The Coronavirus in Greater Houston

Harris County’s COVID-19 threat level raised to ‘red’ as region’s infection rate hits record high

This comes after the county’s positivity rate surpassed 34% as of Monday — the highest it’s ever been since the pandemic began.

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media

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 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.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Today in Houston Newsletter Signup
We're in the process of transitioning services for our Today in Houston newsletter. If you'd like to sign up now, fill out the form below and we will add you as soon as we finish the transition. **Please note** If you are already signed up for the newsletter, you do not need to sign up again. Your subscription will be migrated over.