Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo from self-quarantine: Anything less than stay-home order is a ‘gamble on our own people’

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaking from self-quarantine on June 29, 2020. (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said in a conference call with media Monday that she plans to ask commissioners court to extend the county’s emergency declaration, and, by extension, the mask mandate which is tied to the declaration.

Additionally, Hidalgo -- speaking from self-quarantine after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus -- noted that she’s been in communication with Gov. Greg Abbott’s office about giving her the authority to “enforce” a Stay-Home Work-Safe Order.

Hidalgo says she’s going to continue to push for that authority and that she’s grateful the governor scaled back some of the reopenings, but for her, it’s not enough.

“My fear is that we don’t have any proof that that (the governor’s halt to reopenings) will do it. There is no evidence from a community on the verge of disaster that suddenly you put the restaurants at 50 percent capacity and everything was fine,” Hidalgo said. “The only thing we know works is a stay-home order. Anything short of that is a gamble on our people.”

Hidalgo said the Stay-Home Work-Safe order yielded results and that eventually an enforceable one will be needed. The question now, she said, is when -- and whether the situation will have to get visibly worse with doctors coming in from other areas and beds in hallways.

She added, “It’s about the value of human life. Since when did we decide that we want to fill all of these hospital beds just so that somebody has a bed to die in? The point is not to fill them. It’s to be a community that is resilient and that can be sustainable for the long haul.”

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.