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'Middle of the storm': Houston mayor says COVID numbers are getting worse

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said there are several numbers related to the fight against COVID-19 that are moving in the wrong direction.

HOUSTON — On Monday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner expressed concern over several key numbers that indicate how the city is handling the COVID-19 pandemic. He also praised the city's vaccination "supersite" at Minute Maid Park and said more than 3,800 doses of the vaccine were distributed there last weekend.

RELATED: Thousands of Houstonians receive COVID-19 vaccine at Minute Maid Park

Turner said the city is reporting 1,460 new COVID-19 cases as well as three new deaths related to the virus. In total, the city has reported 131,035 cases and 1,600 deaths. There are also more than 2,100 COVID-19 patients in Houston hospitals, which is just 300 off from the city's peak in July (2,400).

The city has been reporting more than 1,000 new cases for about a week, and now, it's expecting holiday numbers to begin to show up in those metrics.

"We are right in the middle of the storm," Turner said of the city's battle against the virus. "I suspect we'll be in the middle of this storm for the next two weeks."

The city's positivity rate is sitting at 17.4%.

"That number is moving in the wrong direction," Turner said.

Houston Health Department Director Stephen Williams said the city has administered more than 14,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and has a plan to get it out to even more people. To date, the city has received more than 22,100 doses of the vaccine and has administered more than 14,290 of those doses. Nearly 2,000 doses have been transferred to other providers.

Williams said the city is planning on opening two additional supersites, one on the northside and another on the southside, but it depends on how many doses of the vaccine the city receives.

"We also expect to have additional vaccines coming in, I'm hoping by the end of the week," Williams said.

Williams said if the city has enough doses, the new sites will operate as supersites on the weekends.

"As supplies are received, our plans are to have a north and south location where we can actually convert those to mega locations on the weekend, in addition to our four health clinics" Williams said.

Chief Medical Officer for the City of Houston Dr. David Persse expressed concern over the city's hospital numbers. 

COVID-19 hospitalization numbers in Houston have risen dramatically. They are almost at July levels. He expects the situation to worsen.

"We have to expect that the situation will, unfortunately, worsen within the hospitals. At least one-third of the patients in the intensive care units are patients dealing with complications of COVID," Persse said.

Turner also reported that another City of Houston employee died from COVID-19 complications. Jose Rubio had been battling the virus since mid-December. Rubio had worked with the city's Public Works department for 27 years.

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