How do I begin to write to you about the week we just experienced? In Washington, as across the country, it was a week unlike any other—and one we must all make sure that we never experience again.
It was just a week ago today that I was sworn in as your representative for the 117th Congress of the United States. As the Congress began to organize itself this week—adopting the Rules that will govern our work for the next two years and appointing committees to do that work—we knew that the week would include the certification of electoral college results from each state.
What took place on Wednesday shocked the nation and the world. I wrote to you on Thursday about Wednesday’s events, although to me, it seemed like it was all the same day. That is because for me, in many ways, it was still the same very long day. Like many of you, I am continuing to learn about the events of that day—as we all are—from emerging reporting, photographs and footage of what was happening throughout our Capitol.
I am forever in the debt of the Capitol Police officers who saved my life on Wednesday as I sat in the Gallery of the House of Representatives, and I am heartbroken over the deaths of two officers arising from the events that day, and to the many more who were injured and are recovering. I hope you will keep all of them in your thoughts.
I will share more on my experience and my thoughts with you on these events again very soon.
What we saw in Washington this week represents a real and serious threat to our democracy. And at the same time, we continue to battle a real and serous threat to our lives and livelihoods presented by the coronavirus pandemic. I urge you to take all precautions to protect yourself and our neighbors.
The positivity rate in Harris County is 16.5 percent, and there are more than 37,000 active cases in our community. On Thursday, officials confirmed the first case of the new COVID-19 variant in Harris County, which is also the first case in Texas. Across Texas, 1 in 5 hospital beds are now occupied by COVID-19 patients. On Friday, and officials across the United States reported more than 300,000 new coronavirus cases in a day for the first time.
Harris County Public Health has received 10,000 COVID vaccines and is ramping up its distribution efforts. On Saturday, the Houston Health Department announced approximately 1,000 new COVID-19 vaccine appointments became available for Houstonians who meet the state's Phase 1A and Phase 1B criteria. All the slots were filled, but additional vaccination opportunities will be posted on HoustonEmergency.org/COVID19 as supply increases.
We are facing unprecedented challenges of enormous scope and importance. I am honored to represent you, and I hope that, in these difficult times, you will remember that I am here as a resource for you. My team and I are always glad to answer your questions, listen to your suggestions, and provide assistance whenever possible. You can contact us at any time by emailing here or by calling (713) 353-8680.
There are two federal grant opportunities that are open:
- PPP loan applications reopen tomorrow, Monday, January 11 for first-time borrowers and on Wednesday, January 13 for those who have already received and used funds. My office will be sharing info from SBA Houston and announcing webinars in the next few days.
- Applications for the Assistance To Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program are now open. Eligible fire departments and EMS organizations in should begin the application process today by clicking here. The deadline to apply is February 12.