Fort Bend Co. rises to highest COVID-19 threat level

RICHMOND, Texas (KTRK) -- Fort Bend County officials have elevated its COVID-19 community risk to its highest level, just two weeks after raising it before Thanksgiving.

On Wednesday, Judge KP George pointed at rises in cases and hospitalizations to upgrade the county's threat level from orange to red.

Red signifies a high community risk, though, it doesn't mandate a stay home order for county residents. The county was previously in the red level in July.

The county has confirmed 25,156 coronavirus cases. About 5,000 of the cases were added within the last two weeks. The county also set a new single-day high of 1,285 new cases reported on Dec. 3.

A data breakdown showed those in the 18-to-29-year-old age group have the most cases in the county.

WATCH: Fort Bend Co. residents react to raised virus risk in midst of holidays
EMBED More News Videos

In the video, Fort Bend County residents weigh in on what a high community risk of coronavirus spreading means in the midst of the holdays.



"The rate of growth in numbers represents widespread and uncontrolled transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus," said Dr. Jacquelyn Johnson-Minter, director of Fort Bend County Health & Human Services.

Minter attributes the rise in cases and the positivity rate to people gathering as well as not wearing masks. Furthermore, she said the effects of gatherings for the Thanksgiving holiday will be seen in the next couple of days and weeks.

With the county's situation growing more dire, leaders also gave a rough timetable for the arrival of vaccines once they are approved. Minter said residents could receive vaccinations as early as next week.

The first priority groups for the vaccine will be health care workers and those living in senior care facilities, with the general public having access to the vaccine in six to nine months, Minter said.

On Nov. 24, the county upgraded its threat level from yellow to orange. An increase to orange means a moderate/significant risk. Under this level, residents are asked to avoid and cancel gatherings of more than 10 people.

PREVIOUS STORY: Thanksgiving threat: Fort Bend Co.'s infection risk level raised

Before that announcement, the threat level had remained at yellow, which means low to moderate community risk, for nearly two months.

SEE ALSO: Harris County remains one of the only counties in Houston area where bars can't reopen

The Thanksgiving time announcement also came ahead of several in-person holiday events taking place in Fort Bend County cities.

Community Impact Newspaper contributed to this report.



Follow Erica Simon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.