State Rep. Garnet Coleman provides health care update

State Rep. Garnet Coleman gave a health care legislative update held by the Fort Bend County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Oct. 22.

Mike Dotson, who serves as the chamber’s health care division chair, served as moderator during the lunchtime virtual event.

Voicing concerns over rising COVID-19 cases in Texas, Coleman said state governments have to function with balanced budgets and therefore depend on the federal government for areas like testing and for funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to help businesses during the pandemic.

Fort Bend County needs to do more to address testing people who have health conditions that put them at higher risk for death or complications if they develop COVID-19, Coleman said, adding that Texas could have expanded Medicaid temporarily to support testing for families whose budgets really have no room to pay for testing. Coleman also expressed concern that some people who have survived COVID-19 may face chronic conditions and need care indefinitely.

He said education is important, that communities must “continue to explain the symptoms, continue to explain how you get exposed, continue to explain that those lucky enough to be able to work from home, work from home.”

He said as students have different needs, schools need to be able to adapt teaching to help those that are immunocompromised. Dotson said on its face, online learning sounds straight forward, but issues like not having enough internet bandwidth in communities or enough computers for students can complicate matters. Coleman explained that he is eager to get back into session to explore ideas like tax credits for internet connections to help families that may be struggling to provide for their children in that area.

When Dotson brought up the elderly, Coleman said depression resulting from isolation and loneliness can be a real issue and that checking in on older people is critical. Coleman emphasized the importance of elderly people’s ability to safely get care for their health conditions and said they need to be aware of Medicare’s enrollment period, which is going on through Monday, Dec. 7, so they can provide for their health needs.

“The reality is that people need affordable care that where they can get their prescription drugs and the different things that they need, without gap issues. That, to me, is important,” Coleman said.

He encouraged people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic to take a good look at taking health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act because it will be less expensive than coverage through COBRA. The open enrollment for 2021 ACA coverage is Sunday, Nov. 1, through Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Coleman said during the next session, he plans to work to make sure nonprofit organizations that are helping with issues like housing and

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The Latest: Cases in Czech Rep soar to 12K amid new measures

PRAGUE — Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have hit new record levels as the number of confirmed cases in one day soared to almost 12,000.

The Health Ministry says the day-to-day increase reached 11,984 on Tuesday, almost 900 more than the previous record set on Friday.

The country has registered a total of 193,246 cases since the start of the pandemic, about one third in the last seven days.

The number of the hospitalized surpassed 4,000 with 634 in serious condition, putting pressure on the health system. So far, 1,619 have died with 97 the highest day increase recorded on Monday.

New restrictive measures are coming into effect on Wednesday with mandatory mask-wearing outdoors and in cars. The government is also meeting early Wednesday to consider additional measures.



— Leaders in US, Europe divided on response to surging virus

— From Detroit to Oakland, pandemic threatens urban renewal

— McConnell warns White House against COVID relief deal

— Some teenage girls in Nairobi have turned to sex work to help feed their families. They cannot remember how many men they have had to sleep with since their schools closed this year.

— South Korea may be one of the world’s most wired nations, but remote learning is a challenge for many students and is particularly worrisome in a country so obsessed with education that 70% of high school graduates attend university.

— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is imposing strict coronavirus restrictions on England’s second-largest urban area, after talks with officials in Greater Manchester collapsed over how much financial aid should be handed to people whose livelihoods will be hit by the new measures.


Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at and



MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has lifted a ban on non-essential foreign trips by Filipinos, but the immigration bureau says the move did not immediately spark large numbers of departures for tourism and leisure.

The government has gradually eased restrictions on international and domestic travel as part of efforts to bolster the economy, which slipped into recession in the second quarter following months of lockdown and quarantine to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Travelers to other countries are required to show confirmed roundtrip tickets, travel and health insurance, a declaration acknowledging the risks of travel and trip delays and a medical test within 24 hours of departure that clears them of COVID-19.

Aside from tedious pre-departure requirements, many countries still restrict the entry of travelers from nations with high number of coronavirus infections, including the Philippines. The Department of Health has reported more than 360,000 confirmed cases, the second-highest in Southeast Asia, with at least 6,690 deaths.


NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi says laxity could lead to a new surge in infections, as authorities reported 54,044 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, taking the overall tally past 7.6 million.

The Health

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