Jul 13, 2020 - Health

Houston mayor calls for two-week shutdown as hospitalizations surge

A healthcare worker wears personal protective equipment including a mask and gloves
A health care worker at a COVID-19 testing site in Houston, Texas, on July 9. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted on Monday that he has proposed a two-week citywide shutdown to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as coronavirus infections and hospitalizations continue to surge.

Why it matters: Harris County, where Houston is located, is reporting the most coronavirus cases and fatalities in the state, per Texas' health department. More people are hospitalized and in the ICU in Houston than in any other major city in the state.

  • The CEO of Houston's public health system said on Monday that the region is seeing numbers related to the spread of the virus that are "disproportionately higher than anything we have experienced in the past."
  • He noted that Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital's ICU is at 113% capacity, and 75% of its beds are coronavirus patients.

What they're saying: "If we can not have a shut down, then at least step back to state's Phase 1," Turner tweeted. "This will allow us to reset and reassess."

Flashback: Last month, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said that transmission in Houston is uncontrolled and poses a significant threat to the community. Texas paused its phased economic reopening on June 25 as it became clear that the surging outbreak could accelerate out of control.

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