‘I have lost patience’: Houston mayor tells people to wear masks, follow other health guidelines

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner during an update Monday reminded the public how prevalent coronavirus still is in the community.

According to Turner, 1,317 new cases were reported for Sunday and Monday, bringing the city’s total to 20,011. Turner also said that 224 coronavirus-related death have been reported in Houston, including five new deaths. Of those deaths, 64 are related to nursing homes, Turner said.

“Let me remind everyone that this virus is still very much prevalent within our community,” Turner said. “It is deadly. It’s insidious, so please take it seriously.”

Houston’s positivity rate at the end of April and pretty much through all of May was at 3%, but the percentage is now above 13%, Turner said.

“We are experiencing a surge currently in the city of Houston,” Turner said. “We cannot lose focus that our goal is to bring the number down to blunt the progression of this virus.”

Businesses not following the governor’s order

Turner thanked businesses that have adhered to the governor’s orders to restrict business or close again in order to stifle the spread of coronavirus.

However, Turner said there are still several businesses that are not complying.

Turner said businesses that receive more than 51% of their revenue from alcohol sales and, according to the governor’s order, are supposed to be closed.

He warned people to avoid places that are open but should be closed or those that are overcrowded and do not allow for social distancing.

People are urged to set aside politics and arguments and come together to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in Houston, Turner said.

“It makes no sense for you to be spotlighted and highlighted on local and national news and on social media in the midst of a healthcare crisis,” Turner said. “This is real. People are dying. People are getting sick … Quite frankly, I have lost patience with you in that regard.”

Young people getting sick

According to Turner, doctors are saying that people in their 20s, 30s and 40s are getting sick.

David Persse, with the Houston Health Department, said the positivity rate in Houston is continuing to go up, and there is a rise in the number of young people being diagnosed with COVID-19.

While young people do tend to do better with the virus, Persse said they still are able to pass the virus around and put loved ones and others who are more at risk in danger.

Persse also emphasized that just because young people are not as hard-hit by coronavirus, it doesn’t mean they will not be affected.

About 15% of people in the ICU are in their 20s and 30s, Persse said.

“Think twice before you go out,” Persse said.

Overwhelming the emergency system

Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña said 911 calls said there has been an increase in respiratory calls.

According to Peña, that has affected the availability of emergency responders because some ambulances are having to wait over an hour to get patients unloaded and processed into a hospital.

“That (wait time) has an impact on our ability to be in service, on the street and ready to respond to the next call,” Peña said.

Peña urged people to see their primary care physicians before calling 911 unless if it is a true, life-threatening emergency.

Watch the full news conference below: