Bars closed, businesses back to 50% capacity in Harris County as COVID-19 hospitalizations remain above 15% threshold

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at a Jan. 5 press conference. (Screenshot courtesy Office of Judge Lina Hidalgo)
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at a Jan. 5 press conference. (Screenshot courtesy Office of Judge Lina Hidalgo)

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo speaks at a Jan. 5 press conference. (Screenshot courtesy Office of Judge Lina Hidalgo)

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Trauma Service Area Q—which includes Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend and six other surrounding counties—exceeded 15% of total hospital capacity for the past seven consecutive days, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo warned residents in a Jan. 5 press conference reaching this threshold would force the rolling back of state reopening measures, which officials with her office confirmed went into effect later that same day.


An October executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott stated regions meeting this threshold would have businesses formerly operating at 75% capacity scale back to 50% capacity, and bars would be forced to close.

Hidalgo implored residents to take precautions to curb the spread of the virus Jan. 5.

“This is a wake-up call for us—this is the last wake-up call we might get,” she said. “Each and every one of us knows the drill. We’ve done it before; we have to do it again. Stay home, get tested and please avoid any gatherings that bring you with people you don’t live with.”

State data shows Trauma Service Area Q’s seven-day streak of having COVID-19 patients exceed 15% total hospital capacity began Dec. 29, and as of Jan. 4, was at 19.9%.


More than 500 COVID-19 patients are in Harris County intensive care units as of Jan. 5, about one-third of all ICU patients countywide, according to data from the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council.

By Danica Lloyd

Editor, Cy-Fair

Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2016. As editor, she continues to cover local government, education, health care, real estate, development, business and transportation in Cy-Fair. Her experience prior to CI includes studying at the Washington Journalism Center and interning at a startup incubator in D.C., serving as editor-in-chief of Union University's student magazine and online newspaper, reporting for The Jackson Sun and freelancing for other publications in Arkansas and Tennessee.