Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts tagged as “Lina Hidalgo”

County raises COVID threat level

INCREASE IN COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS TRIGGERS INCREASE IN HARRIS COUNTY COVID-19 THREAT LEVEL

Harris County, Texas – On January 10, 2022, Judge Lina Hidalgo announced that she is raising the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level Indicator from Level 2: Orange to Level 1: Red. A surge of the highly contagious Omicron variant has contributed to an increase in COVID transmission across Harris County.

Level 1 signifies a severe and uncontrolled level of COVID-19 transmission in Harris County. Residents experiencing symptoms should get tested and avoid contact with others, assuming they have COVID until they confirm otherwise. Any gatherings should be held outdoors and ideally with masking. Unvaccinated residents should avoid all gatherings and get vaccinated immediately.

“We’re finding ourselves again at a point in this pandemic where hospital staff are being stretched way too thin,” said Judge Hidalgo. “We owe it to our nurses, doctors, and teachers to take steps to protect ourselves and give them a break. If you have been on the fence about getting vaccinated, now is the time to roll up your sleeve. We are in the midst of a COVID-19 tsunami and our best defense are vaccines and booster shots. We’ve been here before, but this time we have more tools available and a better understanding of this virus.”

The COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine booster continues to be available at no charge for all Harris County residents. To find out more information, locations and hours, click ReadyHarris.org.

Hidalgo said she made the decision because hospitalizations and ICU cases have spiked at area hospitals, along with the positivity rate.

Essential to get our Children vaccinated

County Connection
by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

So many Harris County residents who have gotten vaccinated still have feelings of anxiety about COVID, and it’s understandable. Children under the age of 12 have been ineligible to receive the vaccine and remained unprotected from this pandemic that has taken so many lives. This week finally marks the end of the wait — the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have approved the vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, an essential piece of our response to COVID-19 that is long overdue.

And, though many parents are eager to get their children vaccinated, others may still be hesitant. Parents should know that the vaccine is safe — the side effects adults have experienced, like a short-lived fever and cold-like symptoms, are less likely to affect kids. It’s also effective — it has a 90% effectiveness rate in preventing children ages 5 through 11 from contracting COVID19. Although younger children are less likely to be hospitalized or lose their lives from the virus, they can still suffer from various long-term effects of COVID-19. If you want to protect your kids from getting sick from COVID-19, there is no reason to delay signing up for this vaccine.

Harris County Small Business Relief Fund now open for applications

COVID relief grants from $5,000 to $25,000 available until October 4

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Pct. 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis held a new conference last Monday afternoon, September 20 to announce the start of the Harris County Small Business Relief Fund Application period. The application window will remain open until Monday, October 4 at 5:30 p.m.

On August 10, Harris County approved the $30 million relief fund to support small and micro businesses recovering from the effects of the pandemic. The Small Business Relief Fund was created with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and is being administered by LiftFund, a nonprofit organization that supports small business owners with funding and business education.

Harris County urges business owners to apply by visiting the website at www.harriscountybusinessrelief.org to review the applicant checklist to verify eligibility for this program and also to be prepared with the proper documentation needed to apply before the application portal opens.

County returns COVID threat level to RED

Delta Variant fills Hospitals

HARRIS COUNTY – Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo raised the COVID-19 threat level to “red” on Thursday afternoon, as the COVID-19 delta variant has increased hospitalizations and strained the region’s hospital resources over the past month.

It’s the first time the county has hit its highest threat level since June 2020.

The new advisory indicates that severe and uncontrolled outbreaks are present in the community and worsening, and that the public health capacity in the region is strained or exceeded, Hidalgo said.

“It’s straining our staff, it’s straining our hospitals, and it’s imposing heartbreak and anxiety in so many families in Harris County,” Hidalgo said.

The county judge called the latest surge a “perfect storm” of strained staff, a more transmissible virus, and the limited ability for local leaders to implement public health policies after Gov. Greg Abbott issued orders preventing such measures.

Hidalgo urged everyone eligible for a vaccine to get one, or else avoid “all but the most essential interactions.” She also recommended both the vaccinated and unvaccinated wear masks, and told the public to use ERs for life-threatening emergencies only.

County returns COVID-19 threat level to Orange; urges mask wearing

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.

Get Vaccinated; let’s move the Threat Level to Green

COUNTY CONNECTION
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo

Since the COVID-19 virus was first detected in Harris County, we have been working non-stop to beat it. We stayed home, wore our masks, maintained social distance, and sacrificed many, many moments with friends and family. When safe, effective vaccines became available, Harris County Public Health rushed to acquire and distribute them equitably, establishing over 100 vaccination sites, including a mega distribution site at NRG stadium that has become a model for the nation. Many of our residents are getting vaccinated, moving us closer to a place where COVID-19 is no longer a major threat to vulnerable populations and our hospital capacity. Thanks to all of this hard work, we have made substantial progress in turning a corner against this virus.

Last week, based on this progress and the meeting of the relevant thresholds, I moved the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level from Level 2: Orange to Level 3: Yellow, the system’s second-lowest threat level. We should all be proud of reaching this significant milestone. Under the Yellow threat level, unvaccinated individuals should continue to mask and social distance. Fully vaccinated individuals, however, may resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where otherwise required.

We are making considerable strides, but our success is fragile.

GLO responds to criticism, sends $750 mil to Harris County

HARRIS COUNTY – After last week’s announcement from the state GLO, local leaders in Harris County and the City of Houston were vocal in their unhappiness about the fact that almost no flood mitigation funds had been allocated for these two areas, in spite of the fact that Hurricane Harvey had devastated more homes and businesses than anywhere else in the state. Judge Hidalgo petitioned HUD, the federal department providing the flood funds to the state, to reconsider the criteria and allocate money to the local needs.

As a result, George P. Bush, director of the GLO, changed his original statement and promised the county that they would receive a block grant of $750 million without waiting for the second round of allocations. However, as told to this newspaper by a representative of the GLO, this money will come from the $2.144 billion sent to Texas for flood mitigation from Hurricane Harvey, rather than additional funding.

GLO, Feds deny flood funds to Harris County

Harris County and Houston officials learned Friday that the state GLO (General Land Office) and the federal HUD (Housing and Urban Development) had determined that these two governments would not receive any Flood Mitigation funding of the approximately $1 billion that was available, in the first round of allocations by the state.

The allocations are based on a formula to determine which communities are the neediest, according to GLO. Within Harris County, approximately $90 million was allocated to Baytown, Pasadena, Galena Park, and Jacinto City for flood mitigation projects that they had applied for.

Harris County had submitted an application asking for $900 million, according to Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia. Commissioner Garcia, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner issued statements expressing their displeasure and disbelief in news of the allocations not including local jurisdictions.

Commissioner Garcia said that he was upset, and “incredibly frustrated.” Judge Hidalgo said, “It is unconscionable that the very community hit with the most flooded structures by far during Hurricane Harvey received nothing as part of this Harvey Mitigation allocation.”

Mayor Turner said, “For the State GLO not to give one dime in the initial distribution to the City and a very small portion to Harris County shows a callous disregard to the people of Houston and Harris County.”

Judge Hidalgo said that she plans to ask HUD for a review of the criteria used, and assurance that the County will receive future fund allocations. She said the formulas that are used disadvantage large urban areas that are hardest hit.

Harris County Judge Moves COVID-19 Threat Level to Level 2: Orange

Key COVID-19 Trends Continue Downward Trajectory; Hidalgo Commends Community for Driving Indicators Down By Getting Vaccinated, Urges Continued Vigilance and Action to Reach Non-Vaccinated Population

Harris County, Texas – May 18, 2021, Judge Lina Hidalgo today announced that she is moving the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level Indicator from Level 1: Red to Level 2: Orange, the system’s second highest threat level. The move comes as a variety of indicators demonstrate significant progress in reducing the threat of COVID-19 and the availability, administration, and efficacy of vaccines for eligible age groups.

Over the past several weeks a convergence of factors has led to the lowering of the threat level. Among them, a variety of key indicators used to inform the county’s threat level system made significant improvements. These include hospital population trends, hospital usage trends, case trends, and positivity rate. Additionally, the on-demand availability of vaccines, their efficacy against variance, an increasing number of individuals getting vaccinated, and updated CDC guidance regarding mask usage and testing. These indicators have been used by the county in conjunction with health experts to make decisions about policy changes and community guidance.

“Thanks to the hard work of our residents, we have made substantial progress in turning a corner against this virus,” said Judge Hidalgo. “This is not a mission accomplished moment, but we should feel encouraged that these vaccines have helped us finally trend in the right direction. Let’s continue to pull together and help persuade friends, family members, and others those who haven’t been vaccinated to do their part.”

Local Leaders oppose SB7 bill as Voter Suppression

HOUSTON – Amid a national outcry against proposed restrictive voting bills in many Republican controlled states, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo hosted a press conference Monday to voice their opposition to Texas House Bill 6 and Texas Senate Bill 7.

“These bills are going through on our watch,” said Turner. “What’s happening in the state of Texas, in the legislature, is wrong.”

“Soon enough, we will have taken the largest step back since Jim Crow,” said Hidalgo. “The dominoes of basic voting rights are starting to fall.”

Lt Governor Dan Parick also held a news conference in Austin this week, angrily defending the bills and accusing opponents of lying about whether they restricted or limited voting, and especially minority voters.

Among other items, Texas HB 6 would prohibit government officials from sending mail-in ballot applications to voters. In addition, it would require anyone providing help to a disabled voter at the polls to show an ID and share why they’re helping the disabled individual.

Texas SB 7 would require people to have legitimate reasons to vote by mail, get rid of drive-thru voting, and allow poll watchers to record video.