Oct. 27, 2020
Houston Health Department, partners announce free COVID-19 testing schedule for week of October 26

HOUSTON The Houston Health Department and its agency partners are announcing the schedule for sites offering free COVID-19 tests the week of October 26, 2020. The week will offer 16 free testing sites across Houston, including three mega sites.
Houston Health Department
The Houston Health Department, in partnership with the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and the State of Texas, will offer testing (self nasal swab) at its Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star Drive. The site has a 1,250 daily test capacity and will open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Appointments are available at On-site registration is also available.
The department also offers free drive-thru testing (self nasal swab) at the Aramco Services Company, 9009 W. Loop South. The mega testing site will open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It remains open until reaching daily capacity of 1,000 tests.

People wanting to get tested at the Aramco site can call the department’s COVID-19 Call Center at 832-393-4220 between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. to receive an access code.
The department will also offer drive thru testing (self nasal swab) at four other sites. The sites don’t require appointments and open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or until reaching its daily capacity of 250 tests. The sites and their days of operations are: 

  • Fifth Ward Multi-Service Center, 4014 Market St., Oct. 27-29,
  • Magnolia Multi-Service Center, 7037 Capitol, Oct. 27-31, 
  • Higher Dimension Church, 9800 Club Creek Dr., Oct. 28-30, and
  • Melrose Community Center, 1001 Canino Rd., Oct. 27-31, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. 

The department will provide (self nasal swab) testing at the METRO Addicks Park & Ride, 14230 Katy Freeway, and the Multicultural Center, 951 Tristar Drive, city of Webster. Appointments are available by calling the department’s call center at 832-393-4220.
The department’s Area Agency on Aging offers free in-home COVID-19 testing to people who live in Harris County. Call 800-213-8471 for information. Supplies are limited and the service is available only in October.
Texas Division of Emergency Management
Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Houston Astros offer free COVID-19 tests (self oral swab) daily at Minute Maid Park (Lot C), 2208 Preston. The testing site’s capacity is 1,200 tests per day.
The site features evening hours twice a week, eight drive-thru testing lanes and four walk-up testing lanes. It opens 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday and from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Spanish-speaking staff is available on-site.
Visit to set an appointment or obtain more information. On-site registration is also available.
TDEM and the department will also operate drive-thru testing sites (self oral swab) Monday through Saturday at: 

  • HCC - Northeast Campus, 555 Community College Drive, and
  • HCC - South Campus, 1990 Airport Blvd.

Appointments are required, available at
TDEM and the department offer weekday testing (nasal swab by healthcare professional) at LeRoy Crump Stadium, 12321 Alief Clodine Rd. Appointments are required, available by visiting
United Memorial Medical Center
United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) will offer weekday testing (nasal swab by healthcare professional) at drive-thru test sites at: 

  • Plaza Americas Mall, 7500 Bellaire Blvd.,
  • Houston Community College - Southeast, 6815 Rustic, 
  • UMMC Tidwell, 510 W. Tidwell Rd., and
  • Houston Community College - North Forest, 6010 Little York.  

The sites don’t require appointments and offer testing from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or until reaching daily capacity of 300 tests.
People needing information about UMMC test sites can call 1-866-333-COVID or visit
Federally Qualified Health Centers
The health department is providing test kits, lab access and equipment to local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) so they can expand their COVID-19 testing capacity. The centers and phone numbers people can call to set up testing appointments are: 

  • HOPE Clinic, 713-773-0803
  • Spring Branch Community Health Center, 713-462-6565
  • El Centro de Corazon, 713-660-1880
  • Avenue 360 Health and Wellness, 713-426-0027
  • Lone Star Circle of Care at the University of Houston, 346-348-1200, and
  • Scarsdale Family Health Center, 281-824-1480. 

FQHC patients pay what they can afford, based on income and family size, and are not denied services due to inability to pay or lack of insurance.
The department and its agency partners may shift locations and schedules of test sites to better meet community needs. Houstonians can visit for current Houston testing sites and information about stopping the spread of the virus.
Information obtained through testing, treatment or services will not be used against immigrants in their public charge evaluation.
Flyer: Houston Free Testing Sites: Week of Oct. 26, 2020

Oct. 27, 2020
Mayor Sylvester Turner Addresses COVID-19 Response and Resiliency in 2020 State of the City
“The City’s foundation is strong; the City itself is resilient; and the City’s future is bright.”
HOUSTON - Mayor Sylvester Turner delivered his fifth State of the City address, his first on virtual platform, on Oct. 22, hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership.

He addressed the COVID-19 health pandemic, economic challenges, racial justice, homelessness, mental health and street infrastructure.

During the 15-minute speech, Mayor Turner outlined how the City is battling the COVID-19 pandemic on several fronts from leveraging new public health resources to developing small business assistance programs. The City of Houston also created a rental assistance program for residents and established a $20 million fund for grants to small businesses.

Mayor Turner also pointed to several announcements this year that have positioned Houston to increase entrepreneurship and digital skills as it continues making strides to grow Houston as a technology hub. #SiliconeBayou.

  • In September, the Rice Alliance announced the creation of a new clean energy accelerator to help create a new generation of young entrepreneurs focused on our energy future. 
  • In June, Greentown Labs, the nation’s largest climatech incubator out of the Boston area, announced plans to open a Houston incubator next year in the 16-acre Midtown Innovation District. The 40,000-square-foot Greentown Houston will have space for up to 50 emerging companies. They announced Greentown Houston's inaugural members in October. 
  • The City has also expanded its digital alliance with Microsoft through the tech company’s Accelerate program. The program is designed to address economic recovery through skilling both underserved communities and re-skilling the many Americans impacted by COVID-19.

“Houston is a City that continues to transform, to innovate and to be an example for the rest of the country on how to be diverse, welcoming and inclusive,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “As we gradually take steps to reopen, we recognize that the full recovery will take several years, but when we work together, we put ourselves in the best position to manage the virus and rebound from it.”

Mayor Turner addressed the protests and demonstrations that took place after the death of George Floyd, pointing to his Complete Communities initiative as a way of combatting racial inequity.

"In June 2019, the Complete Communities initiative expanded to five additional neighborhoods – Alief-Westwood, Fort Bend Houston, Kashmere Gardens, Magnolia Park-Manchester, and Sunnyside, where we are working to revitalize and transform Houston’s most under-resourced neighborhoods and create a more equitable and prosperous city for all Houstonians. The pro-active response to racial inequity and social injustice is Complete Communities," said Mayor Turner.

A copy of Mayor Turner's State of the City can be found here.

Oct. 19, 2020

HOUSTON - Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a COVID-19 Related Crime Reduction Program to increase overtime for the Houston Police Department through the end of December 2020. The City will use $4.1 million of CARES Act funding for the overtime program.

Beginning today, through the end of the year, there will be an additional 110 officers deployed each day to saturate six hot spot areas that are driving the violent crime numbers.

Those areas are:
South Gessner
North Belt
South Central
Throughout those areas, HPD officers will be on proactive patrols to reduce crime and address the spike in homicides, shootings and other crimes the city has experienced during the pandemic.

Overall, violent crime is up 11% in Houston.

“Major cities across the nation are experiencing an increase in homicides, shootings and other crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “There is no denying the virus has contributed to anxiety and stress as people cope with job losses, feelings of isolation, illness or death of loved ones, children learning at home virtually and fear of the unknown.”

An Oct. 6 news article in the New York Times, reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has frayed all kinds of institutions and infrastructure that hold communities together, that watch over streets, that mediate conflicts, that simply give young people something to do. Programs devised to reduce gun violence and that proved effective have been upended by the pandemic.

"We'll be relying on data to add more officers, more eyes, more visibility, and most importantly, more safety for the people of Houston," said Chief Art Acevedo, Houston Police Department. "We are going to be watching on a daily basis and we will have tactical intelligence and move our resources as needed because we know displacement can occur."

The City of Houston has worked in these unprecedented times to help people holistically. For instance, the Houston Health Department launched a mental health hotline, the Mayor’s Office of Anti-Trafficking was expanded to include domestic violence, to address the increase in domestic violence calls. The program includes a partnership with MAKR Collective, an economic empowerment program for survivors with wrap around financial services. Through skills training we help survivors achieve financial independence.

The City has also provided two rental assistance packages worth more than $35 million for Houstonians having trouble paying their rent as a result of hardships created by the pandemic. In August, the Houston City Council passed the City's Small Business Economic Relief Program (SBERP), which will be funded with $15 million of the City's allocated CARES Act 2020 funds.

Oct. 12, 2020
Mayor Turner to Announce Early Voting Challenge for Area Universities
As the first day of early voting begins, Mayor Sylvester Turner will encourage young people to participate in the 2020 election.
The mayor will join students at two college campus events and announce the Mayor's Early Vote College Challenge to inspire University of Houston, Texas Southern University and Rice University students to vote early.
Tuesday, Oct. 13
starting at 10:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m. Mayor Turner will announce the Mayor's Early Vote College Challenge at a University of Houston. rally.
4455 University Drive Houston, Texas 77204
11:30 a.m. Mayor Turner will take part in TSU's Student March to the Polls. The march will kick off at Ernest Sterling Student Life Center (3100 Cleburne St, Houston, TX 77004).
Mayor Turner also will vote early on the TSU campus.
Oct. 10, 2020

Today, I have lost a close friend, a trusted confidant, and a man who has been like a brother to me since shortly after the day we met at Harvard Law School.

"Jimmie Lee Solomon came from humble beginnings, but he was the epitome of what it meant to build a successful life by working hard and making a difference in others' lives.
He was born in the small town of Thompsons, Texas, in Fort Bend County and later attended Dartmouth College, where he played football and earned a degree in History.
Jimmie Lee practiced law for several years after graduating from Harvard Law School with honors.

"Later, he joined Major League Baseball and became one of the most influential and highest-ranking Black executives for more than two decades while serving as the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and the Executive Vice President for Baseball Development. During his time at MLB, Jimmie Lee helped establish the first Urban Youth Baseball Academy in Compton, CA., and was instrumental in bringing the second academy to Houston, where it exists today in Sylvester Turner Park.

"Last month, Jimmie Lee was excited to announce a new private equity firm with Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker and former New York Mets general manager Jim Duquette to help current and former MLB players grow their brand.

"Despite all that he accomplished in life, one of his greatest joys was serving as a mentor to active and retired professional athletes. Jimmie Lee Solomon was a man blessed with many talents, confidence, intelligence, and determination.

"I will always treasure his friendship and honor all that he accomplished in his 64 years. He had more deals to make and more barriers to shatter, but now he has finished the race.

"I extend my sincerest condolences to Jimmie Lee's family, including his daughter, grandchild, brothers and sisters, and a host of friends in Florida and Houston, where he divided his time."