Texas county residents exposed to coronavirus could face charges if they don’t quarantine

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Residents of one Texas county who test positive for the new coronavirus or have been exposed to it could face criminal prosecution if they don’t quarantine for 14 days.

Officials announced the order for Hidalgo County on Sunday, explaining that people possibly infected with COVID-19 must also make a list of anyone they came in close contact with in order to trace the virus.

People living with infected persons must isolate until that person is cleared, the order states.

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Residents will only be allowed to leave quarantine after 14 days if at least 10 days have passed since their experienced symptoms first surfaced and they’ve shown no symptoms in three days. They also must be available for additional testing upon health officials’ request.

The move comes after the county reported more than 384 deaths from the virus and 12,263 positive cases since the start of the outbreak. KHOU11 in a report pointed out that roughly 930 people are currently hospitalized in the county, with at least 235 needing intensive care.

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Texas has become a new hotspot for the virus in recent weeks. The state just added 7,300 new positive cases to its more than 339,000 total. About 4,044 residents have died from the virus.

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