Lina Hidalgo lowers COVID-19 threat level to orange ahead of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced Thursday that she has lowered the threat level of COVID-19 from red, the most serious level, to orange, meaning there is still a significant and uncontrolled spread of the virus in the area.

According to the county system, the orange level means there is still ongoing transmission of the virus, but the reduction in threat marks an improvement as positive cases of COVID-19 and those admitted to the intensive care unit decline. or ICU.

This story can be read in Spanish here: Harris County Judge Hidalgo lowers COVID-19 threat level to orange

Hidalgo had raised the level to red when the omicron wave hit Harris County hard in January.

“The omicron wave hit Harris County very, very hard,” Hidalgo said. “In fact, just now, our hospitalization rates have dropped to levels that don’t immediately threaten the capacity of our health care system. There’s no guarantee we won’t see another wave in the future.”

At the orange level, unvaccinated people are advised to continue to wear a mask, maintain physical distance, and avoid medium and large gatherings.

Vaccinated individuals should follow the latest public health guidance on whether to wear a face covering indoors, in public places, in crowded outdoor settings, and for activities with close contact with people who are not fully vaccinated.

The reduced threat level comes just as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is scheduled to return after a two-year absence due to the pandemic.

This year, the rodeo, which draws millions of people during the roughly three-week event, begins on February 28 and ends on March 20.

Before the City of Houston and the Houston Health Department ordered the rodeo closed on March 11, 2020, attendance totaled 851,822.

With the return of the rodeo, the Harris County Public Health Department is urging people to wear face coverings because of the omicron variant that still exists in the community.

If you are interested in receiving a COVID vaccine or booster shot, please visit the Harris County Public Health website.

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