Harris County’s COVID-19 threat level again raised to its highest level on Monday, as ICU hospitalizations and new cases continue to increase across the region.
During a Monday afternoon press conference, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo officially increased the threat level from “orange” to “red,” indicating severe and uncontrolled outbreaks of COVID-19. This comes after the county’s positivity rate surpassed 34% as of Monday — the highest it’s ever been, according to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard.
“We are in the midst of another COVID-19 tsunami,” Hidalgo said. “It’s like nothing we’ve seen before in this pandemic.”
Hidalgo added that the county would provide Houston-area school districts with 110,000 COVID rapid tests in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
The county’s COVID threat level was last raised in August, when the more transmissible delta variant caused a fourth surge across Texas.
The omicron-fueled surge in COVID-19 cases has caused hospitalizations to increase across the county. As of Monday, there where 2,199 COVID patients occupying the county’s general and ICU beds — up from 475 patients on Dec. 9, according to data from the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council.