Harris County emergency managers encourage service at a distance this Easter

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Heading into the Easter weekend, Harris County emergency management leaders are hopeful and optimistic about how faith-based organizations have adapted to the need to maintain space to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Francisco Sanchez, deputy coordinator of the Harris County Office of Emergency Management, said worship leaders across the county have been cooperative and have found new audiences through online video streaming of services.

The optimism comes as reports of church leaders in other parts of the nation have refused requests to cancel in-person worship services.

While this weekend will be one of praise and reflection for many, Sanchez encouraged people to give back to others in need.

"I urge you to seek those opportunities out because there are plenty of those," Sanchez said. "Check on a senior. Look to be of service and look to give. While you may not be able to go to services this weekend, you can be of service."

The Harris County Emergency Operations Center in northwest Houston has been activated longer than any other time in its history, Sanchez said. So far, the EOC has been operating for 40 consecutive days, longer than when it was activated for the ITC facility explosion and fire last year in Deer Park.

As of Friday morning, Harris County and Houston had 2,593 active cases of COVID-19, with 34 deaths and 420 people who have recovered, according to statistics from the county.

The Stay Home, Work Safe order continues to remain in effect until the end of April.

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