State Rep. Armando Walle accepts his new duties.
At her Monday morning press conference, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo named State Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston) the Harris County COVID-19 Recovery Czar, in an unpaid position designed to help the county move forward from the coronavirus.
"This is not an honorary position. It is not a symbolic one. This is a position that will get things done," Hidalgo said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is expected to name his own Economic Recovery Leader at his 3 p.m. press conference today. The two appointees are expected to work together as the area seeks to recovered financially as well as health-wise.
"The goal of this is to make sure that our relief and our recovery is inclusive. That it's fast, And that it is coordinated," Hidalgo said. "Just as with any natural disaster we've dealt with it will take years to fully recover from this.
"We need to make sure folks don't fall through the cracks. So we'll be focusing about coming back thrugh all sectors of our economy including small businesses, minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, those under-served areas. An inclusive recovery means recovery for businesses themselves, but also for the workers."
Walle, whose wife is a health care professional working in a hospital setting, said he expects "to work with a wide variety of regional stakeholders in this effort including from the private sector, philanthropy, faith-based organizations, non-profits and local governments from the city of Houston to all our smaller municipalities and including our unincorporated parts of the region which is over 2 million people in Harris County.
"We need to save lives and save livelihoods."
At the same time Hidalgo reported the county is now up to 41 COVID-19 deaths with 2,002 confirmed positive cases. She stressed that while there may be some flattening of the curve, there is no downward trend as yet.
"People I see more and more wearing masks and we're headed in that direction," Hidalgo said. "Look it's just sheer math. The more people come into contact with one another the higher risk that those case counts are going to go up. We've not reached the peak yet. It may still climb back up. It may come back down. I would urge people not to relax their efforts."