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Starr County judge says he plans to issue new 'stay-at-home' order

3 months 3 days 2 hours ago Wednesday, July 22 2020 Jul 22, 2020 July 22, 2020 5:56 AM July 22, 2020 in News - Coronavirus Pandemic

Faced with a coronavirus outbreak that overwhelmed Starr County Memorial Hospital, the county judge said Tuesday that he plans to sign a new "stay-at-home" order.

Starr County Judge Eloy Vera, who spoke Tuesday during a news conference, said he plans to sign a new "stay-at-home" order.

"Everyone has been preaching about staying at home. Don't party. Don't socialize," Vera said. "And yet everyone continues to do it."

Parts of the new "stay-at-home" order, though, may not be enforceable — because Texas Gov. Greg Abbott took that authority away from local officials.

Vera and other Rio Grande Valley leaders, including Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez and Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr., have implored Abbott to return their emergency management authority.

Abbott hasn't.

Instead, Abbott emphasized the parts of local emergency orders that remain enforceable.

"There are parts of their orders which they have latitude to enforce, such as the curfew," Abbott said during an interview with Channel 5 News.

Local leaders may also enforce the wearing of face masks in public places and regulations that limit public gatherings to small groups.

Local leaders, however, can't shut down businesses or take more wide-ranging steps to curb the COVID-19 outbreak.

Meanwhile, the county's only hospital is overwhelmed.

Dr. Jose Vazquez, the county health authority, said doctors are being forced to have difficult conversations with families.

When a patient may not benefit from further treatment, Vazquez said doctors may recommend that the patient be discharged to die at home — rather than be transferred to a hospital in another part of the state, where the patient may die alone.

Watch the video for the full story.

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