On Monday, Mayor Sylvester Turner revived his daily virus briefings from city hall to report that the key indicator of virus prevention - the positivity rate - went up from last week's 5.6% to today's 6.5%. After the success of bringing the rate down, the mayor had set a 2.5% goal by mid-November.
Turner acknowledged the briefings were regular as the COVID-19 emergency weighted on the city, and since things were heading in the right direction, none were scheduled last week.
But things have clearly changed.
"We are not anywhere out of the woods. In fact, experts believe Houston could be facing a third wave, or at least another surge of this virus," said Turner, who mentioned El Paso's current coronavirus crisis as a factor in bringing back his updates.
SEE ALSO: El Paso officials ask residents to stay home for 2 weeks as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge
We have the power right now to stop this uptick before it becomes a trend.— Houston Mayor's Office (@houmayor) October 26, 2020
Please continue to wear your face mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands and get tested.
Entering Monday, Houston has had 83,158 confirmed cases, with 1,315 deaths.
Turner also presented a graph that illustrated a rise in the positivity rate, the first such increase since the height of a summer surge.
"I am worried this could be the first signs of a trend in the wrong direction that could sicken more Houstonians and strain our hospital system," Turner tweeted.
These past two weeks represent the first increase on positivity rate since the height of the summer surge.— Houston Mayor's Office (@houmayor) October 26, 2020
I am worried this could be the first signs of a trend in the wrong direction that could sicken more Houstonians and strain our hospital system. pic.twitter.com/SPewq7kX52
The mayor also re-affirmed his insistence that Halloween would not be canceled in the midst of the worrying virus trends. But, he continued to offer alternatives to trick-or-treating and gatherings.
SEE ALSO: Halloween not canceled, but trick-or-treat differently this year, Houston officials say
🚨 The city is NOT cancelling Halloween, but we are encouraging people to forgo traditional trick-or-treating and Halloween gatherings this year in favor of safer alternatives. 🚨— Houston Mayor's Office (@houmayor) October 26, 2020
REMEMBER: a costume mask is not a substitute for a face cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it's made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and mouth and doesn't leave gaps around the face.— Houston Mayor's Office (@houmayor) October 26, 2020