Turner urges Houstonians to test themselves, to cancel holiday meetings as positivity rises

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Monday urged everyone to be tested for coronavirus and cancel their holiday gatherings as the city’s positivity rate rises as Christmas approaches.

Turner said 777 additional cases of coronavirus were reported on Monday, bringing the city’s total number of cases to 111,211. Three more deaths were reported, bringing the city’s total death toll to 1,530.

The city’s positivity rate is 11.2 percent, up nearly a point from last week, Turner said.

“Please test yourself before Christmas Eve,” Turner said.

The mayor said people should also cancel the meeting and postpone the holiday trip to help “avoid growth in addition to growth.”

Vaccine in Houston

Turner said both the Houston Department of Health and the Houston Fire Department will receive 3,000 doses each. These 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 front-line workers and people over the age of 75 should still be allowed to be vaccinated, but the final decision will be made by state leaders.

Virus changes

Dr. David Persse, medical director for Houston, said the coronavirus mutation that has been widely reported is the second variant of the virus that was found during the pandemic.

“The new mutant virus does not appear to be more lethal,” Persse said. “It does not cause any more serious illness. It doesn’t cause death anymore. The change seems to be that the virus is easier to transmit. “

Persse said it is even more important that people are not infected with the virus in the first place.

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