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Harris County doubles coronavirus testing with peak projected late April

New projections from UTHealth show Harris County should peak around April 28 with about 31,000 cases.

HOUSTON — Harris County ramped up testing Wednesday – more than doubling what they’ve been doing each day, but County Judge Lina Hidalgo says that’s still not enough.

It’s been more than three weeks days since Hidalgo enacted a stay home order and she said we’re still at least a few weeks from seeing it go away.

Harris County doubled up on tests Wednesday, and at the same time, they maxed out.

“So the folks who most need the tests are getting the tests," Hidalgo said.

Twelve hundred people were tested Wednesday, but Hidalgo said clearly, more is needed.

“They’re getting full of people with symptoms so this virus is not yet letting off," Hidalgo said.

New projections from UTHealth show Harris County should peak around April 28 with about 31,000 cases.

“If people start being out and about today, that’s only going to get longer," Hidalgo said.

How they decide to open the county is under discussion.

“We’re watching to see what the federal government puts out, the state government. But all of that discussion, in many ways, is moot until we are in the right point to lift that order and that’s once we’re no longer peaking," Hidalgo said.

Another concern for the county is the Harris County Jail as cases continue to rise among both inmates and staff members.

“Once these people get sick, and we already have a few who are hospitalized, they’re taking up the same hospital bed that you or I would need," Hidalgo said.

As a remedy, Hidalgo tried releasing those accused of non-violent crimes. But her authority to do so was called into question, and a federal judge rejected a petition for emergency release Wednesday.

But, she said that’s still a top priority.

“We haven’t decided yet to pursue legal action, because we didn’t want to drag this out even longer, but every day that goes by, we continue to re-evaluate our options," Hidalgo said.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated it had been 30 days since Houston's stay-at-home order went into effect. That order went into effect the morning of March 25, about three weeks ago.

RELATED: Federal judge rejects petition to release non-violent offenders from Harris County Jail

RELATED: 38 Harris County Sheriff's Office employees test positive for COVID-19; 2 hospitalized

RELATED: More jail workers test positive for coronavirus while thousands of prisoners must stay put

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