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Mayor Turner reports 15 coronavirus deaths in four days as city preps to reopen Friday

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner reported 15 coronavirus-related deaths in the last four days as the city prepares to reopen the following Governor Abbott’s executive order Monday.

Turner says the city’s COVID-19 case total is now at 3,419 and 50 deaths as of Tuesday. He said the numbers compared to other cities are low due to social distancing efforts, most staying home, wearing face coverings in public.

“This virus is still prevalent in our community and the numbers are low because we’ve been very careful,” Turner said.

Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said not much has changed with the department’s COVID-19 cases. Peña said 40 firefighters tested positive for the virus.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo asks residents to comply with all businesses’ rules to wear a mask, saying businesses have a right to deny customers if they are not wearing masks.

“Let me make it clear, we’re not interested in going around being the mask police but the community needs to understand if a business requires a mask,” Acevedo said.

Homeless community

Turner said more than 8,000 masks and 60 gallons of sanitizer were distributed to the homeless community. He thanked the Salvation Army for providing shelter, hot meals and PPE to the vulnerable community in Houston.

Turner said those who test positive for the virus in the homeless community are referred to the recovery center to help prevent further spreading at homeless shelters. Officials also said the homeless testing centers report low cases.

“Homeless agencies, shelters, outreach teams and even homeless individuals themselves can call a homeless testing hotline,” Turner said.

Turner on the city reopening

Turner said its hard to tell where the virus is located in the city and advises people to be careful. He said he will continue to encourage residents to be cautious as Texas reopens. Turner said just because a business reopens, doesn’t mean you should rush out and go to those places.

“(I) hope people won’t just rush out to bombard these places even though you may be able to attend, you know, just exercise good judgment in whatever you do,” Turner said.

He also hopes restaurants and businesses follow the 25% occupancy order during phase one.

“I hope people will abide by the 25% occupancy, restaurants, retailers, I hope they will abide by the 25% occupancy,” Turner said.

City facilities will continue to be closed

Turner said city events and activities will continue to be closed through the month of May, including the Houston Public Library and the city’s golf course.

Watch Turner’s full press conference below:

LIVE: Mayor Turner to provide details on city’s effort to combat COVID-19 within homeless community

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Tuesday, April 28, 2020

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