City spared from Laura’s wrath

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, right, raised the county's COVID-19 threat level from Level 3 to Level 2 on Monday. (Photo from Twitter)

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo raised the county's COVID-19 threat level on Monday amid an increase in cases across the Houston region, which she attributed to the spread of the new omicron variant.

Hidalgo raised the threat level from Level 3, or yellow, to Level 2, or orange, which is the second-highest level and represents an "ongoing, uncontrolled level" of COVID spread. Unvaccinated residents are asked to minimize contact with others and avoid any medium-sized or large gatherings, according to a news release from Hidalgo's office.

She said public health officials are urging all Houston-area residents, especially those age 65 and older, to get vaccinated or receive COVID booster shots if they are eligible.

“Unfortunately, the omicron variant has arrived in Harris County in full force,” Hidalgo said. “These trends are understandably frustrating - especially as we close out the year with friends and family. But we can still blunt the force of this latest wave if we take action. As we approach Christmas and New Years, consider giving yourself and your family the gift of health by getting your booster, getting tested before any gatherings of people outside of your household, and wearing a mask. It could very well save your life or that of a loved one.” 

The number of COVID-19 cases throughout the county has steadily increased throughout the month of December. There were 587 new cases reported on Dec. 1, according to data at, and there were about 1,100 new cases reported Dec. 17.

As of Tuesday, there were 760 active COVID cases in the six zip codes served by The Leader - 77007, 77008, 77009, 77018, 77091 and 77092. The most active cases in the area were in the 77007 zip code, which includes the Washington Avenue corridor, with 192.

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