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Houston officials prepare for an influx of new coronavirus cases

HOUSTON – Houston officials are preparing for an influx of people amid the coronavirus pandemic swiping the nation.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city is planning for three scenarios.

The current plan is for when the healthcare system is within or meeting capacity. The second level is if there is a surge of new coronavirus patients. The third scenario is if the influx exceeds the overall capacity, which is the area of primary attention for the city.

Houston officials said they are working to secure more personal protection equipment.

Houston officials confirmed 81 new cases, bringing the city's total to 587 cases as of Friday. The city also announced two new deaths: a man in his 40s with underlying conditions who died March 27 and a woman in her 60s with underlying conditions who died April 1.

A total of 8 Houstonians have died from coronavirus-related complications.

Social distancing works

Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo praised the mayor's initiative to cut down the basketball hoops, helping promote social distancing within the communities.

He also said the police calls are down, which helps focus attention on those seeking urgent assistance. However, he said incidents of aggravated assault were up 10%, and domestic violence cases are up as well.

He reminded residents that mental health resources are available through the city and school districts.

PPE donation drive

Project CURE, the Astros Foundation, and Cheniere Energy are hosting a drive for personal protective equipment for first responders and health care workers. Individuals can donate complete boxes and sealed items. The drive is Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m. at Minute Maid Park.