Fort Bend County judge elevates threat level to red due to rising COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations

Fort Bend County Judge KP George elevated the county’s threat level from orange to red Wednesday due to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. “This is a fight. we are doing it together. This is not a one person fight,” Judge George said.

The judge said ICU patients have increased at an alarming rate and that needed to raise the risk level to red. “Save lives and protect our citizens. That’s what we are trying to do by elevating the threat level today,” Judge George said.

Fort Bend County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Jacquelyn Johnson-Minter said the county has surpassed 25,000 cases and just in two weeks, 5,000 more have been infected with the virus. She said the county has seen an increase in testing and positivity rate. Johnson-Minter also said they have seen more reports of COVID-19-related deaths. “What we are seeing now is reflective of behaviors that occurred 10 to 21 days prior and the rate of growth represents widespread and uncontrolled transmission of the virus,” Dr. Johnson-Minter said.

Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Flathouse said Homeland Security and Emergency Management is pushing out more information and working with the city to help distribute more PPE’s for people.

Judge George said there is hope with the vaccine but at the moment, safe distance, wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings is needed to help slow down the spread. “Things will get better. There is hope absolutely and I am so confident that things will be much better a few months from now,” Judge George said.

Dr. Johnson-Minter said people are gathering more without masks, which has led to an increase in the cases. “The virus is very contagious and when you’re having small gatherings the virus is going to spread from one person to another,” Dr. Johnson-Minter said. She also said people are also ignoring COVID-like symptoms by mistaking them for allergies.

The county judge said the last thing he wants to do is shut down schools and other businesses or set a curfew, which is why he has raised the threat level.

“At this point, this is the best way to communicate with our residents,” George said.

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