Houston's positivity rate rises close to 8% ahead of Thanksgiving

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With the United States surpassing 11 million COVID-19 cases, with about 1 million of those in the state of Texas, Mayor Sylvester Turner continues to put Houston into defensive mode against the spreading virus.

But, reflective of the growing crisis nationwide, the city of Houston saw a key virus indicator continue to rise.

Turner reported the virus positivity rate shot up to 7.9%. In the middle of last month, the city had a 5.6% rate. Turner had set a goal for Houstonians to drop it to 5% and below.

Overall, the city has counted 90,239 cases, including 1,398 deaths.

The statistics are of particular importance especially with Thanksgiving next week, effectively beginning the holiday season which typically comprises of close gatherings.

Turner urged residents to practice a safer holiday in the midst of pandemic, suggesting staying away from holding gatherings that don't include anyone who lives within the same household.

SEE MORE: How to safely celebrate holidays with family during the COVID-19 pandemic

"Don't invite COVID to Thanksgiving dinner," Turner urged, suggesting foregoing larger gatherings would be worth living another year.

Turner's remarks on Monday come a week and a half out from Thanksgiving. In recent days, both local and federal level recommendations have emerged on the best ways to hold festivities in the midst of the pandemic.

Recognizing the city's annual Thanksgiving parade would not be viable this year, Turner announced the H-E-B Family Thanksgiving Food Distribution set for Saturday starting 8 a.m. at NRG Park. The event is slated to end at 2 p.m. or whenever food supplies run out for families in need.

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