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City of Houston launches 'Better Together' health campaign to slow spread of COVID-19

Health workers will begin going door to door in Houston neighborhoods to share information about stopping the spread of the coronavirus.

HOUSTON — The City of Houston launched an emergency outreach campaign Thursday to help "empower Houstonians with knowledge and skills to protect their families and the community from the COVID-19 pandemic."

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the multilingual Better Together (Todos Juntos. Mejor) campaign will include educational materials distributed throughout the city. 

As the coronavirus continues to spread at an uncontrollable rate, the devastating impact on the Hispanic community is especially troublesome.

"Thousands of our family and friends have been sickened – some with long-term consequences – and hundreds of Houstonians have had their lives cut short," Turner said.

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Turner said hospitalizations are down but public spread is still going in the wrong direction and we need to come together to curb it.

He's hoping the 21-day, six-language campaign can help drop the positivity rate from 23% to 5% by the end of August.

The “Better Together” campaign urges Houstonians to do all four preventative steps you’ve heard recommended for months:

  • Wear a mask
  • Socially distance
  • Wash your hands
  • Get tested if you feel sick or were exposed

The city reported 15 additional deaths Thursday bringing the total to 432.

“Everyone must do their part to slow the spread of this disease. We owe it to ourselves, our families, our friends, and our communities,” Health Department spokesman Porfirio Villarreal said. “The quicker we get COVID-19 infections under control, the quicker we can get our businesses, churches and schools open again. If we work quickly and work together, we will be ‘Better Together.’”

Officials said that will help the city’s contact tracers as will requiring a shorter turnaround time for test results in their contracts with vendors.

“Longer times were because of federal contractors we were using,” Stephen Williams, director of the Houston Health Department, said. “That turnaround was around two weeks, that’s not acceptable.”

The Houston Health Department campaign also includes public service announcements and billboards targeted to our most vulnerable residents.

Spanish-speaking health department employees are equipped to provide information on contact tracing procedures, food distribution sites, financial and housing assistance and domestic issues.