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VERIFY: Harris County is still at a Red COVID-19 threat level

Electronic signs on Beltway 8 that read "Threat level … Red … Stay home … Work safe.” are correct.

HOUSTON — Texas is open for business. People are getting the COVID-19 vaccine. So, is Harris County still at red COVID-19 threat level? Some viewers wanted to know and asked the Verify team to find out.

A sign on the Beltway 8 reads, “Threat level … Red … Stay home … Work safe.”

Lindsey emailed us, “Can you please verify that the COVID level is still at red - according to the digital message boards in the Beltway it is - yet we see the numbers declining steadily.”

Our source for this is the Harris County Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Agency and its Director Judge Lina Hidalgo.

The county judge announced last June a color-coded system. It is to let people know the level of risk from COVID-19. The county started at Orange then. But two weeks later, leaders raised it to Red signifying there is a severe and uncontrolled level of COVID-19, that outbreaks are present and worsening, and that you should minimize contacts with others and stay home.

Judge Hidalgo says the county has to reach certain criteria before it moves out of Red.

They include hospital population trends, hospital usage, new case trends, new total trends and the positivity rate. So far, Harris County has only met the hospital population goal.

So, we can Verify the highway signs are correct.

County leaders continue to stress the importance of wearing masks and social distancing to help keep things moving in the right direction so that they can take the threat level from Red to Orange.