No new virus deaths on back-to-back days in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Offering optimistic news, Mayor Sylvester Turner reported no new COVID-19 deaths for a second straight day, which he says is the first time that has happened since the pandemic.

Turner also noted that the 20 positive cases Tuesday are the lowest single-day count of new cases "in a while."

"The only time we've had this number of cases has been on Sunday. We didn't have anything to report on Sunday, it was zero," Mayor Turner said. "But then during the week, we're reporting 20 cases, new cases that is. That's pretty much an all time low, since the very beginning. That's the first time we've reported back-to-back zero deaths. It's the first time."

While this is welcoming news, the city's death toll remains at 34, and health officials still say cases have not peaked yet.

Just a day before, Turner made a first step toward reopening the city's economy by naming Marvin Odum, former president of Shell Oil, his "recovery leader."

Turner is planning to provide more details this week into how he intends to steadily reopen the city in the midst of the pandemic.

He did speak briefly about the governor's executive order to reopen businesses. He said his only question about retailers going curbside is concerning the malls reopening.

"I don't quite logically understand how that would work. But from a general sense, I don't have a problem with curbside service," Turner said.

He also said he's pretty anxious to hear about the state's plan for more testing. Turner said when determining the reopening, we should look at the number of people being tested and where the virus is located.

"Until testing becomes more robust and widespread, we really don't know where the virus is," Turner said. "We can say we're either close to the peak or at the peak, but if you don't know where the virus is and you start to reopen too quickly, then you're going to be running right in the midst of the storm."

On a lighter note, Turner also announced his partnership with Walmart, Sam's Club and the Houston Food Bank to help feed people with disabilities in Houston.

Walmart and Sam's Club contributed $30,000 worth of food to the food bank.

The program aims to deliver shelf-stabilizing items, fresh produce, as well as some basic home necessities for people with disabilities who are finding it difficult to secure these items as a result of the COVID-19.

Turner said those who need assistance can fill out online forms or call 832-394-0814 to be placed on the list to receive non-perishable items and food. He said all distributions will be available Friday.

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