13 free Houston test sites opening in midst of reopenings

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- "As businesses reopen, do not forget the virus is still here," Mayor Sylvester Turner warned Houstonians on Monday.

Turner offered that reminder during his COVID-19 briefing shortly after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced additional reopenings that included bars and professional sports.

Turner's advice also came in the midst of one more death and 139 new cases in the city. As of Monday, Houston has faced 5,795 coronavirus cases.

The new figures went hand-in-hand with Turner announcing 13 free test sites across the city that are open to anyone regardless of symptoms.

"I probably would choose a different pace, than what he has chosen because now you know bars and bowling clubs and youth sports camps, summer camps, things of that will be opening up" said Mayor Turner, in response to Governor Greg Abbott's decision to reopen a number of services in the coming week. "My only hope and prayer is that several weeks from now, we are not going to see a spike occur.

Turner's Houston and the surrounding areas have consistently faced the largest number of cases in the state since the pandemic reached Texas.

Harris County and Houston have combined for 9,127 of the state's 47,784 coronavirus cases. The county also has the most COVID-19 deaths in Texas at 204.

Overall, Texas has reported 1,336 deaths from the virus.

Doctor David Persse, head of the Houston Health Dept., says data and testing numbers from the State of Texas, Harris County, and City of Houston can seem overwhelming and sometimes confusing. He tried to simplify the information by pointing out that overall, the Houston region's case numbers are flat, but we have not gone down. Although the region is doing well, we are not out of the woods yet.

"So, while the net, while the different sources of information can be confusing if you look at what they really sort of say as opposed to the actual number. They're saying pretty much the same thing," said Dr. Persse. "The virus is out there, it continues to spread Houstonians are doing a good job. But we need to remain vigilant,"

Turner's briefing is coming several days removed after a confirmed case involving one of his colleagues, Councilwoman Letitia Plummer.

The mayor and the remaining council are expected to meet virtually for their upcoming meetings beginning this week.

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