Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We cannot wait any longer — the time to act is now. We have arrived at the precipice of a public health disaster. Area hospitals have reached their full ICU base capacity and are now relying on surge space to treat patients. The number of daily cases and hospitalizations have also reached their highest point since the beginning of the pandemic. Only bold action and complete community participation will help us prevent overwhelmed hospitals, overworked healthcare workers, and an unprecedented number of preventable deaths.
Today, I upgraded the County’s COVID-19 public threat level from significant (orange, level two) to severe (red, level one). Level one indicates a “severe and uncontrolled” level of COVID-19, meaning outbreaks are worsening, contact tracing capacity is strained or exceeded, and healthcare surge is likely. To slow this uncontrolled spread of COVID-19, all Harris County residents should adhere to the following guidelines as closely as possible:
- Stay home, except for the most essential needs like going to the grocery store for food and medicine.
- Avoid and cancel all gatherings of any size.
- Essential workers practice special precautions to prevent spread.
- All vulnerable individuals (65+ or with pre-existing health conditions) stay home.
- Self-quarantine for 14 days if in close and prolonged contact with someone who has tested positive with COVID-19.
- Wear face coverings to protect others.
- Avoid non-essential business and personal travel. Avoid public transportation where possible.
- Cancel visits to nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and hospitals.
- Avoid and cancel all indoor and outdoor gatherings, including concerts, rodeos, large sporting events, etc. Schools and afterschool activities for youth close, as directed by educational authorities.
Our situation is precarious — we are on the edge but there is still time to step back. Stay in and work from home except for essential business. Wear a face covering if you absolutely have to be out. We are doing the best we can with what we have, but if we are not all in this together, we can expect to suffer more severe consequences in a matter of weeks. We’ve flattened the curve before, and we can do it again.