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Turner says coronavirus is running ‘rampant’ in Houston with more than 1,500 new cases Monday

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner said that COVID-19 is running rampant in the city of Houston Monday as he announced 1,544 new cases bringing the city’s total to well over 30,000 cases.

Turner was joined by Houston’s Health Authority Dr. David Persse and Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Peña, among others. Turner also reported eight new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the city’s death total to 277. Of those deaths, 77 are associated with nursing homes and three to Harris County Jail, Turner said. The number of deaths at the county jail remains stagnant.

Turner said the numbers that are being reported are out of control and it is critical.

“COVID-19 is a virus that continues to run rampant, still out of control. What we do today and over the next few weeks is critical to getting the virus in control and virus we can manage. As you can see those impacted and dying from 40-90 and even no underlying health conditions,” he said.

Turner said the virus does not discriminate and will impact anyone who is in close proximity to others.

“Star Houston Rockets player Russel Westbrook tests positive. (It’s a) reminder this virus doesn’t care who you are,” he said.

The mayor stressed that residents must to continue to practice social distancing and wear masks. Turner said he wants the economy to remain open but said it is important the city deal with the virus.

Reopening schools

The mayor said what residents and the city as a whole do in the month of July will determine what will take place in August.

“As we talk about the opening of school next month, what we do in the month of July will determine what will take place next month. We need to be singularly focused on slowing down the virus this month, and I mean not only slowing it down but slowing down the number of people in hospitals, number of people in ICUs. That number should be going down and staying down,” Turner said. “That way, we will have a better degree of comfort when we talk about sending kids back to school.”

Cases by ZIP code

Persse said the virus is still very active and showed a map that revealed which Houston ZIP codes had the highest rates of coronavirus positivity. He noted that the map showed where the most infected residents lived but not where they were infected.

RELATED: Harris County heat map shows coronavirus cases by ZIP code

He too urged residents to wear masks.

“If you want schools to open up, stay six feet away from people. (If you) want everything back to normal, don’t go to big parties, just follow the rules. We have been successful before, we can be successful again,” he said.

Emergency services

HFD Chief Peña said there are 190 firefighters in quarantine, two in the hospital from coronavirus-related complications and another in ICU. Peña said the firefighter in the ICU is being monitored and is not intubated at present.

Watch Turner’s full press conference below:

Watch live: Mayor Turner gives latest update on COVID-19, city’s response

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Monday, July 13, 2020

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