HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Texas Governor Greg Abbot’s Thursday reopening plan is a “little more aggressive” than he would prefer. He said allowing restaurants and other businesses to open at 75% capacity is a “high risk” plan.
Turner said he worried about the timing of Abbott’s plan as flu season is approaching and many students plan to return to in-person learning in the coming weeks.
Abbott said he planned to use the state’s hospitalization rate as the determining factor for the reopening plan.
However, Turner and Dr. David Persse of the Houston Health Department said hospitalization is a lagging indicator for COVID-19. Turner said monitoring the positivity rate is more accurate in determining community spread.
The goal is for Houston’s positivity rate to be at 5% or below for at least 14 days, Turner said. This week, the positivity rate is 6.1%.
Turner said he concerned the reopening plan will cause a spike in new cases and deaths.
“We have come too far, and far too many people have lost their lives,” Turner said.
The city will move forward with a “cautious approach” to reopening, he said. Last week, the city announced some live events, excluding those in uncontrolled spaces and venues, would be able to have a small audience at 25% capacity.