As you have been hearing, if you have been paying attention, we have had some very high numbers of new infections and fatalities here in Hidalgo County.

These are certainly very unacceptable. 

We can’t allow this to continue. We have to take every precaution necessary to protect the health and well-being of our citizens.

The report that we are getting is that a lot of the reasons for these infections is really the activities of our people here in Hidalgo County and also the lack of and unwillingness to take the necessary precautions. There are certain protocols that are out there already – we all know about them – that work. 

When we had those restrictions in place we enjoyed a very, very, low rate of infections and a very, very low rate of people in hospital, or with serious illnesses in the ICUs. Today that is not the case. 

One of the goals that we originally had was not to overwhelm our healthcare providers, our hospital beds, that sort of thing. Well, today, we are very close approaching to being at capacity. 

For that reason we are in the process of putting a new order in place. That order in place is going to require certain things. I am going to impose a curfew for people that are 17 and under, basically staying in their household between the periods of 10 o’clock (at night) and 6 o’clock in the morning. And for people who are over 18, from 11 o’clock at night to 5 o’clock in the morning. 

This is very important to us because one of the reasons for this increase in infections is that we are just having a lot of people continue to gather. They get together at night. They gather at parties, they gather at other functions. And this has been the primary cause of all this infection spreading. And a lot of it has been attributable to young people. 

So, with this curfew… and we are also going to prohibit any social gatherings outside the household of no more than ten people. And there will be other restrictions and other encouragements and comments that we are going to have in this order that is yet to be finalized, but will soon be coming.

What I ask you, I beg you… the power to stop this virus is within us. We have to continue to follow all the protocols and all the precautions if we are going to put an end to this. We cannot afford to go into hurricane season and flu season on top of this virus. 

This is action that we must take and I hope we will be receiving all the cooperation of all our citizens. And for that, I thank you. I thank you for that. 

Editor’s Note: The above guest commentary was given by Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez during a Facebook Livestream on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. It appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the Judge’s consent.

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