Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Every Adult in Texas Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine Beginning March 29

The State of Texas is opening up the coronavirus vaccine to all adults before the end of March, officials just announced.

All adults will be eligible to get the vaccine starting next Monday — that’s March 29th.

Some age groups will still be prioritized, however.

“DSHS has directed vaccine providers to prioritize people 80 years old or older when scheduling appointments and accommodate anyone in that age group who presents for vaccination, whether or not they have an appointment, by immediately moving them to the front of the line. “

Get more details in the state’s official release below and check back for updates.


DSHS directs providers to continue to prioritize older adults

All adults will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas beginning Monday, March 29. The Texas Department of State Health Services expects vaccine supplies to increase next week, and providers in multiple parts of the state have made great strides in vaccinating people in the current priority groups. The state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended opening vaccination to everyone who falls under the current Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations to protect as many Texans as possible.

“We are closing in on 10 million doses administered in Texas, and we want to keep up the momentum as the vaccine supply increases,” said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services and the chair of the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. “As eligibility opens up, we are asking providers to continue to prioritize people who are the most at risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death – such as older adults.”

DSHS has directed vaccine providers to prioritize people 80 years old or older when scheduling appointments and accommodate anyone in that age group who presents for vaccination, whether or not they have an appointment, by immediately moving them to the front of the line. That will ensure vaccination of anyone 80 or older with as small a burden on themselves as possible.

Also next week, DSHS will launch a website to allow people to register for a shot through some public health providers. The public will be able to enroll in the Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler to identify upcoming vaccine clinics hosted by DSHS or a participating local health department and be notified when new clinics and appointments become available. People can continue to find additional providers though the DSHS Vaccine Information page at 

Online registration will be the best option for most people. For those for whom that is not an option, DSHS will launch a toll-free number to provide assistance making an appointment with a participating provider or locating another provider that has vaccine available.

To date, Texas has administered more than 9.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, equating to more than 6 million people with at least one dose and more than 3 million fully vaccinated. Most vaccines are authorized for people 18 years old and older; the FDA has authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use in people 16 and older.

Source: KHOU Houston

DART Continues to Enforce Federal Face Mask Requirement on Public Transit

For the safety of our passengers and employees, DART will continue to enforce federal guidelines and require a CDC approved face mask be worn over the mouth and nose by passengers and operators at all times while on DART vehicles or properties including buses, trains and paratransit vehicles, Trinity Railway Express trains, at DART stations, on platforms, in buildings and on-board the Dallas Streetcar.

Refusing to wear a mask, unless exempted or excluded under the CDC guidelines, is a violation of federal law and failure to comply will result in denial of boarding or removal, and passengers may be subject to federal penalties.

Face masks and hand sanitizer dispensers are installed on all buses, light rail vehicles and Dallas streetcars and will continue to be available to all passengers. If a DART passenger is concerned with someone not wearing a mask, they can contact DART Customer Service at (214) 979-1111, or use the “DART Say Something” app, which can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play for free.

Staying Safe While Riding DART

DART remains committed to doing everything possible to keep both our patrons and employees safe through this pandemic. DART remains in close contact with local, state and national health authorities, including the Texas Department of State Health Services and the CDC. DART encourages passengers who feel sick or are experiencing symptoms to stay home and avoid public places.

Face Masks and Hand Sanitizer

DART requires a CDC approved face mask be worn over the mouth and nose by passengers and operators at all times while riding DART buses, trains and paratransit vehicles, Trinity Railway Express trains, at DART stations, on platforms, in buildings and on-board the Dallas Streetcar. Face masks and hand sanitizer dispensers are installed on all buses, light rail vehicles and Dallas streetcars for use by passengers.

Cleaning and Protection

DART continues to undertake aggressive agency-wide cleaning and safety protocols on buses, light rail, paratransit vehicles and properties. In addition to thorough nightly cleanings, DART vehicles receive additional cleanings at the eight terminus stations throughout the day. Red and Blue Line trains are cleaned every 60 minutes. Orange and Green Line trains are cleaned every 90 minutes. DART buses and trains are also cleaned on a rotating basis with hydrogen peroxide-based cleaning solutions to sanitize and disinfect each vehicle.

Almost 85% of the DART bus fleet is currently equipped with an air purification and disinfection technology system (either ultraviolet or ionic) to kill viruses as air is recirculated throughout the bus.

DART Operator Safety Shields

DART has installed respiratory droplet shields throughout the bus fleet to help protect operators and passengers. Designed by DART Engineering, in collaboration with Fleet Maintenance & Bus Operations teams, these operator safety shields are made of high-impact plexiglass and are installed between the operator and passengers to enhance social distancing.

Social Distancing

DART recommends maintaining a six-foot distance between both fellow riders and your DART operator, leaving an open seat between yourself and other riders when available, avoiding large groups and staying home if you feel sick or are experiencing symptoms.

To enforce social distancing practices and protect customer and employee well-being, all transit center waiting areas have been temporarily closed. DART riders can still use the outdoor areas for boarding buses and light rail vehicles.

You can find more information about how DART is working to keep our passengers safe at

Living for Zachary to Provide Free Youth Heart Screenings in Grand Prairie

Living for Zachary, in conjunction with Frontera Strategies, will sponsor free heart screenings for youth ages 12-22 on Saturday, March 13th at the Grand Prairie Family YMCA.

The “Living for Zachary Heart Screening” is a special screening program created and provided by Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano for youth ages 12-22 that can help detect heart abnormalities that may lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Living for Zachary partners with Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital Plano and Denton and Frontera Strategies to provide these screenings. 

A Living for Zachary Heart Screening includes:

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Limited 2-D Echocardiogram
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest Risk Health Questionnaire
  • Review and interpretation by a board-certified cardiologist

A Living for Zachary Heart Screening is not a substitute for a thorough exam and consultation with a physician. While the screening seeks to detect conditions which may lead to SCA, it does not guarantee all risks of SCA will be detected.  

The Grand Prairie Family YMCA is located at 4556 S Carrier Pkwy, Grand Prairie TX 75052. The event will take place by appointment from 8:00am – 5:00pm and screenings will be provided at no cost to families.  Parents must be present for youth under the age of 18.  To secure an appointment for a heart screening, parents and guardians can visit Living for Zachary’s Health and Safety Protocol for heart screening events can be viewed here.

About Living for Zachary:

Living for Zachary is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and preventing sudden cardiac arrest in youth through heart screenings, AED donations to youth-based organizations, and CPR/AED training. The organization was founded in honor of Zachary Schrah, who was only 16 years old when he collapsed during a high school football practice in Plano on April 2, 2009. For more information, visit

Heart screenings for young people offered in Grand Prairie

The Grand Prairie YMCA hosted a heart screening event for Living For Zachary, which is a charity dedicated to screening young people ages 12-22 for heart abnormalities that could lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). All COVID precautions were in effect, as staff, volunteers, kids and parent had to keep masks on and follow the six-foot rule.

This special screening method was developed by Baylor Scott & White Heart Hospital in Plano and the event is generally held in Plano and Denton. This year, they branched out to Grand Prairie to reach more kids. The YMCA offered a room with volunteers to watch younger children while participants were being screened and their parents were with them.

Living for Zachary is named for Zachary (Zac) Troy Schrah, who tragically collapsed and died at the age of 16 from SCA on April 2, 2009 while at football practice at Plano East High School.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest typically strikes suddenly, with no warning or physical symptoms. Zac’s family learned later that he had an undiagnosed condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is a congenital heart disease. HCM is a common cause of SCA in young people, especially athletes.

HCM is an ailment where the heart muscle thickens, and as a result, blood has trouble making it out of the heart, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood. HCM also makes it tougher for the heart muscle to relax, which would allow it to be filled with blood.

Living for Zachary is part of Zac’s legacy. His career goal had been to become a doctor, and while that didn’t happen, many lives will be saved though the organization’s screening efforts.

One of Living for Zachary’s goals came from a quote taken from an essay that Zac wrote: “Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.”

The screening that was offered was not a typical heart screening. Baylor Scott & White expanded the traditional screening to include: A blood pressure screening, an electrocardiogram, an SCA risk health questionnaire (AHA recommended) and offered limited 2-D echocardiograms. The results of these tests will be looked at and interpreted by a board-certified cardiologist.

The screening process is described by a young man whose life was saved by Living for Zachary. To view it, visit

This was a preliminary screening, as anyone that was determined to be “at-risk” for SCA were referred for further testing and examinations with one of the Baylor Scott & White’s cardiologists. They made sure that participants were aware of the fact that the screening was not to take the place of a doctor’s exam.

The Living for Zachary program also offers CPR training, education about SCA and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) placement. Many businesses have AEDs in their lobby or hallways, so it is important to understand how they work. AEDs function as a defibrillator and will send electric shocks to help a hindered heart.

While SCA sometimes offers no warnings, here are some things to look for. If you or your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, get them to a doctor or cardiologist immediately:

  • Fainting or seizure during or after physical activity
  • Fainting or seizure resulting from excitement, distress or being startled
  • Chest pain or discomfort or a racing heartbeat
  • Unexplained fainting or seizures
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Unusual fatigue/tiredness
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness during or after physical activity

Stay safe and healthy! If you’d like to learn more about any of the Living for Zachary services, visit their website at

Q&A: St. Luke’s physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

Community Impact Newspaper spoke with Dr. Sam Rolon, a physician at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands, about this year’s upcoming flu season, who should receive influenza vaccinations and how to address possible flu cases amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What is typically defined as flu season? We actually see flu all year long nowadays. We used to not really see it for whatever reason, but nowadays, we see the peak from October through March. But still, last year, I saw it all the way through May [and] June. So, it still lingers a little bit with people traveling and just getting exposed to a minor pocket somewhere.

When would you advise people to get their flu shots this year? For the general population, get it between mid- to late September through late October. … Anytime that you can get it, the sooner, the better, just to make sure you’re vaccinated. … Prevention is key this year for the same reason [as] when COVID[-19] started: … ‘[getting] the surge down’ so that we don’t overburden the hospitals. … We need to have hospital beds available, and we’re just trying to manage public health and make sure that we keep as many people healthy as possible so that we don’t have bad outcomes—so we don’t lose unnecessary, preventable lives from flu, from COVID[-19], from pneumonia, from whatever.

Read more from Community Impact…

Report: Blue Angels to fly over San Antonio to honor healthcare workers


(Photo: U.S. Navy via MGN Online)

Read more from News4SA…

DFW International Airport surprisingly empty after COVID-19 developments

If you’ve been to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), you are probably used to long security lines and crowded terminals.

I visited terminals A and C, which are supposed to be the busiest during this time, mainly due to Spring Break. Imagine my surprise when barely a traveler was there to be seen.

I was able to speak to a few passengers, both coming home to DFW and those leaving to visit other cities. As you can imagine, these were the folks who dared to travel during this COVID-19 pandemic.


Traveler Tony Manning, from Detroit, Michigan

Tony Manning, from Detroit, MI, said:

I own a public relations/marketing business for a legal consulting firm, so I am here to do some consulting for a couple of clients. I have not had any problems due to Coronavirus. I flew from Detroit on American, and the flight attendants were so awesome. They tried to go out of their way to make sure we were all comfortable. The planes were pretty empty. My flight from Detroit had maybe 20 people on board [a 737 jet]. I literally had the whole row to myself to stretch out. It was peaceful. It was quiet, and we got here safe. Everybody was wiping down the seats and stuff. No one was coughing. I had been worried about that, so I brought my mask, but I felt like this is probably the cleanest flight I’ve ever been on.

So, instead of hysteria and panic, it seems that people are just staying home, making air travel more pleasant for those that utilize it.


Three travelers taking precautions on their flight home

Police department asks public not to call 911 when they run out of toilet paper


Screen-Shot-2020-03-16-at-9.33.50-AM-1The COVID-19 panic has caused a lot of people to stock up on items like toilet paper. In fact, some stores are limiting toilet paper purchases to four or fewer packs per person and have hired security guards to watch over the toilet paper aisle.

While there are some gastrointestinal symptoms due to the coronavirus, the bulk-buying of toilet paper is unnecessary, and is no reason to panic, according to the Oregon Police Department.

On Saturday, The Newport Oregon Police Department took to Facebook to remind people not to panic, not to call 911 if they run out of toilet paper, and offered a few tried-and-true toilet paper alternatives.

Read more from MyPearlandNews…

Gov. Abbott warns against hoarding toiletries, food amid coronavirus fears

By Blake Hanson


Photo: FOX4

While it might be a concerning sight, there is no evidence of any long-term supply shortages.

Not a single North Texas store is running out of food. The only reason some shelves are empty is people taking more than they need.

No matter the grocery store you pick, it seems each one is full of shoppers and short on what you need.

“We found some paper towels,” said shopper Sherman Harris. “We haven’t found any toilet paper yet.”

Some shelves were cleared, despite stores setting limits on what each customer can buy.

Read more from FOX26…

Here’s why people are panic buying and stockpiling toilet paper to cope with coronavirus fears

Screen Shot 2020-03-13 at 11.21.51 AM

Photo: CNBC

Panic buying has been rife amid the global spread of the new coronavirus, with consumers around the world stockpiling goods like hand sanitizer, canned foods and toilet paper.

Psychologists spoke to CNBC to weigh in on why our brains push us to panic buy — even when authorities are assuring the public there’s no need to.

According to Paul Marsden, a consumer psychologist at the University of the Arts London, the short answer can be found in the psychology of “retail therapy” — where we buy to manage our emotional state.

Read more from CNBC…