Hidalgo County judge says ‘tsunami is coming’ regarding COVID-19 cases

Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez warned “a tsunami” of COVID-19 cases is coming and asked local law enforcement to step up policing activities to ensure the stay-at-home order is being followed.

Cortez is concerned that residents of Hidalgo County are not taking the emergency order  seriously, a news release from the county stated.

“We know there is a tsunami coming,” Cortez said in his most forceful language yet. “It hasn’t hit us yet. If there is anything we can do to mitigate this, it is stronger enforcement on the orders.”

Cortez said he is receiving calls from residents and others who want more restrictions in place.

“I would recommend even more restrictions when we’ve reached the level of enforcement with current restrictions that we are comfortable with,” Cortez said. “I think we would all agree that traffic may have slowed, but not to the levels we had hoped.”

On Tuesday, McAllen officials said they had measured a nearly 70% drop in traffic this past weekend.

But it’s not enough.

We are in “the early rounds of a 15-round boxing match,” the news release indicated.

“What we need to do today is educate our people to ask themselves what they consider essential,” Cortez said. “We must stop being outside for any reason. Don’t risk it.”

Cortez said the potential to overwhelm the local healthcare system remains a threat.

“We have to avoid reaching that tipping point,” he said.

He urged residents to stay home; practice good hygiene; and avoid other people.

He also noted Hidalgo County’s disproportionate rate of diabetes makes the population more vulnerable.