Mayor Turner asks city to be 'understanding' on city work delays amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Monday, July 20, 2020
Houston service may be delayed with 200 workers sick
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This was the emotional plea made by Houston's public works director following the deaths of two of her colleagues.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Mayor Sylvester Turner is addressing the city's response to COVID-19 in a press conference Monday at 3 p.m.

He was joined by Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Pena and Dr. David Persse.

Turner announced there are 884 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 36,985. Seven more deaths have been reported bringing the total death number to 329. Six of the seven new deaths were Hispanics.

He said city services like trash pickup and street repairs may be impacted or delayed "because of what employees are having to face."

Some precautions that have been taken for city workers are:

  • Temperature checks
  • Face mask mandate
  • Hand sanitizer is provided
  • Extra vehicles are sent so no more than two people are riding in a truck

Despite these measures, more than five percent of the team is under quarantine for being exposed to the virus. This is why services by the Houston Public Works may see some delays.

"City employees are not immune," said Turner. "So, please be understanding if there are some delays."

Chief Pena said 162 firefighters are currently in quarantine. Of those 162, he said 38 have tested positive.

He said despite what people may have seen on social media, there are no fire stations that have been closed.

"We are doing everything we can to make sure all units are staffed," he said.

SEE RELATED STORY: Face masks required at stores including Walmart, Best Buy, Starbucks

Last week, Turner announced there were 1,544 new cases, bringing the total to 30,065 cases. Of the total cases, 73 were associated with nursing homes and three were associated with the Harris County Jail.

He proposed the city go under another two-week shutdown but that has ultimately been left up to Gov. Greg Abbott.

SEE RELATED STORY: Mayor Sylvester Turner proposes 2-week shutdown to 're-calibrate'