size (anywhere from 10 people to 10,000), and then calculate the risk that at least one COVID-19 positive person will be present.
July 15, 12 p.m. – Two coronavirus related deaths are being reported in Southeast Texas on Wednesday.
The Port Arthur Health Department reported the third COVID-19 related death from Nederland in a news release.
The first COVID-19 related death in Newton County was reported by the Jasper-Newton County Public Health District on a Facebook post.
July 15, 10 a.m. – Walmart and Sam's Club have announced that customers will soon be required to wear masks or face coverings when entering any of their stores.
The new requirement will take effect Monday, July 20 across the U.S, Walmart COO Dacona Smith and Sam's Club COO Lance de la Rosa said in a joint statement.
The companies noted that currently about 65% of their locations are in areas where there is some form of local mandate on face coverings, so this new requirement is meant to "help bring consistency across stores and clubs."
July 15, 9:15 a.m. – Texas teachers, parents and staff are participating in a sit-in protest at the Texas State Capitol on July 15 to "strongly urge" the Texas Education Agency and Gov. Greg Abbott to reconsider reopening schools for in-person learning. Most teachers told KVUE's Mari Salazar they want classes to stay online until COVID-19 cases decrease.
July 15, 8 a.m. – A first-grade teacher is one of thousands in Arizona to lose her life to the COVID-19 virus. She may have unknowingly passed it onto two of her fellow teachers while they were teaching a summer class online.
Byrd thought she had a nasal infection that turned out to be the coronavirus – she passed away the following weekend. The other teachers later tested positive.
July 15, 6:30 a.m. – Coronavirus testing is available today and tomorrow in Orange County and no appointment is needed.. Testing runs from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center at 11475 FM1442 in Orange.
RELATED: Where can I get a COVID-19 test?
July 15, 6 a.m. – As the number of coronavirus cases spike in parts of the country, even forcing some states to re-close certain businesses, many are wondering whether Congress will pass a second round of stimulus checks.
Over the next several weeks, Congress seems poised to pass one more major economic relief bill, with Republican and Democratic leaders indicating more direct stimulus payments for Americans could be involved.
President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have both said repeatedly that they support another round of economic impact payments.
July 15, 5 a.m. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he'll begin to roll out details of the new COVID-19 relief package to senators as soon as next week and suggested it will include new funding for school reopenings, some unemployment benefits and money for health care providers.
Expected to hit $1 trillion, the emerging Republican package shows shifting priorities as the pandemic crisis deepens nationwide. Once reluctant to approve more aid, Republicans and the White House now say more is needed.
July 15, 4 a.m. – It’s time to do your taxes — no more delays.
As the coronavirus pandemic took hold this spring, the federal government postponed the traditional April 15 filing deadline until July 15.
The move provided some economic and logistical relief for taxpayers dealing with the disruptions and uncertainty brought on by lockdowns, school closures and shuttered businesses. But now that new deadline is today.
Taxpayers must file or seek an extension by the new deadline or face a penalty. The IRS is expecting about 150 million returns from individuals and as of last count, it had received almost 142 million.
Here’s the breakdown by county of coronavirus cases for the eight-county Southeast Texas region...
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Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...
- The air by coughing or sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Help stop the spread of coronavirus
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Eat and sleep separately from your family members
- Use different utensils and dishes
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
- If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash
Lower your risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.