Hidalgo: Extension of stay-at-home order not a matter of 'if,' but 'how long'

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo provided updates on the county's "Stay Home-Work Safe" order at a March 30 press conference. (Screenshot via Harris County)
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo provided updates on the county's "Stay Home-Work Safe" order at a March 30 press conference. (Screenshot via Harris County)

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo provided updates on the county's "Stay Home-Work Safe" order at a March 30 press conference. (Screenshot via Harris County)

With Harris County's "Stay Home-Work Safe" order set to expire at the end of the day April 3, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said March 30 that it is not a matter of if the county will extend the order, but for how long it will be extended.

The order, which first went into effect March 25, requires all Harris County residents to stay within their homes with exceptions for essential travel, such as trips to the grocery store, and for employees who are deemed essential to the health and safety of the community. The order also requires all nonessential businesses to close.

In a March 30 press conference, Hidalgo said she has been meeting with stakeholders and plans to make an announcement tomorrow on how long the order will officially be extended. She said a spike in positive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, makes extending the order a necessity.

"This is really difficult," Hidalgo said. "It’s a burden that we have to bear for the sake of our health and for the sake of saving lives."

Hidalgo said the process of eventually lifting the order will be done in phases.

"It’s not something we'll be able to just lift and so all of the sudden you go from the order being in effect to a complete back to normal," she said. "The virus is going to pop up again when we relax the order. ... We’ll relax parts of it, and we may have to put it back on and just watch how our trends do."

Hidalgo said she also hopes to take steps tomorrow to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Harris County jail, where around 8,000 inmates are currently housed and another 3,000 employees work. She said she has been working with county court judges on an order to release certain nonviolent offenders from the jail.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office announced a 39-year-old male inmate tested positive for the coronavirus March 29, the first inmate in the jail to do so. As of March 29, there were about 30 inmates in the jail with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, officials said.

The potential release of nonviolent offenders would be done through a process that verifies the individual does not have any history of violent crime or allegations of violent crime, Hidalgo said. Other conditions could be enforced, such as the use of ankle monitors or putting a breathalyzer in the car of anyone who was charged with a DWI. The county would not release anyone accused of burglary of a residence or anyone who has three or more DWIs, Hidalgo said.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


Free COVID-19 testing will be available to festival staff, participants and patrons every weekend of the festival this fall. (Courtesy Steven David Photography)
Texas Renaissance Festival to offer free COVID-19 rapid testing throughout season

Additionally, a free drive-thru testing site will be set up in Todd Mission on Sept. 19.

According to a Texas Supreme Court order, all eviction notices in the state must be accompanied with the CDC eviction order's declaration form. (Courtesy Pexel)
Texas Supreme Court issues order strengthening CDC eviction moratorium

The action aims to strengthen a federal order that renters' advocates say has been falling short in eviction court.

Jenny Normand owns and operates Shaka Power Yoga in Bridgeland. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
Shaka Power Yoga in Cypress gets creative during COVID-19

During a year when many are more stressed and uncertain than ever, practicing yoga can help people find balance, clarity and well-being, according to Jenny Normand, who owns Shaka Power Yoga in Cypress.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.

The Houston Food Bank is looking for more volunteers as it handles increased food distribution during COVID-19. (Courtesy Houston Food Bank)
Houston Food Bank: COVID-19 pandemic amplifies already-high food insecurity rates across region

Before COVID-19, the Houston Food Bank distributed about 400,000 pounds of food daily. That number has since increased to about 1 million pounds a day.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Sept. 17 that data from Texas' 22 hospital regions will dictate when certain businesses can reopen at 75% capacity. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: Retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, gyms can reopen at 75% capacity as early as Sept. 21

Nursing home and long-term care facilities will also be allowed to reopen for visitation as early as Sept. 24.

Jorge Rodriquez, owner of Tex-Mex Grill and Bar, said he wanted his love of Houston to be on display at his restaurant. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Love for Houston, Mexico inspire menu at Tex-Mex Grill and Bar

Born in Mexico, Jorge Rodriguez said he wanted his restaurant to reflect his love of both Houston and his home country.

Vehicles drive alongside the Tomball Tollway in Harris County. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Newly formed corporation could divert Harris County toll road revenue to non-mobility projects

A new limited government corporation formed by Harris County Sept. 15 could result in surplus revenue from the Harris County Toll Road Authority going to other county needs outside of the realm of transportation and mobility.

(Courtesy Curry Masala)
Curry Masala opens in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from Greater Houston.

One in five children and adults have a learning disability, according to statistics from the National Center for Learning Disabilities. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: National Center for Learning Disabilities expert discusses challenges of special education, remote learning during pandemic

The NCLD's director of policy and advocacy spoke about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on special education students and their development in and out of the classroom.

22 online, in-person and at-home tutoring center options offered in the Cy-Fair area

As parents navigate the start of the school year and the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, a number of tutoring centers in the Cy-Fair area are offering a mixture of in-person and online classes.