The city of Houston’s total COVID-19 case count has officially surpassed the 5,000 mark.
On Wednesday, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced 117 new cases, bringing the total to 5,030. He also announced three additional deaths.
Meanwhile, the city continues to work for those who are struggling due to the pandemic, including both Houston patients and those on the front lines. Turner announced the Houston Health Department will host two virtual job fairs this week to increase its workforce to monitor and contain COVID-19.
The Houston Together Virtual Job Fairs will be held on Thursday, May 14 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Microsoft Teams. People interested in participating should visit the city of Houston Human Resources careers website Thursday morning to find links to join the virtual events.
The job fairs will provide information on 300 new temporary positions, including how to apply. Available positions include contact tracers, call center representatives, community involvement coordinators, epidemiologists, nurses and other roles.
Turner is also encouraging Houstonians who haven’t gotten tested for coronavirus to visit a local testing site before the weekend. He said a potential for severe weather will shut down city testing sites.
In addition, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) and Downtown Redevelopment Authority announced a partnership with gener8tor to support Houston artists, musicians, creatives and nonprofit leaders affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Under the Houston Emergency Response Program, artists, musicians and other creatives will have access to a free, week-long webinar series with experts who specialize in social media, mental health, unemployment assistance and financial relief resources. The program also includes a chat with Fernando Garibay, who most famously worked with pop superstar Lady Gaga.
“The cultural community it is the heart and soul of Houston,” said Debbie McNulty with MOCA. “Right now, organization leaders and individuals are adapting and persevering to keep bringing us art, music and creativity when we need it most.”
On Tuesday, Turner announced up to 3,000 city of Houston employees will face up to 10 days of furloughs. The mayor said the city is in a budgetary crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All furloughs will occur after July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, but will not affect the police and fire departments.
“We are presenting a budget that does balance, even in a very uncertain time. We are obligated to balance our books. We are doing that,” Turner said, explaining the budget provides for overtime for police, three cadet classes for the fire department, funding for parks, libraries and trash pickups and upgrades to drainage and streets.