‘The South is getting hammered’: Fort Bend County Judge KP George raises COVID-19 threat level to ‘significant,’ asks county staff to wear masks

SUGAR LAND, Texas – Fort Bend County Judge KP George raised the county’s COVID-19 threat level to “significant” Tuesday.

County officials gave an update on the current impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the area and the recommended precautions that need to be taken to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

George said he’s calling on all county staff to wear masks. He also encouraged residents to get vaccinated. Health screenings will also go into effect beginning next week.

“The South is getting hammered by COVID-19,” George said.

An average of 195 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the county each day in the last reporting week. That’s an increase of 149 cases a day and more than twice the cases reported in the county each week, Jacquelyn Johnson-Minter, MD said at the press conference.

Dr. Johnson-Minter said data shows vaccines are effective in reducing COVID-19 deaths and illnesses. In addition, she said practices like wearing masks and good hygienic habits can help reduce the number of COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Peter Hotez said much of the reasoning for the surge in COVID-19 cases is misinformation.

“One of the problems has been with all of the anti-vaccine aggression and a lot of the fake talking points…” Hotez said. “What we’ve got to do is be able to push back on the fake stuff. We’ve got to stop this nonsense of health freedom, medical freedom. We’ve got to save lives.”

“We are still in the midst of a battle against this virus,” Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton said. “So let’s all be vigilant and continue in this fight. Wear your mask, fight this virus so we can move past it.”

According to Texas Tribune, more than 340 million vaccine doses have been given in the U.S., and side effects have been determined by the FDA and independent researchers to be extremely rare and far less substantial than the dangers of getting COVID-19, which has killed more than 52,000 Texans as of Aug. 2.

About the Authors:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.