Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez issued a shelter-at-home order for the county on Wednesday.
Judge Cortez said during the panel that this order is essential to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“This is the time to put aside our self-interests,” said Judge Cortez.
According to Cortez, the order will be effective Thursday, March 26 at 11:59 p.m.
“I make this extraordinary move convinced that it is the right path for the safety of the residents of Hidalgo County,” Judge Cortez said in a release.”I know this will cause hardship but I am convinced this will save lives.”
The order will allow individuals to leave their homes for essential business. The public is asked, encouraged to remain isolated at home as much as possible.
“The best way to not get infected is to stay away from people,” recommends Cortez.
Cortez mentioned that the county has tested 180 individuals from which eight have returned positive, 110 negative and 62 are pending. It was also mentioned that four cases are in McAllen, two in Mission, one in Alamo and one in Edinburg.
Officials said none of the cases required hospitalization. All patients are currently under home isolation. The investigation to make sure everyone that has had contact with those that have tested positive remains ongoing.
Judge Cortez said each city would be responsible for enforcing the order in their jurisdiction. There are 22 cities in Hidalgo County.
The order will remain in effect until April 10. Judge Cortez mentioned he has the authority to lift the order or extend it.
During the panel, it was also mentioned that the order will include price gouging.
Hidalgo County Sherriff Eddie Guerra said because it is included they will be more vigilant about the issue.
“We have the ability to write the citation,” said Guerra. He added that price gouging can result in a fine of up to $1,000 or 180 days in county jail.
If you have any questions, you are encouraged to contact the Hidalgo County Hotline at (956) 292-7765.
To read the order issued by Cortez, click here.