COVID-19 cases in Houston could peak around May 2, mayor says

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Admitting that the region has still not gotten to the point of "flattening the curve," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has extended a "Stay Home, Work Safe" order, which was originally set to expire this coming Friday, until the end of April.

In a joint news conference Tuesday with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Hidalgo urged residents to continue staying home and practicing social distancing as COVID-19 cases expand.

The order, which includes allowing operation of only essential businesses, is in effect until April 30. Health officials added cases in the Houston area should peak around May 2.

SEE MORE: Strict Houston COVID-19 regulations could see the end of the pandemic by mid-May, UTHealth study suggests

As of Tuesday, Harris County confirmed 254 coronavirus cases, with two deaths and 39 recoveries.

However, Mayor Turner also announced that the city now has at least four deaths. The city has 377 confirmed cases.

SEE MORE: What we know about the coronavirus cases in Houston-area

Just before the announcement, the state of Texas extended its own social distancing order to last until the end of April as well. The state has so far surpassed 3,200 cases. At 1,158 total cases, the greater Houston area accounts for more than a third of statewide cases.

Hidalgo also addressed the county's jail system during the coronavirus outbreak, which she described as a "ticking time bomb." She said the jails are working on actively instituting social distancing guidelines.

Nevertheless, at least one inmate has a confirmed case, while two dozen others have symptoms.

As a result, about 1,000 non-violent inmates are being released, but not necessarily "absolved" of their charges. Hidalgo also added inmates with violent criminal pasts are not being released.

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