U.S. Reps. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, and Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, are calling for Gov. Greg Abbott to issue stay-at-home orders in regions of the state most affected the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rio Grande Valley has been hit particularly hard with a surge in cases in the entire region, with one in 10 deaths of COVID-19 recorded in Hidalgo County. Additionally, 10 of the 12 hospitals in Hidalgo, Cameron and Starr County are at capacity.
In a statement, the representatives said “The health of our economy is tied to the health of our population. As Texans, we want the economy to thrive, but that is not possible if the lives and health of our fellow Texans are at stake. Clearly, the surge in new COVID-19 cases, resulting in a greater number of deaths, are directly related to Texas’s premature reopening. Our call for action now is all we can do to prevent further deaths. The long-term sustainment of our economy depends on ensuring that Texans are healthy.
Governor Abbott needs to issue a mandatory stay-at-home order. If the Governor believes that the numbers for our state are going to be worse next week, we must make every effort to protect our fellow Texans now.”
Abbott on Friday extended his Statewide COVID-19 Disaster Declaration that was originally issued on March 13. Although Abbott encourages Texans to stay home if possible, he does not mandate it.
As of Thursday, Cameron County had 3,246 positive COVID-19 cases with 2,341 recoveries. The county also reported 71 coronavirus related deaths. In Hidalgo County, 7,334 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and there have been 123 deaths.
As of Thursday, Texas overall reported 230,346 cases of COVID-19 and 2,918 deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.