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Texas county orders residents exposed to COVID-19 to self-quarantine or face criminal prosecution

The death toll has reached 284 in Hidalgo County, Texas. Meanwhile, health officials report at least 235 people are currently being treated in ICU for the virus.

HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas — Editor's Note: The above video discusses Texas coronavirus statistics as of July 17, 2020.

A Texas county has issued an executive order requiring anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed to the virus to self-quarantine or face criminal prosecution.

Hidalgo County health authorities announced the order Sunday afternoon. It immediately went into effect. Hours later, the county reported 17 new coronavirus deaths and 1,320 new positive cases for that day.

According to the mandate, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has been notified about possible exposure by state or county health officials must self-quarantine for 14 days.

The order also applies to all residents inside the home, and at-home visitors will not be allowed during the isolation period unless approved by health officials. These potentially infected persons must also make a list of anyone they have encountered.

If you live with an effected person, you must stay in self-isolation until that person is cleared.

Residents will be allowed to leave quarantine after two weeks if at least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared and they haven’t shown any symptoms within three days, the order said.

If requested, the person must also make themselves available to health officials for testing.

The order threatens violators with criminal charges or civil court if they don't comply.

Hidalgo County health authorities believe the order is necessary to stop the rampant spread of coronavirus in the area.

More than 284 people have died from coronavirus and 12,263 people have tested positive in Hidalgo County since the pandemic began, according to the local health authority.

More than 930 people are currently hospitalized, and at least 235 of those patients are in intensive care, according to county data.

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