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Mayors, county judges ask Texas governor to return their emergency management authority

2 months 6 days 22 hours ago Sunday, July 19 2020 Jul 19, 2020 July 19, 2020 3:50 PM July 19, 2020 in News - Coronavirus Pandemic

Local county and city leaders in the Rio Grande Valley say they are limited with what they can do to avoid the quick spread of the coronavirus.

They say that puts the public's health at risk.

The risk of spread in the community is real. The positive case numbers of COVID-19 don't compare with the start of the pandemic in the valley.

Local leaders feel that even if they put emergency ordinances in place like stay-at-home orders, local authorities won't be able to enforce them.

In the end, it's the governor that would allow counties and cities to put certain restrictions in place.

"At one point when we had our orders in place, it was under control," said Eloy Vera, the Starr County judge.

Vera said, early on in the pandemic, the number of positive coronavirus cases stayed low in his county.

"Our numbers were real low, in fact we went like 18 [or] 19 days without a single case," Vera said.

For several week though, hospitals across the valley have been at capacity.

Local authorities have even proposed building field hospitals.

For those reasons, county judges and mayors across the valley like that of Edinburg, McAllen, Mission and Pharr have sent letters to governor Greg Abbott asking that local authorities have control over enforceable emergency ordinances.

But will they be successful?

"The answer yes, because on the one side if we just stand-by and not take action, cases will continue to go up," said Armando O'caña, Mission's mayor.

Soon, classes will begin again and the mayor of Mission wants to slowdown the spread of the virus between children and the community. For that reason he held an emergency on Tuesday afternoon with administrators from the La Joya, Mission and Sharyland school districts.

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