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Harris County Judge says 7th straight day of COVID-19 hospitalizations will trigger rollbacks

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo confirms the region has crossed the state’s hospitalization threshold to trigger COVID-19 reopening rollbacks.

“The Harris County region officially crossed the state’s hospitalization threshold triggering #COVID19 reopening rollbacks. Honestly, this is just another milestone on the road to a catastrophe unless each of us acts. We can’t rely on a small occupancy rollback. Do your part,” Hidalgo tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

This follows an order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that any Trauma Service Area (TSA) that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations exceeds 15% must close bars and reduce restaurant capacity to 50%.

On Monday, TSA Q, a region that includes Harris County, was just one day away from having COVID-19 hospitalizations at 15% capacity or higher for seven days in a row, according to data from the Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Department of State Health Services data showed Texas TSA Q was at 15% from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3, which is six days in a row. Because of that, the Houston area will soon experience COVID-19 restrictions seen during the earlier phases of reopening.

Earlier in the day, Hidalgo addressed the looming rollback, which was pending at the time.

“This is not an academic exercise. It is not a threshold that we should in any way celebrate reaching. What we need to recognize is that without community action, we are going to find ourselves in a very difficult situation,” Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo added that this is the last wake-up call we might get and called for residents to avoid any gatherings with people they don’t live with to help prevent the spread of the virus.

When asked about Gov. Abbott’s threshold, she said it’s something she welcomes.

“I welcome a threshold the governor has laid out. We need that sharp change right now,” Hidalgo said. “I am concerned that this threshold has not yielded the necessary change in other areas, like El Paso. Right now, the best thing we can do is take this threshold as a wake-up call.”

TSA Q includes the following counties: Austin, Colorado, Fort Bend, Harris, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.

In Montgomery County, a business owner said it feels like this is all an attack on small businesses and is worried about losing her staff.

“Somebody has to put their foot down. Somebody has to say no,” said Sandra Young, owner of Bokeeters in Montgomery County. “We have been force-fed coronavirus for a year. It’s been shoved down our throats I don’t know what else we can do.”

Also in agreeance with Young is Congressman Dan Crenshaw. He reacted on Twitter, saying businesses should not comply. Crenshaw also went on to say lockdowns are not supported by law and to “stop stealing people’s right to make a living.”