HOUSTON – As coronavirus continues to spread like wildfire in the Houston-area, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced two new testing sites to help accommodate the high volume of people seeking tests.
In a Wednesday press conference, Turner said he is pleased that Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency are adjusting the guidelines for school districts to provide more time and flexibility as coronavirus cases surge in Houston and Harris County.
Houston must curve the spread of the coronavirus in July to help with the reopening of schools, Turner said. He said the city needs 90% compliance from residents for the safety measures to be effective.
Houston Health Department reported 703 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the city’s total to 32,693.
The city also announced 16 new COVID-19 related death, bringing the total to 295. This marks the first time officials reported double-digit deaths. Seven of the 16 people were Hispanic, including a 70-year-old man and a 50-year-old man with no underlying conditions. Five were Asian. One was a Black man in his 50s, and the others were white.
“The virus does not discriminate,” Turner said. “It is spreading uncontrollably in our community, affecting people with or without underlying health conditions. It is important we work together to slow the progression of (the) virus.”
He reminded residents to wear masks, avoid large gatherings, and to practice social distancing. He also urged those who have been in large groups or are experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms to be tested.
Houston has two free testing sites at Delmar Stadium and Butler Stadium, which FEMA will fund through July, Turner said. He said the city hopes that the federal government will remain engaged through August.
Two new free testing sites are opening Thursday in Houston: Fallbrook Church at 12512 Walters Road in northeast Houston and Higher Dimension Church at 9800 Club Creek Drive in southwest Houston.
Residents must schedule an appointment to be tested at 1-833-697-4839.
Here is the full press conference from July 15, 2020: