HOUSTON – Several Houston-area counties are listed as COVID-19 hotspots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Data Tracker.
With the rise of the Delta variant plaguing Americans, health officials are seeing a rise in cases.
In July, Houston Methodist Hospital reported seeing an “alarming spike” in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the Houston area. Health officials with the Texas Medical Center said that hospitalization rates in the TMC are up 90% and the positivity rate is climbing. President and CEO of the Texas Medical Center Bill McKeon said the Medical Center is seeing the beginning of a fourth wave.
“We are clearly seeing the beginning of a fourth wave of this pandemic, which is alarming at best,” McKeon said.
The CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker highlights the level of community transmission from high (red), substantial (orange), moderate (yellow) and low (blue). Walker County is the only Houston area county highlighted as yellow -- the rest of the area’s counties are red.
In the past seven days, the CDC shows Harris County has a rate of 116.05 new cases per 100,00 people, which is a 132.07% increase. The county’s new hospital admissions for COVID-19 has a rate of 9.36 per 100 beds, which is a 69.55% increase.
Despite the rise in cases in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said he will not impose another mask mandate, ensuring that everyone has the supplies they need to get the vaccine if they want. The governor said his reason behind not issuing another mask mandate is due to people having “immunity to COVID through the vaccination or through their own exposure and recovery from it.”
Abbott also spoke about kids returning to school, saying kids will not be forced by the government or schools to wear a mask in the fall.
The Texas State Teachers Association called on Abbott to withdraw the prohibition of masks and to allow school districts to require masks when students return back to school. TSTA said the pandemic is still dangerous and with the increase of COVID-19 cases and many people still not being vaccinated, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that people older than 2 years old should wear a mask when they return to school.
In the meantime, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is asking all vaccinated residents in Harris County to mask up again due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the community. Hidalgo said those who have received the vaccine are heroes but now the county needs them to step up to help protect the unvaccinated.
For more information and stats on the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker, click here.