Houston leaders call for lockout as county reports more than 27,600 active coronavirus cases

Houston leaders are calling for another blockade as the number of active cases in the coronavirus in the county it increased to more than 27,600 on Sunday. Harris County, Houston, the most populous county in Texas, has been the hardest hit in Lone Star State.

“Not only do we need an order to stay home now, but we must keep it this time until the hospitalization curve goes down, it doesn’t just flatten,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo tweeted. “Many communities that persevered in that way are reopening in the long term. Let’s learn from that and don’t make the same mistake twice.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who had previously resisted a mask order in the state, warned on Friday that the state would need to crash even more if the numbers of cases do not decrease.

“The worst is yet to come as we go through that massive increase in people testing positive,” Abbott told CBS affiliate KLBK-TV. “The only way we can keep our businesses open, the only way we can continue to have a job that they need to pay their bills is for everyone to adopt this practice of wearing a face mask.”

Abbott extended a state mandate for disaster on Friday.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Saturday he disagreed with Abbott’s plan to reopen schools. “There is no point in having this conversation while this virus is out of control,” Turner said, according to CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV. “You don’t send kids back to school when there’s a big fire and the fires are still burning in August. Put out the fire in July, so put it out for a couple of weeks.”

In El Paso, the sixth largest city in the state, the city and county health authority, Dr. Héctor Ocaranza ordered that schools remain closed until September 8, according to the El Paso Times. The county had an increase of 411 new cases on Sunday.

“This virus is spreading like wildfire in our community and the only way to stop the spread is for everyone to take this seriously and stay home,” Ocaranza said in a statement, according to KDBC-TV, an affiliate of CBS El Paso. “If they must go out, it is important to practice all safety precautions.”

The number of coronavirus cases across Texas increased by more than 8,100 on Sunday, according to the state Department of Health. There were 80 deaths.

The number of people hospitalized across the state rose again to more than 10,400 on Sunday, and there are 977 open beds in the ICU. The hospitalization rate has increased every day since June 11, when 2,008 people were hospitalized.

The U.S. Army Northern Command confirmed Sunday that it had sent 580 military medical personnel to Texas hospitals to help care for patients with coronavirus.