Understanding Government Announcements About COVID-19

Understanding Government Announcements About COVID-19


Because the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, some information may not be up to date. Stay informed by following information from your local officials and by visiting the CDC website.

Our local and state governments continue releasing new information about COVID-19, which can be overwhelming when you’re trying to keep track of what’s happening. On June 22, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference and encouraged citizens to wear masks and stay at home whenever possible. "I know that some people feel that wearing a mask is inconvenient or is like an infringement of freedom, but I also know that wearing a mask will help us to keep Texas open," he said. See what else Texas officials had to say.

Understanding the Five Levels of Bed Availability in Texas  

On June 22, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas is currently at Level Five on the scale of bed availability, which means there is still plenty of bed capacity in Texas. (As of June 16, there were a total of 14,993 beds available in Texas). Experts determine the level by seeing how many beds in COVID-19 patient wings are available and, if there aren’t any, how many beds are available elsewhere. Here’s what the different levels mean: 

  • Level Five - COVID-19 patients remain in beds designated for COVID-19 patients. 
  • Level Four - The COVID-19 wing is full, so COVID-19 patients surge into all physical beds within the ICU. 
  • Level Three - The ICU is full, so COVID-19 patients surge into non-traditional care areas within the hospital, such as operating rooms or post-anesthesia care units. 
  • Level Two - Non-traditional care areas are full, so COVID-19 patients surge into adjacent buildings, such as medical offices supported by the hospital.  
  • Level One - Adjacent buildings are full, so COVID-19 patients surge into buildings of opportunity, like stadiums or conference centers. 

Understanding the Four COVID-19 Threat Levels in Harris County 

On June 11, 2020, Judge Lina Hidalgo announced that Harris County is currently at the orange level. Here’s what the different levels mean: 

  • Green (Minimal) - In general, people can resume normal contact and typical activities. 
  • Yellow (Moderate) - People should stay vigilant and avoid behaviors that could be risky. 
  • Orange (Significant) - People should minimize all contact with others.
  • Red (Severe) - People should stay home, work safely, and only leave their homes for necessary things. 

Judge Hidalgo also issued an order that businesses must require customers over the age of 10 to wear masks, which goes into effect on June 22. Judge Hidalgo calls this a "...no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service' policy."

COVID-19 Resources 

Self-isolating and going out in public only when necessary can help slow the spread of COVID-19. Check out our guides to social distancing and the virus itself: 

 

If you begin to experience symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, a dry cough, or a sore throat, stay home and schedule a virtual visit with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician. They can help guide you toward your next steps.

 

Sources: 

Houston Chronicle | Hidalgo unveils COVID-19 'threat level' system, says Harris County at second-highest risk

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