HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged everyone Monday to get tested for coronavirus and cancel their holiday gatherings as the city’s positivity rate rises as Christmas approaches.
Turner said an additional 777 coronavirus cases were reported Monday, bringing the city’s total cases to 111,211. Three more deaths were also reported, bringing the city’s total deaths to 1,530.
The city’s positivity rate as is at 11.2%, up nearly a point from last week, Turner said.
“Please get tested before Christmas Eve,” Turner said.
The mayor said people should also cancel their gathering and postpone their holiday travel to help “avoid a surge on top of a surge.”
Vaccine in Houston
Turner said both the Houston Health Department and the Houston Fire Department will be getting 3,000 doses each. Those will be used to help vaccinate city employees and firefighters who qualify for the vaccine under current guidelines.
Officials said the state is still discussing who will qualify for the next phase of vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced over the weekend that frontline workers and people over the age of 75 should be allowed to get the vaccine next, but the final decision will be made by state leaders.
Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for Houston, said that the mutation in the coronavirus that has been widely reported is the second variant of the virus that has been found during the pandemic.
“The new mutant virus does not appear to be any more lethal,” Persse said. “It doesn’t cause any more serious illness. It doesn’t cause any more death. The change appears to be that the virus is more easily transmitted.”
Persse said that makes it even more important that people don’t get infected with the virus in the first place.