HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo signed an order that would make wearing masks in public mandatory for Harris County starting Monday.
The decision caused a lot of backlash within the community, with one local doctor filing a lawsuit that claims, “Hidalgo has exceeded her authority by implementing orders more restrictive than those of Gov. Greg Abbott, which take precedence.”
Hidalgo shared a video on Twitter to clarify that her decision to sign the order and other authoritative decisions she has made were all data-driven.
According to her post, “no data set is more important than hospital admissions.” Her data comes from the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC), “which is a regional entity that helps coordinate across the different hospitals in the region.”
“We don’t have universal testing, so we look at hospital admissions instead,” Hidalgo said. “… It’s not perfect data, but it’s the best we have.”
Hidalgo said that there was an initial spike in hospital admissions, but with the efforts of the community, Harris County has been able to flatten the curve.
The goal now is to bring the curve down for two reasons:
Too many people are still being admitted to hospitals for workers to do contact tracing and isolate and contain cases.
The number of admissions is still too high for hospitals to eventually be able to keep up. Hidalgo said that if Harris County was to have another surge, the hospitals would run out of space.”
“This is about getting the economy open and keeping it open once we do that,” Hidalgo said. “…If we all continue to stay home and apart from one another for just a few more days, we will see that curve hit that peak and come down to the level we need it to get to.”
Data is driving our decision making, and no data set is more important than hospital admissions. We're flattening the curve but need to bend it down to open the economy and keep it open. pic.twitter.com/qDn39fsj8K— Harris County Judge (@HarrisCoJudge) April 23, 2020