Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced the county's COVID-19 threat level would be lowered from "significant" to "moderate"—the system's second-lowest threat level. This is the county's lowest coronavirus threat level since the indicator was implemented nearly a year ago.

As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, Hidalgo lowered the county's coronavirus threat level May 18 for the first time since last June from "severe" to "significant." According to a May 28 press release, the new threat level signifies a moderate, but controlled, level of COVID-19 in Harris County, meaning there has been a further demonstrated reduction in transmission of the virus, and the local health care system is within capacity.

"This is an important and encouraging, but still fragile, milestone in our fight against COVID-19," Hidalgo said in a statement. "Our community is doing what it needs to do to move the needle in the right direction, but the threat of stalling or moving backwards remains very real."

According to Harris County Public Health data, Harris County and the city of Houston had a combined 5,480 active coronavirus cases as of May 27. Additionally, nearly 1.63 million Harris County residents were fully vaccinated, and nearly 2.08 million Harris County residents had been partially vaccinated as of May 27, according to Texas Department of State Health Services data.

Under the new threat level, unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear face coverings or masks and practice social distancing, the release states. However, those who are fully vaccinated may resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidelines.

"As we move into Memorial Day weekend, I urge anyone who is not yet vaccinated to take action to protect themselves against this deadly virus and to avoid gatherings with other unvaccinated individuals," Hidalgo said. "Just as importantly, if you have gotten vaccinated, remind your friends and family to get the vaccine."

For more detailed information about Harris County's COVID-19 threat level indicator, click here.