Mayor Sylvester Turner Discusses COVID-19 Impact on City of Houston Employees, Offers Condolences to Families of Two Employees Who Died

Mayor Turner talks about the impact of COVID-19 on City of Houston employees.

Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner extended prayers and condolences to the families of two Houston Public Works employees who passed away last week due to COVID-19. Natarvia Robertson worked in Customer Account Services, and Michael Sanchez (pictured below) worked in Transportation & Drainage Operations.

Both individuals were essential employees reporting to work every day to support Houstonians. Her family and extended family will greatly miss Robertson. Sanchez was a husband, father, brother, and son. His family wants Houstonians to know that he had a passion for serving our City.

“These two colleagues were essential employees reporting to work every day to support Houstonians and provide basic services that keep Houstonians safe during this pandemic.,” said Carol Haddock, PE, Houston Public Works Director. “We have adjusted how we do business because of the pandemic. However, for around 3,000 of our 4,000 employees, telecommuting is not an option. It’s just not possible to run a treatment plant from your home office, unclog a storm water drain from your living room or repair a broken water main if you aren’t physically here.”

The mayor also thanked all municipal employees and first responders who are working to protect Houston during the pandemic. The virus, which is spreading throughout the community, has taken a toll on the City’s overall workforce.

Houston Municipal Employees (excluding HFD and HPD)

  • 286 positive cases

Houston Police Department

  • Of 190 officers quarantined, 142 have tested positive for COVID-19, and 48 others are waiting for test results.
  • Two hundred thirty other officers who tested positive for the virus have returned to work.

Houston Fire Department 

  • 162 firefighters in quarantine
  • 38 have tested positive
  • 189 HFD firefighters have contracted the virus; 151 are back at work
  • No fire stations have been closed due to lack of staffing

“This month, I am asking people to be very intentional and very focused about putting on a mask,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “The goal for us is to slow the spread, flatten the curve, and reduce the number of people going to the hospital so that our health delivery system is not overwhelmed.”

Mayor Turner thanks Houstonians for wearing masks and encourages everyone to be intentional for several more weeks to help flatten the COVID-19 curve.