Update 8:38 a.m. April 2

Fort Bend County Judge KP George amended the “Stay Home to Save Lives” to be effective through April 30, according to an April 1 press release.

The amended order also abides by Gov. Greg Abbott's March 31 executive order, which defines essential services and limits local orders, per the release. George said he also amended the order based on input from the community and medical experts.

Update 5:50 p.m. March 24

Fort Bend County Judge KP George has officially issued a "Stay Home to Save Lives" order, effective at midnight the morning of March 25 through April 3, in response to growing concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

Only certain businesses—such as essential retail stores; essential health care operations; essential child care services; essential government functions; and essential critical infrastructure, like cybersecurity functions—can remain open.

These essential businesses include grocery stores, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, mental health care offices, restaurants offering delivery, takeout and drive-thru options and liquor stores, according to the order.

“Over the last few weeks, the threat of the coronavirus has rapidly accelerated,” George said during a March 24 press conference.

In the 20 days since the first case of the coronavirus was reported March 4 in Fort Bend County, the case count has grown to 46, as of March 24.

“There is no indication that this exponential trend will not continue,” said Jacquelyn Minter, Fort Bend County director of health and human services. “It is clear from experiences around the world and in our own country, we have to be consistently vigilant and flexible in our response to COVID-19 in order to protect our most vulnerable residents and our health care system.”

Minter said these orders are being put in place to protect the local health care system and, “speed the return of health to our communities and our economy.”

After Minter spoke, county District Attorney Brian Middleton encouraged residents to respect the health of others by staying home unless it is absolutely necessary to venture out.

“If you comply with this order, we can control the spread, and we can move on with our lives so much faster," Middleton said. "So, don't require law enforcement to get involved. Comply with the law.”

Watch the entire press conference here.