Turner announces name of city’s economic recovery leader after COVID-19 pandemic

Mayor Sylvester Turner (KPRC 2)

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the person he has named to be the city’s COVID-19 Recovery Leader at a Monday afternoon press conference.

According to Turner, the case count for the city of Houston as is 107 new cases and no new deaths. You can check county totals here.

Houston’s new leader for coronavirus recovery effortsTurner announced that the president of Shell Oil, Marvin Odum is the Houston czar who will oversee coronavirus recovery efforts.He will work directly with Armando Walle -- the Harris County czar -- to help reopen the city. We will be working hand-in-hand, Odum said.There will be four areas of focusStrategies and adjustments if there are increases in positive cases.Protecting the at-risk, vulnerable populationDeveloping a plan that addresses how to prepare for the next pandemicThis is about keeping people safe, getting them back to work and restarting the economy, Odum said.Turner said he is giving Odum broad authority. “If he speaks, he speaks for me,” Turner said.Houston’s recovery planOdum said there are three guiding principles in his planAct as quickly as possibleHave an inclusive approachWe are here to collaborateImpact of the price of oilThe price of oil does not really affect the plan Odum has in mind.This is the energy capital of the world. Of course, when it comes to employment, we will be hard hit, turner said.Financial impact on cityOur budget has been heavily hit, according to Turner. Five cadet classes will be deferred, employees will be furloughed, even payments to the Houston Zoo could be deferred. This is the worst budget the city has seen, Turner said. Houston is not immune and every facet of city governance will be impacted.Reopening the cityCharacteristics of a successful reopening planMore widespread and ubiquitous testing and trackingAbility to identify problems early and make adjustmentsWork with federal government and local support to spend allocated funds appropriatelyAnswer the question on how to better prepare for a similar eventYou can expect that the plan will be gradual and phases. We will need the cooperation of all Houstonians and we will be providing more details as we move forward, according to OdumZT Corporate of Houston CEO, Taseer Badar reached out to the mayor about how to reduce the load on public testing sites.Badar suggested that companies like his test their own employees to ease the strain on city testing sites. Badar will be offering his employees free COVID-19 testing and is challenging other companies and CEOs to do the same.We are seeing positive results, but are not yet out of the storm. The virus is not currently under control. Social distancing and other preventive measures are working.Turner wants people to understand that Houston has not yet reached its peak. We cannot reopen just because things seem to be slowing.The decision to reopen must also include a plan for testing. The way to get to the point of reopening is with widespread testing.Transmissibility of the virusIt is important to understand that the virus can be transmitted by people who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic, said Dr. David Persse with the Houston Health Department.Importance of wearing face masks, following health guidelinesIn order for us to get society going again, it is all the more important to continue following guidelines. Otherwise, we are going to see a major spike. What we don’t want is for there to be a spike that can overwhelm the system.It is easy to make a mask out of anything, it doesn’t have to be a medical mask.Tuner said he hopes not to see people going out or gathering without masks. If he does not see compliance, Turner said officials would have to take a more authoritative course of action.


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