McALLEN, TEXAS (Border Report) — The City of Laredo and Webb County will go into lockdown Saturday to stop the spread of COVID-19, with the area issuing one of the strictest shelter-in-place mandates in South Texas.
Webb County Judge Tano Tijerina on Friday signed a public health emergency declaration ordering all Laredoans and those living in Webb County are to shelter in place until April 4. These “extraordinary measures” are needed to stop the transmission of coronavirus, Timerina’s orders read.
All non-essential businesses must close and unnecessary travel stop. No public gatherings of any size are allowed. And even travel by bicycle “or foot travel” is prohibited, unless the person is conducting “essential activities.” Although running and walking outdoors is allowed provided spacing and social-distancing is adhered to, the orders say.
These are some of the strictest shelter-in-place measures put in place, so far, in South Texas. And the orders come after lockdowns already are in effect for the counties of: Hidalgo, Starr and Cameron. Friday evening Hidalgo County officials reported a total of 18 cases of COVID-19, a significant jump from just two cases at the beginning of the week. Cameron County reported 13 total cases.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat who lives in Laredo, told Border Report on Friday afternoon he supports the strident regulations.
“I’m one of those that I’d rather take the proper steps now than have to be sorry. So I will support our medical experts,” Cuellar said as he was boarding a plane to Laredo from Washington, D.C., where he voted for a $2 trillion stimulus package to help the American economy recover from COVID-19.
“These are the things we need to be doing,” Cuellar said.
There are eight cases of COVID-19 in Laredo as of Friday including three teachers and afterschool workers at two schools, city officials said. Their ages range from 24 to 61 and “all of them are well” and at-home in self-isolation, Dr. Hector Gonzalez, Laredo Health Department Director said in a video news conference.
“The good news is we’re not spreading it to the vulnerable population because of the actions we’re taking,” Gonzalez said. “We’re slowing the progression and the transmission of this virus.”
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com.
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