HARRIS COUNTY – Judge Lina Hidalgo announced she was increasing the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level Indicator from Level 3: Yellow, the system’s second-lowest threat level, to Level 2: Orange, the system’s second-highest threat level due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Threat level 2 indicates a significant and “uncontrolled level” of COVID-19 in Harris County, meaning that there is ongoing transmission of the virus, according to the county’s COVID-19 data hub.
At this level, county officials, urge unvaccinated residents to minimize contact with others, avoid any medium or large gatherings, and visit only permissible businesses that follow public health guidance.
Hidalgo blamed the Delta variant and flattening vaccination rates for the increase in infections.
Over the past few weeks the region has been hit hard by the arrival of the Delta variant, Hidalgo said during the briefing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that the Delta variant accounts for an estimated 83 percent of new coronavirus cases in the United States. As for the region Texas is a part of, as of July 17, the variant comprises 84 percent of new coronavirus cases, Hidalgo noted.
Hidalgo also noted that the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate is doubling every 2.3 weeks, faster than at any point during the third wave of the disease in December.
“It’s not too late,” Hidalgo said. “But if we don’t act now, it will be too late for many people.”
Hidalgo also said “everybody” should resume wearing masks to protect those that aren’t vaccinated. Currently, around 2.1 million Harris County residents, 44.1 percent of Harris County’s total population, are fully vaccinated, according to the county’s COVID-19 data hub.