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Governor: Seven-day numbers for COVID are down

From staff reports

According to a Facebook post by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the seven-day COVID positivity rate dropped even lower on Wednesday to 5.76%. That’s just .02% away from a 1-year record low.

The positivity rate has been below 7% for more than 2 weeks.

More than 61% of seniors, 36% of Texans ages 50-64, & 255,000 educators have received COVID shots.

According to local numbers for Orange County, the numbers are still rising but not at the alarming rate it was before the vaccination was made available.

According to the numbers released by Hardin County Public Health, the number of active cases of COVID-19 increased by 116 during the past week and the number of those recovered from the coronavirus remains at 7,356.

With 21 persons hospitalized due to the virus, the number is up by five from the previous week. Of those, six are on ventilators, which is four more than last week.

The grand total of COVID-19 cases in Orange County since March 2020 is now at 8,188.

According to a press release, in early April, FEMA will begin providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19) to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic. The policy was finalized today, and FEMA is now moving rapidly to implement this funeral assistance program nationwide.

“At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters,” said Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense grief for so many people. Although we cannot change what has happened, we affirm our commitment to help with funeral and burial expenses that many families did not anticipate.”

To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, the policy states:

  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020 for a death attributed to COVID-19.
  • If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual.
  • An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
  • The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
  • This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.
  • Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.

In the coming weeks, a dedicated 800 number will be established to help individuals who apply. In the meantime, potential applicants are encouraged to start gathering the following documentation:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States. The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19-like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
  • Funeral expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses and dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
  • Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs.  Funeral assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, federal/state/local/tribal/territorial government programs or agencies, or other sources.

With every passing day, the news on COVID-19 vaccine distribution seems to change. One reason is that distribution varies by state and territory. And scammers, always at the ready, are taking advantage of the confusion. Besides a big dose of patience, here are some tips to help you avoid a vaccine-related scam, no matter where you live:

  • Contact a trusted source for information. Check with state or local health departments to learn when and how to get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can also talk with your health care provider or pharmacist.
  • Don’t pay to sign up for the vaccine. Anyone who asks for a payment to put you on a list, make an appointment for you, or reserve a spot in line is a scammer.
  • Ignore sales ads for the COVID-19 vaccine. You can’t buy it – anywhere. The vaccine is only available at federal- and state-approved locations.
  • Watch for unexpected or unusual texts. If your health care provider or pharmacist has used text messages to contact you in the past, you might get a text from them about the vaccine. If you get a text, call your health care provider or pharmacist directly to make sure they sent the text. But scammers are texting, too. So don’t click on links in text messages – especially messages you didn’t expect.
  • Don’t open emails, attachments, or links from people you don’t know, or that come unexpectedly. You could download dangerous malware onto your computer or phone.
  • Don’t share your personal, financial, or health information with people you don’t know. No one from a vaccine distribution site, health care provider’s office, pharmacy, or health care payer, like a private insurance company or Medicare, will call, text, or email you asking for your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number to sign you up to get the vaccine.

Stay connected to stay informed. Subscribe to consumer alerts from the FTC. When you do, you’ll get updates delivered right to your email inbox.

If you know about a COVID-19 vaccine scam, let the FTC know at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Or, file a complaint with your state or territory attorney general through consumerresources.org, the consumer website of the National Association of Attorneys General.