code red

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo raises COVID-19 threat level to red, urges residents to stay home

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo raises COVID-19 threat level to red

Lina Hidalgo face mask
Under the highest threat level, Hidalgo advises residents to stay home. Lina Hidalgo/Twitter

With Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s closure of Texas bars already in order, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo increased the COVID-19 threat level in the area to red, or severe, on Friday, June 26. Under this warning, locals are urged to stay home.

The color-coded system is designed to help provide guidance on the severity of novel coronavirus infections in the county and how residents can protect themselves.

The indicator dial can be found at

“The harsh truth is that our current infection rate is on pace to overwhelm our hospitals in the very near future,” said Hidalgo. “We hope this serves as a wakeup call to everyone that the time to act is now.”

Under the level one threat, residents are urged to:

  • Stay home, unless you need to make trips to the grocery store for food and medicine
  • Avoid and cancel all gatherings of any size
  • Practice special precautions to prevent spread if you're an essential worker. Check Harris County's guide for more on those workplace safety guidelines
  • All vulnerable individuals (65 years old or over or with pre-existing health conditions) stay home
  • Self-quarantine for 14 days if in close and prolonged contact with someone who has tested positive with COVID-19
  • Wear face coverings to protect others
  • Avoid non-essential business and personal travel
  • Avoid public transportation where possible
  • Cancel visits to nursing homes, long term care facilities, and hospitals
  • Avoid and cancel all indoor and outdoor gatherings, including concerts, rodeos, large sporting events, etc. Schools and after-school activities for youth close, as directed by educational authorities

Here are the four threat level and their instructions:

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

As CultureMap news partner, ABC13, notes, Hidalgo said she would be issuing an advisory similar to the initial “Stay Home, Work Safe” order issued in March. She also pleaded with locals to observe safety guidelines:

“Since when did we decide as a society that instead of saving a life and preventing the spread of the virus, we would treat human lives, the lives of our neighbors as collateral damage to be dealt with,” she asked.