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Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo says it’s 'winding down’ on using NRG as medical shelter

HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo during a press conference on Friday said the county’s coronavirus cases are winding down and the curve seems to have flattened.

She said because of this, NRG will no longer be used as a medical shelter, which was included in the county’s insurance policy to help distribute resources the county needed and provide shelter for hospitals that needed beds.

“I’ve directed our staff to wind down the contract with the private contractor Garner for medical shelter at NRG. NRG was an insurance policy it was a bridge for us to be able to get to where we could get resources locally,” she said.

Hidalgo said the initial decision to use NRG as a medical shelter was around the time hospitalization around the world climbed, at some point tripled, every couple of days. She said the county wanted to secure the last medical shelter of its kind for the county to not end up in a place to make hard decisions.

“If we hadn’t had the resource and there was a surge it would have been tragic,” she said.

Hidalgo said the county now has resources to build its medical facility, which will be less costly to the community.

“Supply chains have caught up. We now have resources locally to build shelter here and we are doing that in the time this private one demobilizes ideally at less cost to the community,” she said.

Hidalgo said the curve was flattened due to social distancing and stay at home orders.

Hidalgo also thanked local universities including the University of Houston and McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston for their efforts to supply the system with several hundred needed medical face shields.

“There was a point where we only had enough for a handful of days. This will give us two months of PPE for Harris Health,” she said.

Hidalgo said she has seen the long lines at fabric stores ahead of the mask order and wanted people to know that you do not need to purchase a mask and can use cloth-like items they have at home.

“Wanted to make sure people know you probably have what you need already. You don’t need to purchase,” she said.

Hidalgo thanked Mayor Sylvester Turner, Mattress Mack and local law enforcement for handing out masks and not fines.

Hidalgo said she needs people to take wearing a mask seriously because they’re helping save lives and getting the economy back on track sooner. She said you don’t have to wear a mask while driving or if you have medical issues that will keep you from wearing one.

She said the virus spreads through contact and by wearing a mask, it will help limit contact with others.

Watch the full announcement below:

WATCH LIVE: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo to give update on county’s response to COVID-19

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Friday, April 24, 2020

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