The mayor of Houston wants the city to fully lock down for another two weeks to slow down the increase in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, according to the Houston Chronicle.
In the Houston area, 646 people have reportedly died of COVID-19. Cases in the region of the state increased by 1,596 from Saturday to Sunday. The positivity rate (number of people tested divided by the number of positive tests) in Texas rose to 16%–and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had previously said anything above 10% is a red flag.
“Let’s look at the numbers, look at the data, see where things are,” Turner said Saturday, according to the Chronicle. “And then gradually, move forward again.”
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo advocated for a lockdown as well. She said it should continue not just until Houston is able to flatten the curve, as was the stated goal of the previous lockdown, but until new cases actually begin to decrease.
“To be clear, the mayor would prefer the economy remain open but the virus is currently spreading out of control in our community and hospitalizations are rising,” said a spokesperson for Turner, via email to the Chronicle. “We must join together as a community to stop the spread now.”
Last week, the Republican Party of Texas filed a lawsuit against Turner for shutting down its convention, which was scheduled next week in Houston.
Houston has been the site of large protests, as well as large funeral gatherings for George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis Police Department officers on May 25.
Reports out of Houston indicate increased hospital activity, leading to more patients being hospitalized and treated in emergency rooms due to a lack of space to transfer them to other areas of the hospital. There is some evidence that part of the reason for this issue is that patients who were unable to get treatment for non-COVID-19 conditions during lockdown are now going to the hospital because their treatable conditions deteriorated.
Late last month, Houston-area hospital leaders held a news conference to assure the public that hospitals were prepared to handle the new COVID-19 cases, and warning against misinterpretations of data that can cause unnecessary alarm.
“There is not a scenario, in my opinion, to where the demand for our beds, especially ICUs, ventilators, PPE, etcetera, would eclipse our capability,” said Mark Wallace, the president and CEO of Texas Children’s Hospital, according to KPRC-TV.
(H/T Hot Air)