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'Uncontrollable' coronavirus spread in Houston has mayor pleading for 2-week shutdown

The city reported 703 new cases and 16 deaths.

HOUSTON — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner reported Wednesday the City of Houston has 703 new COVID-19 cases and 16 new deaths related to the virus. Local leaders also said they believe a two-week shutdown is needed.

It's the highest daily death total reported in the city and Turner emphasized that the coronavirus is spreading uncontrollably in the community. There have also been 238 new recoveries. Turner said it's important to wear masks when out in public to slow the spread this month because it will impact what happens in the coming months. Turner said he thinks the city needs 90% compliance in mask-wearing and social-distancing in order to slow the spread.

Turner said he agrees with the plan the Houston Independent School District laid out on Wednesday.

He also said he was tested last weekend and his results were negative. He said he has been tested regularly.

The testing sites at Delmar and Butler stadiums will remain open through the end of July and also said the city will likely need them to remain open through the end of August.

Dr. David Persse urged people to participate in contact tracing after being tested.

"Help us help you and your family and your community," Persse said.

He also said wearing masks "correctly and consistently" in addition to social distancing is "highly effective" in slowing the spread of coronavirus.

HFD Chief Sam Pena said a 30-year veteran of his department has been intubated and is currently in ICU. Capt. Leroy Lucio is being treated at a San Antonio hospital.

"It hits home. He's one of our own. Please keep him in your prayers," Pena said.

In Texas, 10,791 new COVID-19 cases were reported, and 110 more deaths. Both are daily records. The state's positivity rate is 16.81%.

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