Turner announces new $5M COVID-19 fund for Houston, other city response efforts

Basketball hoops being removed from parks, Turner says

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Wednesday that the Houston City Council decided to take $5 million from the economic stabilization fund and set up a fund specifically for anything related to novel coronavirus.

Turner also announced that the city has leased two hotels and is working on leasing a third. These hotels will serve as quarantine spaces for firefighters, police, municipal workers and the homeless population, Turner said.

There are 186 rooms that are ready to be used, and the leases will last for three months, Turner said.

According to Turner, residents who cannot quarantine at home can also use a hotel room. The cost is about $200 daily, which includes food and other necessary services.

Turner said Harris County is responsible for providing ancillary services for those using the hotels, including, food, health services and other essential services. Those costs are believed to be FEMA reimbursable, Turner said.

Basketball hoops being removed from parks

While parks remain open, Turner said the city is still seeing overcrowding in areas like basketball courts. He has asked the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to remove rims and goals to try and deter the activity.

According to Turner, the parks are still open, but the city reserves the right to ask people to disperse or close the parks if necessary.

Some Houston firefighters, officers, municipal workers have contracted coronavirus

Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Peña said the fire department has seen an uptick in the number of firefighters quarantined and positive cases.

According to Peña, there are 176 people in quarantine and 12 positive cases within the department.

Turner added that there are 12 positive cases within the police department and 18 municipal workers who have tested positive.

People were urged to continue following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and staying home, washing their hands and avoiding large crowds.

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