BRYAN, Texas — Dallas county is the first to issue a shelter-in-place order in Texas. It begins tonight, and other cities in the state are following suit.
The number of states around the nation that are issuing a shelter in place or stay at home order is only continuing to grow.
“Where we see this happening is where we start to see the number of cases starting to rise, and there are starting to be concerns about hospitals being overrun," said Texas A&M University Department of Health Policy and Management Assistant Professor, Timothy Callaghan. As different parts of the country are seeing their own waves of coronavirus cases, you would expect to see other states and local governments choose to make this step."
A shelter-in-place order is telling people to not leave their homes unless it is absolutely necessary such as going to the grocery stores or walking your pets.
“If you’re not a healthcare worker, if you’re not working in a grocery store, if you’re not working in a prison, you’re expected to stay home and not go out," said Callaghan. "The logic behind this is to make sure we are flattening the curve which is to say making sure our health care systems aren’t getting overwhelmed with the number of coronavirus cases that are coming in."
As for the state of Texas, local governments are currently monitoring and handling the coronavirus cases separately.
“Governor Abbott has made it clear that he’s monitoring the number of cases and where those cases are and if it becomes something where this is widespread throughout the United States, I would imagine that Texas would follow suit of the other states, but for now, the cities where this is happening are making those moves themselves," said Callaghan.
If the outbreak in Texas reaches the level of New York or California, more severe actions may be called into effect.
“Governors can call in the national guard when it’s deemed necessary, now different governors have chosen to call in the national guard at different times, for different purposes, but that is something states can choose to do if it is seen as beneficial to their efforts for social distancing or efforts for shelter in place orders," said Callaghan.
National Guard members have been deployed to three states, and similar to the amount of states with shelter-in-place orders, this number may only continue to grow.