HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- After two years of grim headlines about the COVID-19 pandemic, things are looking up in Harris County.
On Tuesday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said the number of COVID patients in the ICU and general populations is at its lowest point since May 2020.
"We should take a moment and take a breath and celebrate that," Hidalgo said. "So many of us are going back to normal in many ways and that's warranted, important and we need that as a community. We need that for our economy."
Despite the positive outlook, Hidalgo said this doesn't mean the pandemic is over.
"While the hospitalizations have come down, new cases now have stopped decreasing and are plateauing," she said. "What we've seen in the past, in all the various waves we've had, they begin plateauing and then they go right back up."
She added that not enough time has passed since the most recent wave in the winter to know if we're completely in the clear. As the county has been watching Western Europe and Asia and they're seeing cases increase and issues in the hospitals, she said that prompted the following questions: "If and when we see the next wave, have enough people been vaccinated? Are there enough treatments? Are there enough therapeutics to where our hospitals will be spared?"
The answer? They just don't have the answer. Which is why she continued to urge people to get the COVID vaccine and the booster.
"The booster is going to continue to protect us against upcoming variants. We've already seen a variant on omicron. It's very much expected there are going to be other ones," Hidalgo said. "The idea is if you get the vaccine, you might still get the virus but you're very, very unlikely to end up in the hospital."
So who is eligible for the booster?
- Anyone who is 50 years or older.
- Anyone who is immunocompromised.
Anyone who has received the Johnson&Johnson vaccine can get a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot.
According to health officials, the Harris County vaccine sites are open to walk-ins and appointments.
For more information on where to get your vaccine or booster shot, visit Harris County Public Health's website or call 832-927-8787.