During an outbreak, the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may vary from very high to relatively lower risk. The level of risk depends in part on the environment, type of activity performed, and the potential for close contact (within 6 feet of another person) for a repeated or extended period. To help Residents determine appropriate precautions, Fort Bend County has adopted four color levels to characterize the different risk exposure levels, consisting of high, moderate-low, and new normal.
The pace of positive cases in our County and Region continue to trend in the wrong direction. Our hospital systems are working overtime to prepare for surge capacity and are coordinating with the Texas Medical Center. COVID-19 testing demand is high and continues to be a cornerstone of tracking the spread of this disease.
Governor Abbott’s mask order, prohibition on mass gatherings, and the public’s diligence over the last few holidays, helped fight a major surge of COVID-19. However, as the holiday season kicked off, we are seeing alarming trends of positive cases, hospitalizations, and other critical factors going in the wrong direction.
Due to the uncontrolled community spread, we are now in the red “High Risk” category moving up from the orange “moderate/significant” risk category. We are in a dangerous situation as our case counts soar and ICU beds fill up at unacceptable rates. This holiday season, let us get Texas Tough and fight COVID-19 by wearing our masks, getting tested, and cancel gatherings so we can protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Local medical professionals compiled the enclosed guidance in pursuit of their lone goal of containment of COVID-19 in Fort Bend County. Please read the recommendations not as infringement upon personal liberty, but as acts of solidarity that will protect the livelihoods of your loved ones, neighbors, and the local health professionals who endeavor each day to care for us. By adhering to these suggestions, we can solidify the progress we have made thus far and hasten our return to the life that we love – one of safety, wellbeing, community, and camaraderie.
Fort Bend County COVID-19 Health Guidance for the Public
Assume personal responsibility – Public health guidance cannot anticipate every unique situation. Residents should take responsibility, stay informed, take actions based on common sense, and follow the guidance offered by health care experts.
Do an honest self-assessment – In addition, all individuals are encouraged to perform an honest self- assessment before engaging in activities outside of the home. This assessment should include asking two questions:
Am I healthy enough to leave the home, or do I fall into a high-risk category, based on age or other medical conditions?
Is there someone in my home, or someone I interact with on a regular basis, who falls into a high- risk category?
If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then exercise extra caution and discretion before leaving the home. Is it a want or is it a need?
Perform protective hygiene, Distance yourself physically and clean the environment – Fort Bend County residents should practice good hygiene and cleaning practices to minimize the risk of transmission of the virus. These include but are not limited to the following:
Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or use hand sanitizer after interactions with people or objects
Stay home if ill
Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or do it into the sleeve or elbow, not hands
Clean high-touch surfaces (buttons, door handles, counters, etc.) regularly
Avoid touching your face
Refrain from hand shaking
Physically distance and keep recommended distance between people outside of your household
Wear a facial covering when out in public or when in the company of others.
Assess the Risk – Individuals should assess their risk and make decisions based on their specific circumstances. Those at high risk for COVID-19 (elderly, those with underlying illnesses, etc.) and those around them should use extra precautions as outlined by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), and Fort Bend County Health and Human Services (FBCHHS).