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Positivity rate for COVID-19 in Houston hovering from 20 to 25 percent, Turner says

The two employees with the Houston Police Department were both women, ages 38 and 46.

HOUSTON — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said there's a glimmer of hope in the battle against COVID-19 but we have a long way to go. He said positivity and hospitalization rates are both down slightly.

Here's a look at the updates from the mayor's news conference Wednesday afternoon. 

  • 8 new deaths bringing total to 346; all 8 were Black or Hispanic
  • The mayor announced two civilian employees with HPD and two more City of Houston employees have died from the coronavirus: Nicole Rodriguez, 38, worked for the HPD patrol division; 46-year-old LaTonya Lewis worked at the HPD fleet division; Angel Barnhart, no age given, worked in human resources; and the solid waste division lost an unidentified deputy assistant director. "All of these employees are heroes for our city," Turner said. "They are frontline workers; they were essential workers; they were serving the people of the City of Houston."
  • There are 773 new coronavirus cases in Houston for a total of 38,516

RELATED: Map: Keeping track of Houston-area coronavirus cases

  • Turner said the positivity rate in Houston is hovering from 20 to 25 percent. He said it needs to drop to 5 percent or below before contact tracing can become effective.
  • "The virus is still actively spreading throughout the community, we have not reached the peak," Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse said. He said there are still dozens of patients in ICU who are extremely ill.
  • Persse said there are four things that would drive down our numbers: 
  1. Shut down the economy
  2. A vaccine
  3. Herd immunity
  4. wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands

Since we're nowhere near the first three, that leaves the fourth option. "These are the things we keep harping on," Dr. Persse said. "If New York City can do it, there's no reason Houston, Texas, can't do it."

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