On a day that President Trump, apparently discounting anything his medical advisers are trying to tell him, announced he hoped all churches in the United States would be filled for Easter, some Texas officials continued to tighten the governmental reins surrounding the virus crisis.
A lot of people were still pondering the message delivered by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick when he told FOX News on Monday that he thought a lot of seniors would be willing to chance dying of the coronavirus to "save the economy." The result would be to get the country back on track for the benefit of the seniors' children and grandchildren, he told Fox's Tucker Carlson. . "If that's the exchange, I'm all in," he said. "We can't lose all whole country. We're having an economic collapse."
But in Houston, officials determined that now was not the time to play survival games with the virus that certainly is contagious and can be lethal.
In addition to the Stay At Home orders issued by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Fort Bend County Judge KP George announced late in the day that he was invoking a similar order. Next to Harris County, Fort Bend County has the most reported positive corona virus cases with 46 as of today. To date the county has been unable to set up any testing centers, which as George said, means there could be a whole lot of other cases they just don't know about. .
"I am issuing a stay at home to stay alive order," George said, The order takes effect tonight and runs through April 3. "Our health care system will be overwhelmed if we do not take drastic action." Just as in Harris County, parks are open but playgrounds are closed. The order will be available on the Fort Bend County hotline.
However, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough remained resolute that he would not be issuing any stay at home or shelter in place order at this time.
“What Montgomery County has done, is put in place an order that closes public gatherings, limits places open to 10 or less persons at a time, closes down businesses of amusement, gyms, and other places recommended by the CDC with exceptions for grocery stores, pharmacies, and other critical businesses that would be exempt. ” said Keough.
“Our current orders have been in effect for five days now, and the public has been complying for the most part.," Keough was quoted as saying in a press release. " We have performed compliance checks on businesses who should be closed or restricted and so far everyone has been doing their part. I cannot stress enough the importance for everyone to do their part by taking personal responsibility for their actions and follow the CDC guidelines for hand hygiene and social distancing.”
“Montgomery County is full of good virtuous people who will do their part to help a fellow neighbor, I am encouraged from what I have seen, and will continue to monitor updates from the CDC and our local health authority before amending or changing orders,” Keough said.
Gov. Greg Abbott said today that 65 counties in Texas have been affected by the coronavirus with 11 deaths and 715 positive tests.
He also issued a new executive order that requires hospitals to submit reports each day on their COVID test results and bed capacity.
Despite requests from the state house Democrats, Abbott said he is not prepared to issue a statewide shelter in place order now. He said he will continue to seek the advice of experts in evaluating the situation.
"On my travel to this location today, I was surprised at how many vehicles I saw on the road. It's clear to me, we may not be achieving the level of compliance that is needed," he said of his travel to the Austin DPS warehouse.
Asked about the President's desire to reopen the economy soon, and Patricl's remarks on Fox News, Abbott replied:
"I will base my decision as governor of the state of Texas on what physicians say," he said, adding that health and safety should be a top priority. "If the goal is to get the economy going, the best thing we can do to get the economy going is to get COVID-19 behind us."
Contributing to this report was Nicole Cobler of the Austin American-Statesman, the pool reporter at the governor's press conference Tuesday.
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