2 Texas counties urge residents to shelter-in-place as hospitals reach capacity

Judges in Starr and Hidalgo counties sent emergency alerts on Friday, warning residents that local hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley were at capacity.

Judge Eloy Vera said there have been 18 deaths in Starr County due to Covid-19 and that two seriously ill patients had to be transferred out of the area for treatment. One of the patients was taken to San Antonio and the other to Dallas, the judge said in the Facebook post.

“Local and valley hospitals are at full capacity and no more beds are available. I urge all of our residents to take shelter on the spot, cover their faces, practice social distancing and AVOID MEETINGS,” he wrote.

Vera issued a public safety alert announcing a “Severe Level 1” threat as the virus spread rapidly throughout the county.

In neighboring Hidalgo County, Judge Richard Cortez reflected the warning.

In a public safety alert posted on Twitter, he also announced that the hospitals were full and asked residents to shelter-in-place, avoid large gatherings, cover their faces, and practice social distancing.

In the post, Cortez asked residents to celebrate July 4 “responsibly” and “Conserve resources; ONLY call 911 if absolutely necessary.”

Governor issues executive order

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday requiring that masks be worn in public spaces in counties with 20 or more Covid-19 cases. It also gave mayors and judges a mandate to restrict meetings of 10 or more people.

“Wearing a face mask in public has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of Covid-19,” Abbott said in a statement.

“We have the ability to keep business open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a salary, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect each other, and that means wearing a mask in public spaces. ,” he said. “Similarly, large gatherings clearly contribute to the increase in Covid-19 cases. Restricting the size of group meetings will strengthen Texas’ ability to corner this virus and keep Texans safe.”

In Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner asked the community to take several steps to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

During a press conference on Thursday, Turner recommended people to wear masks around other people, ensure social distancing in the workplace or work from home, and reduce business occupancy from 50% to 25%.

He asked that people follow his “strong recommendations” for the next three weeks to help “slow the progression” of the coronavirus in the Houston community.

Dr. David Persse, health authority for the Houston Department of Health, said the city had reached a 25% positivity rate.

“The virus is very prevalent in the community,” Persse said, adding that there were more than 1,200 people in Houston hospitals with more than 500 in the ICU due to coronavirus complications. “The virus is very present,” said Persse, “it is spreading very actively.”

Texas is expected to see nearly 2,000 new hospitalizations per day in mid-July, according to forecasts published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
United States celebrates July 4 with pleas for people to skip the holidays

In Harris County, which encompasses Houston and is the most populous county in Texas, at least two hospitals are “at full capacity,” Turner said Wednesday.

“The threat … Covid-19 represents to our community right now is greater than it has been. There is a severe and uncontrolled spread among our families, friends and communities,” said Turner. “And we have to slow down, so that it doesn’t overwhelm our healthcare system.”

On Friday, Texas reported a third day of new Covid-19 cases that exceeded 7,000, according to data from the state health department.

It reported 7,555 cases on Friday, continuing the trend of strong growth of the disease in the state, with a record of 8,076 new cases on Wednesday and 7,915 new cases on Thursday, according to state data.

Texas also reported 50 new deaths from Covid-19 on Friday. John Hopkins data puts the number of confirmed cases in the state at 185,591, with 2,592 deaths.

The virus has killed more than 129,000 people and infected more than 2.7 million in the US since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University.