2nd death reported in Houston due to coronavirus as number of cases jumps

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Another person has died from the novel coronavirus in Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Saturday, as it was revealed that 163 new cases have been identified.

The sudden increase in positive cases brought Houston's total to 232 by early Saturday afternoon. Houston health officials said the jump was due to a batch of reports received from area medical providers.

Seven Houston police officers have also tested positive as of Saturday midday.

The details were released in a briefing held at Butler Stadium on Saturday, which has been serving as a coronavirus testing site for first responders and people who've had symptoms. On Saturday, Turner said the site is expanding testing to screen people who aren't exhibiting symptoms.

The second death due to the outbreak was a woman in her 70s who died Friday night, according to Turner.

As the number of first responders who've tested positive increases, it won't be uncommon to see Houston officers wearing masks while on duty, according to assistant police chief Larry Satterwhite.

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The first death in the city was a woman in her 60s who recently traveled, officials announced on Thursday.

According to the Houston Health Department, the woman had several underlying health conditions. She died at a hospital on Tuesday, March 24.
On Thursday, the city received confirmation that her death was a COVID-19 case.

"It's unfortunate that our city has lost one of its residents because of the spread of this virus," said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department" "The City of Houston and the health department extend their deepest condolences to the patient's family and friends."

In addition, the department began investigating potential contacts exposed to the virus.

The death was announced during an update by Mayor Sylvester Turner, who accepted a donation of $1 million worth of hand sanitizer from Houston-based Farouk Systems Inc., a hair care products company founded by former Texas gubernatorial candidate Farouk Shami.

Shami's company recently made a donation to the city of Tomball, according to a statement from the company.

"It is our responsibility as Americans, business professionals and human beings to do everything we can to help with supplying America with vital products, equipment and supplies necessary to help fight this virus," Shami said.

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