General Public Guidance

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General Public Guidance

HCPH has compiled resources intended to help the public in better understanding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), ways to stay healthy, suggestions for supporting their communities, and more. Select documents may be available in multiple languages.  

Resources are organized based on topic. Click on the options in the navigation to jump to each section or scroll down to view more.

Holiday Celebrations During COVID-19

Upcoming holidays look different as we continue to practice social distancing measures to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). For information on low-risk activities and the best ways to celebrate, visit the Holiday Celebrations page.

About The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. To learn more about this virus, refer to the documents below or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Download COVID-19 Information Documents and Guidance:
Viruses Don’t Discriminate and Neither Should We (PDF)
Basic COVID-19 and Testing Information
CDC Isolation and Quarantine Guidance (12/27/21)

COVID Reopening Benchmarks

On June 11th, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo released public health recommendations to better understand how to safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Leading Harris County: Benchmarks for a Healthy Community guide outlines this process. 

To see the newest benchmarks, please click here or go directly to Ready Harris. The status of these benchmarks can also be seen on the Harris County / City of Houston COVID-19 Data Hub.

COVID Reopening Benchmarks (Updated 5/17/2021)

General Guidance

Select resources are available for general guidelines, recommendations for everyday activities, and more. This section includes all General Public Guidance materials. For specific topics, it is encouraged to view individual sections below.

If the information you are searching for is not shown here, refer to the remaining sections of this General Public Guidance resource as well as Reopening Guidelines and Documents resources.

CDC Isolation and Quarantine Guidance (12/27/21)
Baytown Health & Wellness Clinic Flyer
Age 5-11 Vaccine Provider List
Artistic Parks Contest
One Health Conference Agenda
Baytown Artistic Park Contest
Partner Incentive Program One Pager
Vaccine FAQs for Pregnant Women
Vaccine Incentive Request Form
How to get the $100 Cash Card Incentive
Long COVID and Disability
Long COVID and Disability
Leading Cause of Death Analysis for Harris County (2015-2019)
Leading Cause of Death Report for Harris County (2015-2019)
2021 COVID-19 School Guidance K-12
Vaccine Scholarship Info
Supporter Statement - Income
Residency & Income Affidavit
Plan of Corrective Action - Recurring Citations
Plan of Corrective Action
Notice to Employees Paid with Federal Grant Funds
Income Support Affidavit
Consent for Release Single
Client Rights & Responsibilities with Signature
Client Rights & Responsibilities & Complaints Poster
Optional Relocation Program
Healthy Community Design Worksheet
Community Health and Wellness Services Flyer
Testing123 Free Testing Poster - Tearaway
Free HIV and SyphilisTesting Flyer
Dental Community Outreach Handout
Mobile Dental Unit Promotional Flyer
Download DHP Referral List (PDF)
What to Expect At A Vaccine Distribution Unit (VDU)
Harris County Vaccine Scholarship Program
How To Be A COVID-19 Vaccine Champion In Your Community!
Prevent The Bite - Poster 2021
Vaccination Drive-Thru Information for Moderna and Pfizer
Local 5 - 17 Year Old Vaccine Provider List
HCPH COVID-19 Vaccinations for Ages 5 - 17
Safety Guide for Faith-Based Organizations
Safety Guide: Summer School & Youth Programs
Travel Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals
COVID-19 Vaccination and Ramadan
Routine Health Screenings and COVID-19
Vaccination Sites for 80+ Adults Only (March 22 to 27)
Celebrating Passover During COVID-19
Celebrating Easter During COVID-19
Celebrating Ramadan During COVID-19
Celebrating 2021 Graduates Safely
Vaccine Registration Push Card
COVID-19 Guidance During Spring Break
COVID-19 Resources: Food Fairs
Chart: Comparison of Available COVID-19 Vaccines
Helping Older Adults Register for HCPH's COVID Vaccine
Vaccination Drive-Thru Information for Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Are Two Masks Better Than One?
HCPH COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Process
Return to Work After COVID-19
About the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine
Quarantine Recommendation for Vaccinated Persons
Guidelines for Food Establishments (Boil Water Notice)
List of Boil Water Notice Areas
UPDATED CDC Mask Guidance
COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Strategy Summary
How to Register for a Vaccination Through HCPH
COVID-19 Vaccine Partner Outreach
Upcoming Flu Events - March 2021
Free At-Home COVID-19 Testing
About COVID-19 Virus Mutations
Vaccine Drive Thru Handout
Vaccine FAQs: Pregnant Women
Vaccine FAQs: Immunity
Vaccine FAQs: General Population
About the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
Comparison of Current COVID-19 Vaccines
Staying COVID-19 Free!
About the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine
Vaccine FAQs: About COVID Vaccination
Safely Receiving Medical Resources From Students Homes
Proper Use of Face Coverings and PPE in School Settings
Creating Safe Classrooms: Secondary Grades
Safely Transferring Medical Resources From School to Home
How to Safely Return Students to School
Addressing a Suspected Case of COVID-19 on Campus
Creating Safe Classrooms: Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Elementary Grades
Bus Driver Safety Tips
Higher Education: Campus Housing and Residential Considerations
Guidelines for In-Person Events and Meetings During COVID-19
Bus Drivers: Protecting Students and Protecting Yourself

Cleaning and Disinfection

Maintaining cleanliness - including disinfecting surfaces - is essential in helping to decrease the spread of illness. Select resources for cleaning protocols are below with additional materials available on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting
Guidance for Grocery Shopping (PDF)
Guidance for Public Transportation
How Long Does COVID-19 Last On Surfaces?
Do Not Mix These Cleaning Products
Guidance for Removing Gloves to Prevent Germs on Your Hands
Temperature Check Notice

Health Equity Toolkits

Harris County is home to many individuals from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and races. To help ensure everyone represented has the resources needed for learning more about COVID-19 and staying healthy - especially any information that is unique to a community - Harris County Public Health (HCPH) has compiled select Health Equity Toolkits that can be downloaded and shared. Find them in the Community Support Resources or from the link below.

Community Resources

Resources are available for the following:

  • Food Fairs
  • Food Assistance
  • Financial Assistance
  • Mental Health Services
  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
  • General Information

For a complete guide to these resources, view the materials available in our Community Support Resources.

COVID-19 Vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccine is here. To help educate our community on the types of vaccines available, how they work, and how they will be distributed, resources can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Information page here.

Face Coverings and Masks

The use of face coverings and face masks may help to reduce the spread of the virus. This is not intended to replace social distancing or hand washing recommendations. Select resources are available for the proper use of face coverings.

For more information about the use of cloth face coverings, visit the CDC's resources for Using Cloth Face Coverings to Slow The Spread of COVID-19.

For details regarding Mask Order Policies in Harris County, please refer to the County Order resources on Ready Harris.

Guidance for Using Masks (PDF)
Proper Use of Masks, Risk Factors
Printable Sign: Customers Should Wear Face Coverings / Face Masks
How to Wear a Face Mask Properly
UPDATED CDC Mask Guidance
Are Two Masks Better Than One?

Mass Gatherings and Community Events

As per the CDC, large events and mass gatherings may contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Examples of these events include (but are not limited to) conferences, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, etc. 

For guidance on the following, please see the CDC website...

Safely Protesting During COVID-19
How to Make a Social Bubble

Mental Health

Resources are available for those whose mental health may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether this is you or a loved one, find materials on supporting mental health and reducing stress during the spread of COVID-19 in our Community Support Resources.

If you or a loved one need help in coping with anxiety, grief, or other issues, please reach out to the Harris County COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833-251-7544.

Personal Health

As our community continues to stays safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to remember to continue practices and routines that help maintain your and your family's personal health. This includes healthy living practices as well as routine health screening and appointments.

Routine Health Screenings and COVID-19

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Select resources are available regarding the use of PPE, including face coverings.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting
Guidance for Using Masks (PDF)
Social Distancing and the Breathing Zone: Why 6 FT of Distance?
Guidance for Removing Gloves to Prevent Germs on Your Hands
Proper Use of Masks, Risk Factors
Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Sequence

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Select resources are available for those individuals who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Additional resources - including those for caring for young children - may be found on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Guidance for Early Care & Education
Vaccine FAQs for Pregnant Women

Employees Returning to Work After COVID-19 Illness or Exposure

Please see the following resources for returning to work in non-healthcare settings following COVID-19 isolation or quarantine. This includes those individuals who may or may not have experienced symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as those who were exposed to COVID-19 without wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Guidance - Return to Work After Illness or Exposure

School Guidance and Updates

For more information about returning to school and associated benchmarks, view our School Guidance and Updates resources.

Social Distancing and Self Monitoring

Select resources are available concerning social distancing guidelines and recommendations for self monitoring.

Social Distancing and the Breathing Zone: Why 6 FT of Distance?
Reducing the Risk for Apartment Residents
How to Treat Mild Symptoms at Home
Guidance for Self Isolation
Keeping Safe In Multigenerational Homes
The Power Of Social Distancing

Social Media Toolkits

In an effort to educate and share awareness regarding COVID-19, HCPH encourages you to utilize and share the social media images created by our departments throughout your own social media platforms. 

Testing and Results

COVID-19 testing is available at many locations across Harris County. For testing locations nearest you as well as details regarding acquiring test results, please visit the Testing Locations and Information resources.

Vulnerable Populations

Based on available information from medical professionals, it has been found that adults over the age of 65 as well as people of any age who have severe underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk from serious illness from COVID-19. More information about those conditions that may impact vulnerability can be found in the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) resources for those who are recommended to take extra precautions as well as those who are at higher risk.

In addition to information available from the CDC, HCPH has put together resources that vulnerable populations may find helpful. 

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Guidance for People at Higher Risk (PDF)
Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (PDF)
Guidance for Assisted Living (PDF)
Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting
Guidance for General Public (PDF)
Guidance for Care Givers (PDF)
Guidance for Using Masks (PDF)
Guidance for Grocery Shopping (PDF)
Guidance for Public Transportation
Social Distancing and the Breathing Zone: Why 6 FT of Distance?
Guidance for Safe Sex Interactions
How Long Does COVID-19 Last On Surfaces?
Reducing Risk for Older Adults
Do Not Mix These Cleaning Products
Guidance for Removing Gloves to Prevent Germs on Your Hands
Proper Use of Masks, Risk Factors
What Happens At A Testing Site?
Keeping Safe In Multigenerational Homes

World Health Organization (WHO) Myth Busters

In an effort to combat misinformation, the World Health Organization created several infographics regarding frequently asked questions about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. We encourage you to share these across your network to help set the record straight about COVID-19.

For a complete list of WHO Myth Busters, go to the World Health Organization (WHO) website.