watch the colors

Harris County Judge Linda Hidalgo announces new COVID-19 public threat level system

Harris County judge announces new COVID-19 public threat level system

Lina Hidalgo face mask
Hidalgo has announced a new color-coded COVID-19 threat level system. Lina Hidalgo/Twitter

While Texas is reopening under Gov. Greg Abbott’s order, hospital admissions for COVID-19 cases are rising. Houston reports 9,384 total cases, 146 deaths, and 2,400 recoveries. Meanwhile, Harris County reports 6,480 cases, 121 deaths, and 3,901 recoveries. On Wednesday, June 10, Texas set a new record with more than 2,500 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in a single day.

To that end, at a June 11 press conference, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced a new, color-coded COVID-19 threat level assessment designed to help provide the public with guidance on how to protect themselves. The announcement follows the expiration of the county’s “Stay Home, Work Safe” order that expired on June 10.

Here are the four levels:

Level 1 - Severe (red) Stay Home
Level 2 - Significant (orange) Minimize All Contacts
Level 3 - Moderate (yellow) Stay Vigilant
Level 4 - Minimal (green) Resume Normal Contacts

Hidalgo noted that the county will have a constant indicator dial at As of Friday, June 12, the current threat level is orange, per the Ready Harris site.

“We all want to get back to work, see our friends, hug our family, go out to eat, and resume our livelihoods without limitations, but we still have a long road ahead of us to end this epidemic,” said Hidalgo. “We owe it to our residents to make sure we're providing clear, consistent, and data-based information to keep them as healthy and safe as possible.”

As more Houstonians venture out, the Texas Medical Center notes that current modeling shows the TMC’s ICU capacity could be exceeded in five weeks, according to CultureMap news partner, ABC13.

Those numbers are in step with what Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, recent warning, as CultureMap previously reported.

“We’re starting to see a rise in the number of cases,” said Hotez. “Now, you could argue that’s because we’re testing more and getting better at this sort of stuff. But the fact that is being paralleled by an increasing number of hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions, that’s not a good sign. It means that this thing is for real.”