Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Persse shared an update on the City’s response to COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday.
Turner was also joined by several council members, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena during the news conference.
“We’re at a critical time in our fight to stop the delta variant,” the mayor said.
Turner said the Texas Medical Center has reported more than 25,000 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized. He said the city hasn’t seen those hospitalization numbers since the beginning of the pandemic. Turner said the majority of those hospitalized are unvaccinated and contributing to the COVID-19 deaths.
He said the city wants to appeal to parents and the public to continue to get tested, get vaccinated, and wear masks indoors. Turner said he doesn’t want someone who is hospitalized and fighting the virus to regret their decision to not get vaccinated.
COVID-19 vs schools
The mayor also stated that more cases are being reported as school starts and reopen. He is encouraging students, staff, and educators to wear their masks during school hours to help mitigate the spread.
He also mentioned that 11 schools will participate in week three of his Super Saturday Vaccination Day clinics for students and families, scheduled for every Saturday in August.
City of Houston employees impacted by the virus
So far, 293 cities of Houston employees tested positive for COVID-19, 144 municipal workers, 97 in the Houston Police Department, and around 50 in the Houston Fire Department, according to Turner.
He said the city has reached a “grim milestone” in COVID-19 deaths, reported 11 deaths Tuesday by the Houston Health Department.
Vaccinations in Houston
By the numbers, Turner said 69.4% of residents eligible for the vaccine have received at least one shot, 57% are fully vaccinated and 43% of those eligible have yet to be fully vaccinated.
The mayor addressed those who are younger but hesitant about the vaccine, saying it won’t reorganize their DNA or prevent them from having children in the future.
Dr. Persse also restated what the mayor said, saying it’s a “ridiculous accusation and that the vaccine cannot change DNA.” He said the delta variant is so contagious, that chances to get through this pandemic without being vaccinated is becoming zero. Persse said the city’s positivity rate is currently 19.2%.
Mayor Turner also reminded residents that the city’s emergency rental assistance program has helped millions and to apply while funds are still available.
For more information about the program, visit Houstonharrishelp.org.