Texas County Sends Emergency Text Alert To 4.7M Residents Requesting They Cancel Holiday Gatherings During COVID-19 Surge

HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Officials in Harris County, where Houston is located, appealed to the public to forego gatherings with anyone beyond their own immediate households during the holiday season in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, Nov 17, Harris County sent out an emergency text alert to all 4.7 million of its residents asking them to cancel their holiday gatherings and to get tested.

“This is not the year… to have a great holiday gathering, a great outing at the bar, restaurant. It’s just not the time,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the county’s top elected official.

Statewide, 7,165 new coronavirus cases Tuesday raised to 1,066,918 the number reported since the pandemic first struck Texas in early March, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Thirty-seven new COVID-19 deaths also were reported as the outbreak nears the mid-July peak.

At a news conference, Hidalgo warned that the number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations locally is increasing. She said she feared the trends resembled what the area saw right before June and July when the county saw a large spike in cases that filled up hospitals.

Hidalgo said that since late September, the number of average new daily cases in Harris County has increased by 250%. In this same time period, the positivity rate has increased 30 percent and is now at 8.2%.

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Source: CBS