Mayor Turner gives update on coronavirus response in Houston

Mayor Turner: Houston has not reached peak

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner gave an update on response efforts for COVID-19 in Houston. Turner was joined by Neil Bush to announce a mask donation to the City of Houston.

Mayor Turner will also offer reaction to Gov. Greg Abbott’s plans on reopening the Texas economy and businesses.

Generous donations of 25K masks in addition to the 10K donated by the George Bush China Foundation.All masks will go toward helping vulnerable communities get masks. They will be a great help to the “Mask Up” programNeil Bush: Foundation has given 100K masks to area agencies. Infectious diseases know no borders – to get things going again people must find common humanity.Gov. Greg Abbott’s order will supersede local orders and none can be more stringent.It is my hope that our numbers will not spike. I fully understand the desire and the need to reopen. Stay-home orders and other similar orders have been taken out of our hands. It is my hope that opening up like Abbott is proposing will works.Cautionary note: There is no vaccine that is available right now. We can all agree that what we have been doing has been working, but the virus is still here. Today the Houston Health Department reports 74 new cases, four new deaths.I know the numbers are favorable, but every day we are adding more new cases still. I want to emphasize as steps are taken to reopen that the virus is still prevalent and there are still things we need to do. The key to stopping the spread is to continue following guidelines. Authorities will be giving masks instead of issuing tickets. OEM has been working to supply officers with masks so they have enough to hand out. Acevedo: Businesses can require you to wear a mask if it so chooses, If you fail to leave the premises you are susceptible to criminal trespassing warning or arrest.New testing site opened in Houston. It is important to continue testing., that determines where the virus is and how prevalent it is.I know people want to open up, but as mayor when you operated on the margins… this is personal. I now people want to open up, but many of the people in these communities are the ones on the frontlines. This is what I want people to speak to because for decades these people have lived on the margins. They have suffered through floods, hurricanes and now they are dealing with this virus.We are not out of the range – not when these types of articles are being written.New mobile testing sitesBeginning tomorrow – HHD is bringing COVID-19 testing to vulnerable communities through new mobile testing sites. The testing will be free. People do not need to have symptoms to be tested. Can do 100 tests per day. Will be drive-up or walkthrough.People with questions can call 832-393-4220.Nursing home projectHelp nursing homes get acquainted with the CDC guidelines and the nuances within them. There are about 100 “classic” nursing homes in Houston.177 positive cases in nursing homes across 21 different facilities. We have teams out to help nursing homes contain virus. Need to remember the guidelines.Testing and contact tracingContact tracing is a form of epidemiology. Much like being a medical detective. Have to find out who the person is and who they got in contact with before they were infected.Positive cases need to be isolated, but what we don’t know is who they came in contact with, so have to find those people and ask them to isolate. People should not be afraid to get tested. The reason to be tested is if you are positive, you are empowered to protect your family and the people around you. Every one of us should get tested. That is how we get ahead of the virus.Example: The Egyptian river cruise – stopped the virus in that case and were able to trace who those people came in contact with. That is why it is so important to do contact tracing.The more testing there is, the more positive cases there will be and the more contact tracing will need to be done.

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About the Author: Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli

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