Harris County Judge urging caution ahead of holidays during pandemic

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo posted a video to Twitter Sunday, urging every Houstonian to exercise extra responsibility and caution heading into the holiday season.

"Since the start of fall, so late September, the number of cases that Harris County reports daily on average has increased 250% to 635 cases a day," Hidalgo said. 

Hidalgo says that sharp increase is concerning for the hospitals.  

"The positivity rate it has also increased now to 8.5%. Right now, the trend in our ICU population is increasing at the same rate at which it was increasing in early June and eventually that led to filling all of our ICU capacity," Hidalgo said. 

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Although the state took away Hidalgo’s authority to issue shutdowns earlier this year, many Thanksgiving festivities won’t be happening anyway. Mattress Mack’s lunch giveaway at Gallery Furniture, the Star of Hope’s annual outing to Hard Rock Cafe and the HEB Thanksgiving Day Parade all have been cancelled due to the pandemic.   

Brian Greene, the CEO of the Houston Food Bank says their inventory has been stable in the last few months thanks to surplus donations. 

"Labor's our biggest issue. We've been relying on surplus food being donated and there's been a lot of surplus. We're worried about what that's going to look like in January," Greene said. 


However, Greene says the food bank needs additional volunteers to help with distributions and sorting.  

"To put it in perspective, last month we had 2,200 volunteers unduplicated. That may sound like a lot, but normally we would see three to four times that number. And as our workload is actually gotten higher, you know it's a real problem for us," Greene said. 

The Houston Food Bank says all their volunteers undergo temperature and symptom checks and will be required to wear a mask at all times. 

Greene said the Houston Food Bank doesn’t need any more food donations at this time but recommends buying grocery store gift cards to help any families in need this year.