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The Texas Department of State Health Services has received and distributed 14,780 doses of the monkey pox vaccine to local health departments and DSHS regional offices. Another 27,000 doses could be made available by the Strategic National Stockpile.
The disease causes a serious skin rash with painful lesions and appears to be spreading through direct contact with the skin or saliva of an infected person. The disease is preventable by avoiding skin contact with someone who has the disease.
“Risks include having sex, kissing or hugging someone with monkeypox or sharing cups, utensils, bedding or towels with them,” according to DSHS.
Through July 29, a total of 5,189 monkeypox cases have been reported nationwide, with 351 of those in Texas. While certainly painful, monkeypox is very rarely fatal.
Five Texas courthouses get restoration grants
The Texas Historical Commission has announced $22.5 million in grants to five counties to aid in preservation and restoration of their historic courthouses. Four of the counties — Hall, Kimble, Upshur and Wise — received construction grants for full restoration. Comanche County received a planning grant that will be used to prepare for a future full restoration.
Throughout the state, 104 counties have received grants from the THC program, with $350 million allotted to fund the full restoration of 78 courthouses and smaller grants to assist with planning and emergency needs given to another 26 counties.
Fire danger remains high
Scattered rain in the upper Texas Panhandle, the Upper Gulf Coast and East Texas have lessened the fire danger somewhat in those areas, but the risk remains high with temperatures hovering above 100 degrees. There were 14 active wildfires as of Sunday, the largest still being the Chalk Mountain Fire in Somervell County, covering 6,746 acres and 53% contained, according to the forest service.
With 224 counties now under burn bans, officials are urging landowners to be extra vigilant about preventing fires. The Austin American-Statesman reported a spate of fires in Central Texas in recent days.
“We just want people to have a hyper sense of awareness,” Hank Jones, Williamson County Fire Marshal, told the Statesman.
Cedar trees can especially cause problems in Central Texas because they drop needles underneath that can quickly ignite. Homeowners are urged to consider limiting the use of cedar trees around their houses.
New COVID-19 cases drop in Texas
The number of new cases of COVID-19 in Texas dropped in the past week to 72,653, with 154 deaths reported, about even with the previous week, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at John Hopkins University.
The number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations rose slightly to 3,624 across the state, according to DSHS. The BA.5 variant is now prevalent in Texas and elsewhere but seems to have less serious effects, especially for people who have been fully vaccinated and boosted, according to health officials.