Over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases reported along with 5 new deaths

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With Texas heading toward a massive outbreak, Houston is now reporting five new COVID-19-related deaths and more than 1,000 new cases.

The 1,060 new COVID-19 cases brought Houston's total to 25,396.

The five new deaths brought the city's total to 244. The new deaths included a Black woman in her 70s, two Hispanic men in their 60s, and two white women in their 90s, all with underlying health conditions.

Houston's Medical Authority, Dr. David Persse, looked at the daily tracking numbers, and didn't like what he saw.

"I don't want for people to focus on the deaths," said Persse. "The deaths are terrible, but the number of people in the hospitals, they are really, really sick.

WATCH: People are sick with a capital 'S'

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In the full interview with Houston Health Department's Dr. David Persse, more people are getting "sick with a capital 'S,'" he says. Plus, there's a big misconception about getting tested for COVID-19 he wants to clear up. Press play to watch now.

As of Tuesday, there are 710 COVID-19 cases in Harris County intensive care units. In fact, 45 percent of ICU beds are being used for COVID-19 patients. In general or isolated rooms, 1,978 patients occupy those beds in Harris County.

That is why Mayor Sylvester Turner said holding any large gathering in Houston is a bad idea. He is worried about cases surging even more.
"So, we've got two to three weeks, you know, to really get on top of this to bring the numbers down," said Turner, who is urging the Republican Party of Texas to hold its convention next week virtually instead of in person in Houston.

For now, the convention organizers have said they have full precautions in place and still plan to go ahead with the event.

In the meantime, Houston officials are trying to get the federal government to extend their support of the two large stadium based, COVID-19 testing sites. The two sites do 1,300 tests daily, combined.

"What I'm most concerned about is that there's a group of folks who just refused to get the message," said Dr. Persse, who is reminding everyone awaiting results that they should quarantine until they get the results back. "Until we isolate, until we quarantine, all this testing is, it's all academic. It doesn't mean anything until you make the behavioral changes to stop spreading the virus."

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