Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said another strong effort to cut down the rising cases of COVID-19 may be on the horizon, saying "another pull-back is necessary."
In her "State of the County" address, which was held virtually on November 12, she began by discussing the rise of positive cases in the county and across the country.
The question many have on their minds is whether or not this means another shutdown for Harris County.
"We got to get it under control once and for all," said Hidalgo. "Already enough lives have been lost. It's setting ourselves up for greater economic pain, deaths and illnesses. We now know inevitably another pull-back is necessary. It's going to be coming soon, I'm sure."
This week, Texas became the first state in the country to reach 1 million reported cases. The positivity rate has slowly been inching back up in the Houston area, and with the holidays coming up and more people gathering, it couldn't come at a worse time.
Hidalgo said they've got several hundred people on the county's contact tracing team who are continuing to use the threat level system, but enough people are heeding the warnings. As fast as numbers are going up, she said it's become inevitable that another pull-back is necessary and may be coming soon. Local health officials also see that happening in the near future.
"I imagine, at some point, public officials will start to tap the brakes and try to slow the spread," said Dr. James McDeavitt, the dean of clinical affairs at Baylor College of Medicine. "I don't think it will be a switch. I think it will be more targeted and timelier with a lot less social disruption and a lot less economic disruption."
Meanwhile, Hidalgo said this is not the time to be lax and encourages everyone to stay on course and be even more vigilant with wearing face masks, practicing safe social distancing and proper hygiene.
The county is working with state and federal officials to deploy a vaccine and treatment once they become available.
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