Harris County needs to ‘take drastic action’ in order to fight growing COVID-19 cases, Judge Lina Hidalgo says

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HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo held a news conference Monday where she addressed the growing number of coronavirus cases in Houston and a new $30 million small business assistance program.

Hidalgo said the community must continue to work to control the virus because no matter how much effort gets put into the economy, things are not going to get better if the virus is getting worse.

“We are not going to be in a place for these businesses to open successfully if we do not get this virus under control,” Hidalgo said.

According to Hidalgo, 48% of patients in ICU are COVID-19 patients, and the percentage continues to grow. There are people having to wait for ICU beds and hospitalizations continue to rise.

“The strategy of just filling our hospital beds with sick residents is wrong,” Hidalgo said. “It’s the wrong way to pursue public health policy. It is the wrong way to get ahead of this virus, and it’s wrong morally. It’s also not working.”

Of those hospitalized since the beginning of May, over 50% are Hispanic and 25% of people hospitalized since March have been black despite both being minorities in the community, Hidalgo said.

“If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is,” Hidalgo said. “One of the saddest repercussions of this strategy to fill up all hospital beds before taking meaningful actions has been how we are leaving an enormous piece of our community behind.”

Hidalgo urged people to continue to stay home. The virus does not respect timelines or deadlines, and that mentality is what set the community up to fail, Hidalgo said.

“We cannot just flatten the curve. We have to crush it,” Hidalgo said. “...The virus is catching up with all of us and we need to take drastic action now.”

Dr. Umair Shah with Harris County Public Health Department echoed Hidalgo’s sentiment, saying our community is in a critical situation.

Shah also urged people to stay home, wear a face covering if you have to go out and to get tested.

He also reiterated that we cannot let the vulnerable population fall by the wayside. Those who are part of those communities are urged to not be afraid to get tested or get the care they need.

“This is a virus that is going to be with us for some time,” Shah said. “We are fighting a virus, but we are in this together.”

Watch the complete news conference below:

🔴WATCH LIVE: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo gives update on assistance for small businesses

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Monday, July 13, 2020

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.