Fort Bend County lowers COVID-19 threat level, but here's why they aren't celebrating

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- Fort Bend County dropped its COVID-19 threat level, but health leaders are still urging caution as hospitalizations have leveled with flu season approaching.

COVID-19 SITUATION IMPROVES IN TEXAS, BUT HEALTH OFFICIALS URGE CAUTION

In some parts of the country, COVID-19 numbers are climbing. In southeast Texas, it's a different picture.

However, winter and the holidays could change this.

"I certainly hope not," Dr. Annamaria Macaluso Davidson, Vice President of Employee Health Medical Operations for Memorial Hermann Health System said. "My gut is that we won't. The vaccines really do a nice job of preventing infection, severe infection and disease."

Memorial Hermann doctors hope there isn't another surge, because an uptick in the winter creates problems in the hospital.

Flu season brings an increase in patients.

Right now, capacity is good, but it could be better, health officials said.

"We've come down really nicely, which is wonderful from this last surge, but we've plateaued a bit, and we're not going down as low as we were from this last surge," Davidson explained.


On Friday, The Texas Department of State Health Services said the decrease in statewide hospitalizations is stalling. COVID-19 numbers have slightly ticked up too.

The state dashboard shows from Sunday to Friday of last week, the daily average was 2,275. This week, it's 2,516.

The positivity rate also moved from 4.9% to 5.7%.

FORT BEND COUNTY LOWERS ITS COVID-19 THREAT LEVEL

Fort Bend County lowered its threat meter from orange to yellow on Friday, but leaders aren't celebrating.

"We need to make sure we're vigilant," Dr. Jacquelyn Minter, Fort Bend County Health & Human Services, director said. "We look at our neighbors. We look across the globe. We know that we're traveling to celebrate, and we know flu season is here. This is not a time we need to feel relaxed or comfortable in that sense."

The county's situation improved, but you still have to wear a mask in county buildings. Fort Bend County Judge KP George said this could change soon.


"You will be hearing something soon about our mask mandate, at least for our county buildings," George said.

IF YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR A BOOSTER, THIS WEEKEND IS AN IDEAL TIME TO GET ONE BEFORE THANKSGIVING.

One way to keep numbers low is to get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is available to anyone five years old and up.
Boosters are another tool. If you're celebrating Thanksgiving, and you're eligible, you might want to get a jab this weekend.

"The booster is going to increase that antibody protection, and keep you from having mild to moderate infections, which is great," Davidson said. "We look at about two weeks after for that as well to kind of have the full effect."

If you need a COVID-19 vaccine, or booster, click here to find out where you can get one.
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