Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo Launches Coronavirus Rumor Control Resource for Residents

Webpage to Counter Misinformation Regarding the Spread of the Virus, Encourage Residents to Follow Trusted Sources of Information

Harris County, Texas – Tuesday, February 11, 2020, County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced a new resource for Harris County residents concerned about the spread of novel coronavirus (n-COV). Since the outbreak of coronavirus was detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019, several unsubstantiated and misleading rumors regarding the virus have spread across Harris County online and via social media.

A new rumor control webpage, available now on ReadyHarris.org, will serve as a one-stop-shop to help residents navigate myths and facts regarding the virus. The page, developed in conjunction with Harris County Public Health (HCPH) will be updated with information to confirm or deny the veracity of information regarding the virus and direct residents to trusted sources for public health and safety information.

“We know there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the spread of this virus, but when it comes to understanding the threat of this virus we have to rely on facts, not fear,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “In our information age, unsubstantiated rumors can spread quickly, unnecessarily causing harm and anxiety to families and businesses in our area. The best way for residents to understand the current state of coronavirus is to rely on information from trusted sources. We want to partner with residents and empower folks to seek out reliable information so that they can make informed decisions on how best to stay safe.”

“Residents should know that we are working closely with federal, state, and local officials to monitor coronavirus. There are currently no cases of coronavirus in Houston, Harris County, or Texas. Should any cases occur, however, we will notify the public and advise any additional steps residents should take to protect themselves if necessary,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH Executive Director and local health authority for Harris County Public Health. “Our priority is to protect the health and well-being of the entire community. Though coronavirus is in the news, we encourage residents to continue taking common-sense steps to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like the flu by covering their cough, contacting your healthcare provider or staying home if you are sick, and washing your hands.”

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in Harris County, and the threat to Harris County residents remains low. Harris County Public Health is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas Department of State and Health Services, and other health partners in monitoring the developing outbreak and will promptly report any confirmed cases in our jurisdiction.

For more information visit www.ReadyHarris.org/RumorControl

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is the head of Harris County’s governing body and Director of the Harris County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Judge Hidalgo, alongside four County Precinct Commissioners, oversees a budget of approximately $5 billion that funds services and institutions for the third-largest county in the nation, home to nearly 5 million people. For more information about Harris County and the Office of the County Judge, please visit: cjo.harriscountytx.gov.