Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo officially has raised the county's COVID-19 threat level from yellow "moderate" to orange "significant" in the midst of spiking cases during a "fourth wave" of the pandemic.
The county leader also pleaded with residents to wear face coverings until numbers get back under control, as well as urging those who haven't to get vaccinated.
Hidalgo made the plea in the wake of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott insisting that he would not bring back a mask mandate.
Dr. Peter Hotez, one of the foremost leading voices during the pandemic in southeast Texas, painted a grim picture, especially for those who are not vaccinated. He issued this warning in the midst of an uncontrolled spike in cases for a fourth time.
Hidalgo had lowered the threat level from 'red' to 'orange.'
It dropped again to its current status, Level 3, telling people to stay vigilant unless fully vaccinated. Level 3 means there is a moderate threat and the local healthcare system is well within capacity.
The color-coded alert system was first introduced amid the peak of the pandemic last year. It's designed to help provide the public with guidance on how to protect themselves.
These are the four levels of the COVID-19 threat system for Harris County:
- 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