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TIMELINE: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo: A coronavirus timeline of messages

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo addresses Texas' efforts to combat COVID-19
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo addresses Texas' efforts to combat COVID-19

HOUSTON – Since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, the message from government officials has evolved.

Texas is no exception. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has been part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic since the beginning.

Here’s a look back, in chronological order, at the judge’s communications about the coronavirus.

FEBRUARY

February 11, 2020

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo launches coronavirus rumor control website to combat misinformation

MARCH

March 2, 2020

Harris County Judge Hidalgo, public health officials provide update on coronavirus

Hidalgo said if there was a confirmed case in the Houston area, the city will be notified as soon as possible.

Click2Houston.com on March 2, 2020

March 28, 2020

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo provides tour inside call center responsible for health pre-screenings

APRIL

April 2, 2020

Judges not currently hearing eviction cases, but Hidalgo says she will make an order if needed

April 6, 2020

Mayor Turner, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announce new resources to help essential workers find child care

April 11, 2020

WATCH: Harris County Judge Hidalgo, Mayor Turner provide update on coronavirus response

April 16, 2020

Governor Abbott, Harris County Judge Hidalgo announce opening of Walgreens COVID-19 testing sites

April 16, 2020

‘We can’t do this prematurely’: Hidalgo talks about reopening Harris County, more testing sites

April 20, 2020

Hidalgo appoints czar to oversee Harris County’s emergence from coronavirus pandemic

April 21, 2020

Harris County Judge says hospital admissions rose slightly in past few days, peak not reached

April 22, 2020

INVESTIGATES: Conversations underway to dismantle costly temporary hospital at NRG Park

Judge Lina Hidalgo said she is thankful the county didn’t need to use the facility for this first round of coronavirus cases.

“That doesn’t mean we don’t need additional capacity,” she said. “We are exploring right now whether we need to continue with that facility or if there is an alternative for the capacity.”

Click2Houston.com on April 22, 2020

April 23, 2020

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo sued over face mask requirement

The suit claims Hidalgo has exceeded her authority by implementing orders more restrictive than those of Gov. Greg Abbott, which take precedence.

Neither Hidalgo nor Hotze could immediately be reached for comment.

Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on April 23, 2020

April 24, 2020

This is why a mask order was put in place, according to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

April 24, 2020

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

April 27, 2020

Hidalgo announces COVID-19 testing strike team and new mobile testing sites

Hidalgo said the goal is to save lives and work proactively to isolate areas where the virus could spread. This will only be for Harris County outside of city limits.

Click2Houston.com on April 27, 2020

April 27, 2020

Harris County judge says she will amend mask order to conform with Gov. Abbott’s order. See how other local leaders reacted

April 28, 2020

Judge Lina Hidalgo announces three key components to getting Harris County back on track

MAY

May 1, 2020

‘Not so fast’: Reopening is a slow process that will take teamwork, Hidalgo says

“Reopening doesn’t mean mission accomplished. It doesn’t mean that the virus goes away. If the virus spreads like wildfire and the hospitals run out of space ... things are going to have to shut back down again.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on May 1, 2020

May 2, 2020

Hidalgo signs new stay-home, work-safe order for businesses not permitted to reopen by Abbott

May 5, 2020

Hidalgo reminds residents to prepare for hurricane season amid COVID-19 pandemic

May 12, 2020

‘We are not powerless’: Hidalgo highlights progress on flood mitigation projects despite coronavirus

May 13, 2020

300 contact tracers will be ready to go in Harris County next week, Hidalgo says

Hidalgo made her remarks after speaking to a class of trainees at Harris County Public Health. She said that some of those who will become tracers are people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic. Others are volunteers.

The money being used to pay the tracers is coming from federal funds allocated to the county as part of the CARES Act, Hidalgo said.

Click2Houston.com on May 13, 2020

May 14, 2020

How Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is navigating coronavirus and conservative backlash in Texas’ biggest county

You’re always going to have detractors. I’m not going to put approval ratings on a pedestal. That’s not the point.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on May 14, 2020

May 20, 2020

‘No safer’: Hidalgo extends ‘stay home, work safe’ order for Harris County until June 10

May 26, 2020

TRUST INDEX: Checking the accuracy of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s statement about COVID-19 in Houston vs. New York City

On Thursday, May 21, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo was talking about her new stay home order when she made a statement about Houston’s fight against COVID-19 compared to another large city.

“The only reason we have not seen a situation like Italy, like New York, like other places have seen cause we’ve done social distancing because we’ve done our work,” she said.

While Houston’s spread-out geography has helped, it’s not the only reason Houston has fared better than New York City, so far.

Click2Houston.com on May 26, 2020

JUNE

June 4, 2020

Mayor Turner, Judge Hidalgo ask for eviction hearings to be put on hold until late August

June 5, 2020

Abbott urges residents of East Texas to be prepared for a ‘quick evacuation.’ Judge Hidalgo tells a different story.

June 10, 2020

‘Flatten the curve again’: Judge Hidalgo, Mayor Turner say recent spike in COVID-19 cases puts Houston-area at Threat Level 2

June 11, 2020

Here’s a breakdown of the COVID-19 threat levels in Harris County

June 12, 2020

How effective are COVID-19 threat level charts in other cities and states?

The new system was laid out amid a spike in new cases and hospitalizations and growing concerns about the spread of the virus in the Houston area. At present, the county is at the second-highest risk level — orange. But Hidalgo warned if current trends continue, she may elevate the threat level to red, which means a recommendation that everyone stay home.

Click2Houston.com on June 12, 2020

June 15, 2020

Why a 2nd shutdown over coronavirus might be worse than the 1st -- and how to prevent it

June 17, 2020

Turner says mask order similar to Bexar County under consideration, as Houston-area coronavirus cases continue to rise

When KPRC 2 asked Hidalgo’s office for comment on a possible mask order, her office responded with the following statement:

“We’re unsure of the legality and are checking with the County Attorney’s Office on that. That being said, we strongly urge residents exercise personal responsibility and to wear face coverings to protect themselves and others from this virus. We’re not any safer today than we were in March. There is no vaccine. No cure. We remain very concerned about the trajectory of hospital admissions and want to remind residents that we are at level 2 – Orange – a significant (and) uncontrolled spread of the virus and that residents should minimize all contacts.”

Click2Houston.com on June 17, 2020

June 18, 2020

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo hopes to finalize a mask order by Friday, office says

Judge Lina Hidalgo’s office told KPRC 2 Hidalgo hopes to finalize the mask order by Friday.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday that he and Hidalgo had reviewed the order first issued by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. He said he was open to the idea of the mask and they were discussing the possibility. Hidalgo’s office said Wednesday that the legalities of the order were being reviewed by the Harris County Attorney’s Office.

Click2Houston.com on June 18, 2020

June 19, 2020

FAQs: Answers to your most pressing questions about the Harris County mask order

“The requirement is that businesses develop and implement a plan (to comply with the order. I’ve directed my team to seek guidance from the state. We will start with education and I hope we won’t have to go past that.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on June 19, 2020

June 19, 2020

Harris County Judge, Mayor Turner announce order requiring businesses that provide goods and services to mandate masks for customers, employees

Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner likened the order to a “no shirt, no shoes, no service,” policy that many businesses already have in place.

Click2Houston.com on June 19, 2020

June 21, 2020

3 things to keep in mind as the Harris County mask order goes into effect Monday

An order issued by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Friday that will require businesses offering goods and services to ensure customers and employees are wearing masks, will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Click2Houston.com on June 21, 2020

June 21, 2020

If Harris County continues same coronavirus track, Houston could be worst affected city in US, expert says

Judge Lina Hidalgo’s office told KPRC 2 Hidalgo hopes to finalize the mask order by Friday.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday that he and Hidalgo had reviewed the order first issued by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. He said he was open to the idea of the mask and they were discussing the possibility. Hidalgo’s office said Wednesday that the legalities of the order were being reviewed by the Harris County Attorney’s Office.

Click2Houston.com on June 21, 2020

June 22, 2020

Could Harris County go to ‘red alert’ on coronavirus threat scale?

“The seven-day trend in hospitalizations and the 14-day trend in hospitalizations are continuing to rise and continuing to speed up. So, those trends are accelerating. I am very, very concerned about what I’m seeing.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo on June 22, 2020

June 25, 2020

Some Texas cities revive plans to add hospital bed capacity at convention centers if coronavirus cases climb

June 25, 2020

Officials prep alternative hospital plans as COVID-19 cases surge to all-time highs

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo tweeted Wednesday that NRG is ready to deploy.

Click2Houston.com on June 25, 2020

June 25, 2020

Gov. Greg Abbott keeps businesses open despite surging coronavirus cases and rising deaths in Texas

“We can’t have such disregard for human life & our economy as to say let’s fill all our base & surge ICU beds before taking meaningful action. Let’s not get there. Let’s have respect for the lives of everyone in our community. Minimize all contacts.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, as cited on June 25, 2020

June 26, 2020

Harris County moved to ‘red alert’ on coronavirus threat scale

June 27, 2020

Selection process underway as thousands apply for Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund

June 28, 2020

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo self-quarantining after potential COVID-19 exposure

June 29, 2020

Texas city and county leaders ask Gov. Greg Abbott for authority to implement local stay-at-home orders

Over the weekend, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who oversees the state’s largest county, suggested in an interview she was pushing for the authority to issue another stay-at-home order.

Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on June 29, 2020

June 29, 2020

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

June 30, 2020

Harris County Commissioners vote 3-2 to extend disaster declaration, including mask order, until Aug. 26

A spokesperson for Judge Lina Hidalgo told KPRC 2′s Syan Rhodes that since the mask order falls under this disaster declaration, it too is extended until August 26.

Click2Houston.com on June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo tests negative for coronavirus, continues to quarantine

June 30, 2020

Judge Hidalgo: Texas Medical Center change in ICU bed capacity reporting is alarming

JULY

July 1, 2020

Mayor Turner, Judge Hidalgo announce new housing initiative for the homeless amid COVID-19 pandemic

July 1, 2020

Internal messages reveal crisis at Houston hospitals as coronavirus cases surge

The shifting messages upset Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the county’s top elected official. She vented her frustrations Monday during a virtual news conference from her home, where she’s on self-quarantine after a member of her staff tested positive for the coronavirus. Hidalgo said the “diluted” messaging from some hospital leaders “weakens our community’s ability” to stop the virus.

“The goal is not to have doctors and nurses that we’re bringing in from out of town,” Hidalgo said. “The goal is not to have basic general population beds that we need for dialysis and heart attacks and strokes and pregnant women who need to give birth turned into ICU beds. The goal is not to see how much room we can make for people to go and be there and die in a hospital bed. That is not the point of any of this.”

Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on July 1, 2020

July 2, 2020

Houston lawyer plans to sue Gov. Abbott regarding mask statewide order

A few months ago, Woodfill sued Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo following her mask order and is already working on the same against the governor.

Click2Houston.com on July 2, 2020

July 2, 2020

Here’s what will happen if you’re caught violating Gov. Abbott’s mask order

A Harris County mask order previously issued by Judge Lina Hidalgo required business owners that offer goods and services to mandate that all customers and employees wear masks. If a business was caught in violation of the Harris County order, Hidalgo said that they could face a fine of up to $1,000.

KPRC 2 has reached out to Hidalgo’s office to find out if the fine for business owners is still in effect. A representative for her office shared this message with us: “Our order is staying in place, but the governor’s order supersedes local ones. I would direct all questions to the governor’s office.”

Click2Houston.com on July 2, 2020

July 2, 2020

Texas won’t specify where hospital beds are available as coronavirus cases hit record highs

The slides that the medical center posts on its website have been changed to put emphasis on its available surge capacity.

But the sudden change in data reporting brought criticism from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

“The timing is suspect. I find it very very problematic,” Hidalgo said in a new conference Monday. She said that her team uses this data to help develop its projections and that the county’s message urging residents to stay home can be “diluted” by this sudden change.

Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on July 2, 2020

July 5, 2020

Several Texas cities worry hospitals may run out of beds in two weeks or sooner

July 6, 2020

US is still ‘knee-deep’ in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Fauci says

The state opened "too early, too much," driving Houston hospitals to surge capacity in recent days, said Harris County government head Lina Hidalgo.

“Wishful thinking is neither good economic policy, nor good public health policy,” Hidalgo told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

CNN on Click2Houston.com on July 6, 2020

July 7, 2020

GOP governors in Florida and Texas split as coronavirus cases surge

After Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said on ABC’s “This Week” that her county, which includes Houston, needs the state to give it authority to issue a stay-at-home order, Abbott said in a television interview Monday that going into “lockdown mode” would “really force Texans into poverty.” He also blamed local governments for failing to enforce existing orders.

CNN on Click2Houston.com on July 7, 2020

July 9, 2020

Nearly 80 Texas counties are opting out of Texas’ mask order. Others are refusing to enforce it.

The resistance comes as officials in the state’s biggest cities continue to push Abbott to issue more restrictions. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, for example, has called for the authority to issue a local stay-at-home order.

Texas Tribune on Click2Houston.com on July 9, 2020

July 13, 2020

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo gives update on assistance to small businesses


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