Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo lowers COVID-19 threat level to yellow

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- This could be another positive sign that things are going in the right direction.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced Thursday morning that she's lowering the county's COVID-19 threat level again, this time from orange to yellow as positive cases and hospitalizations due to omicron variant infections decline.

Yellow, which is also Level 3, signifies there's a controlled level of COVID-19 in Harris County, meaning a further demonstrated reduction in transmission and the local healthcare system is well within capacity, according to officials.

Anyone who is unvaccinated should continue to wear a mask and social distance, while vaccinated people should mask up or physically distance where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, including at local businesses or in the workplace.

"My hope is that we are at a permanent turning point of this pandemic," Hidalgo said in a release Thursday. "But we've yet to have a wave where our hospitals don't get overwhelmed, so we need to tread with caution before we declare victory over this virus."

This is the second time in two weeks that Hidalgo has lowered the COVID threat level.

On Feb. 24, she dropped the level from red, the most severe, to orange, which meant there was still a significant and uncontrolled level of the virus in the area.

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

The lowered threat level at the end of February came four days before the return of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo after two years away due to the pandemic.

This year, the rodeo, which draws millions of people over the course of the roughly three-week event, runs through March 20.

If you're interested in getting a COVID vaccination or a booster shot, visit the Harris County Public Health website.

SEE MORE: ABC13 town hall to explore omicron variant's impact in Houston area
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City officials are hoping new mega testing sites will help with the long wait times and delayed results.



The video above is from a previous report on recent CDC mask guidance amid a shift in public health policies.
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