As the City of Houston recorded its fourth COVIID-19 death, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced they were each extending their stay at home orders through April 30, saying experts expect the cases may peak around May 2 in this area.
The city will finally be opening its second testing site on Tuesday after receiving enough supplies form the federal government to make that feasible. Again, trips to either Butler or Delmar stadiums are by appointment only after a screening process.
Earlier in the day Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a statewide ban on non-essential business and activities as the state death toll continued to increase. He also extended the closure of all schools in the state through May 4.
The fourth person to die in the city was a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions who died last Friday. The three previous COVID-19 deaths in Houston were elderly women with underlying health conditions.
Hidalgo also said she is ordering the review and release of an estimated 1,000 inmates now in the Harris County jail in an attempt to keep the virus from running rampant there in the inescapable cramped conditions where social distancing is not possible. She pointed out that if many of the jail inmates become ill they could take up many of the hospital beds available out in the community.
Inmates accused of violent crimes or who have violence convictions in their backgrounds as well as those accused of burglary of a home and those facing their third DWI charge will not be considered for release by a review panel.
The judge also stressed that those released while the stay at home order is in effect "are not getting a free pass" and will still face court proceedings.
Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough also extended his stay at home order through April 30.