Mayor Turner says more COVID-19 tests needed before city reopens

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Monday, April 20, 2020
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Mayor Sylvester Turner updates on city's response to COVID-19.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Mayor Sylvester Turner is pushing for more widespread COVID-19 testing before the city of Houston is reopened.

During his visit to the COVID-19 testing site at Delmar Stadium on Saturday, Mayor Turner updated the city of his COVID-19 efforts.

"The key is on testing," said Turner. "Even though we've been authorized to increase our (testing capability at each site) to 500, there's still concerns about the supplies that we are being given."

Turner said 121 new positive COVID-19 cases were confirmed Saturday, bringing the city's total to 2,691.

Dr. David Persse with Houston's Health Department said healthcare workers in our area are in need of about 8 million surgical masks. He also said they are in need of more "media," which is the liquid used to coat test tubes for nose swab samples during COVID-19 testing.

Despite the increase in numbers, Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo said Det. Ray Cervantes, who was admitted into ICU for COVID-19, has opened his eyes and is responding to doctors..

"We are really, really hopeful, " said Acevedo. "Thanks in large part to the prayers of the community and the excellence of the medical services that we have here. He's come a way, but has a long way to go."

READ MORE: HPD officer in critical condition after positive COVID-19 test

He also said burglaries in businesses were up by 31% and assaults were up by nine percent. He attributed most of the assaults to domestic violence.

Turner, who impressed about the importance of a measured approach, said he will announce on Monday a local leader who will advise committees and groups in charge of the city's reopening and financial recovery.

"For those of us who went through Harvey, and all those past disasters and storms, we were able to locate them on the radar. What's our radar with the virus?" said Turner. "The more we know where it is, who has it or who doesn't have it, the quicker we can return."

However, Abbott's executive order stipulated all retailers in the state can reopen starting Friday, April 24, but on a "to-go" basis only.

SEE ALSO: Texas becomes first state to announce dates easing COVID-19 restrictions