Harris County, Houston, County Judge discussed on Houston Matters
On the mask order after governor Abbot had initially blocked. Harris County's previous mask ordered. The county went some weeks without any mandate like that in place then last week, when bear county established a business mask order like the one that's now in effect in Harris County the governor said that was fine, and that it was always an option under his reopening plan. Did you know that and if so was reason why? This wasn't instituted any any sooner? I. Mean I I was happy to to find out about that from the governor, and from Bear County judge. So as soon as we learned that dot was a tool, we rushed to implement it, and and my approach has been. You know every tool in the toolbox. That's why we have our army of contact tracers folks going into nursing homes all the testing we can do. you know ability for first responders and others who have the virus and don't want to get their their family member sick to be able to quarantine somewhere else, and then also you know as soon as this became an option. We headed out within two days. So what was your impression up to that point that it was not an option. Right I mean I think that generally that was that was. Everybody sends. I don't think any of us were holding back. Because we you know we. We didn't want to use the tool that was at our disposal, and so for me. It's it's available, so let's go implemented and move on and get it done now. The clock is ticking, and we're running out of time, and someone asked me yesterday you know. Is it enough and? It may not be I. think it more likely than not if it's not enough rate of places when they've in us to and we've had just letting the curve. It wasn't simply you know wearing face covering, so it's something that we have got to do. And I'm so glad to have received positive response from the business community. That's very telling, and it's very important, but I really want to urge folks as we see those hospitalization numbers. Numbers climb that we've got to minimize contact and we should not be participating in inactivity that bring us in in a group setting with people that are not our family. Even you know sitting near folks that are not your family. It's just a very bad idea right now. If you're walking by folks shopping for something quickly, you know getting get out. That's fine, but other than that musk no mask. We need to be minimized contacts. We. Have folks waiting to chat with you? So why don't we dive into questions? We'll start with Carol in southeast Houston Carol. What's your question? We want to know with all the precautions that math and everything else. social as much as they can distance, when will we be able to go into a library and use their facilities? At what point do you feel, judge? That we can. As a public go to our public libraries here in Houston. Thank you for that question. Yeah, right now we're doing you know curbside pickup at the library and you know there is there. Is Wifi available from the library that folks who really need it? If they need to go, use it. It's available in the parking lot It does pain me that folks can't go inside and use the library and we're looking into that every day with the Public Health Department and the committee. We have at the county to look at re entry and. And continuity of operations, frankly right now as things are getting more and more difficult. I don't envision it being you know. Everything is headed in the wrong direction, and so let's open more things up. At least some part of the county I don't see it happening until we're on the other side of this spike and look someone who loves books in grew up going to libraries and I stand what a challenge this is! I also don't want to be in a position where. In the county that are contributing to to the spread of the virus, and are you know public health advisors just don't feel comfortable with that just yet, but certainly as soon as we can, we will make that available. All right thanks very much for that call. Let's go next to Liz in Cyprus Liz. What's your question? My question is at the tax office for commercial titles. I heard that you could do it on the computer. And someone said it was only for new club card. Do you know that? and. He had so I know that there are some very limited things that you can do from a computer, because for whatever reason you know I it. You have to see you. It's very narrow and I'm afraid. I don't know whether this is one of them so I will tell you. They're taking all the precautions for folks that do have to visit her. There are some folks for example that just do not have a computer. You know they they just. They absolutely cannot do it any other way. What we'll do is Craig is if you have this person's phone number. I can make sure that we get the answer. Answer to that specific question, but what I know is the vast majority of services they can be done the phone or online and do know there's a very very limited where you do have to come in and I'm just I. Don't want to give you the wrong information as to whether this is one of them I don't earn so but I. don't WanNa Miss Speak Okay Liz. WE'RE GONNA put you on hold and our producer Brenda Valdivia. We'll take down your your contact info and we can pass that along to to the county judge. Let's go next to Lewis in west Houston Louis. What's your question? Yes Oh. I'm wondering why the United States. We cannot provide healthcare at the local level as we provide schools, elise water sewer so on and so forth. Why don't we just provide healthcare? You know in in district similar to school district. You have any any Fox on that. Judge Vogel. He, you know this crisis has really exposed the challenges in our. System and we talk to our CEO the Harris Health System the public health system and You know they're really bearing the brunt of cases there icy are very much. You know near full, and and just on a normal day. That's almost where they are. So it's it's. It's it's difficult. We see the mortality rates being disparate Just the impact that this has on different communities. There's many reasons for that. You know one big reason why the healthcare system is underfunded is the the lack of Medicaid expansion in Texas you know those are millions and millions of dollars each year that we don't get in terms of just the structure of how healthcare is provided You know I think if we had additional dollars. Certainly, we'd be able to have more services more clinics. This kind of thing one thing to keep in mind those by the time people make it to the hospital. It's almost too late and so that's why we we've been focused in Harris. County already on sort of health more broadly, not just healthcare investing in healthy food initiative like farmers, markets, and in investing in understanding the. The disparity mental health environmental issues made a historic investment on on environmental monitoring and going after bad actors in that sense, because ultimately that's what contributes to these health outcomes, so we've definitely have a long way to go. Unfortunately whether you look upstream issues or whether you look at the actual healthcare issues it does come down to an underinvestment and part of it is made it. Medicaid and part of it is just a lack of emphasis. From the highest levels of government on public health and on healthcare, This is Houston matters. I'm Craig Cohen. We're talking with Harris. County Judge.