Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Monday morning that she is considering a shelter-in-place order similar to the one in effect in Dallas County, but that she would not make a decision until consulting with other local leaders and working out exactly what businesses would be able to continue operating under such an order.
She also said the two COVID-19 testing sites operated by the county health department are now open to the general public, but only those that screenings suggests are at high risk of having contracted the virus.
While the sites are operated by Harris County, they are also open to persons in surrounding counties that do not yet have testing capability.
If you think you may be infected, she said, go to ReadyHarris.org and complete the online self-assessment tool. If it shows you may qualify for screening, you will be given a phone number to call for a second screening by phone. If that shows you are in a high-risk group, you will be referred to one of the testing sites.
If you do not have access to the internet, you can call 832-927-7575 for screening information.
She said you can also be referred to a testing site by your own health care provider.
Each of the two sites has a capacity to test 250 people each day and the county has enough supplies for
“several days” of operation, Hidalgo said. The federal government has said more supplies will be provided when and if needed, she added.
Hidalgo’s decision to consider a shelter-in-place order followed a decision by Gov. Greg Abbott Sunday not to make such a directive statewide.
He said that such an order may be justified in the state’s major cities where the virus is already spreading, but would not be in the many less populated counties with no known cases.
Abbott issued orders Sunday to suspend elective surgeries and to allow hospitals to treat more than one patient in rooms designed for single occupancy. He also created a supply chain task force to help ensure that key supplies—such as medical equipment and food—are available when needed.
As of Monday afternoon, there had been 77 cases reported in Harris County (including reports from both the City of Houston and the county). Of those 77, 14 are now classified as recovered. One person has died.
Chambers County has one confirmed case.
Monday afternoon Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia revised that county’s emergency order. Among other things, he has now imposed a 10 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew for all persons in the county. The 24-hour curfew for persons under the age of 18 remains in effect.