COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped by 23% at Texas Medical Center hospitals as compared to a week ago, according to the medical center’s Aug. 28 data dashboard.

The medical center reported fewer than 770 COVID-19 patients in its hospitals, which is 227 fewer than a week ago.

The total number of intensive care units in use has dipped to 1,231, according to Aug. 27 data, down from 1,328 a week ago. Of that number, 285 COVID-19 patients were in ICUs, down from 363 on Aug. 21. Figures that low were last seen in June.

The TMC considers 1,330 ICU beds in use its threshold for its Phase II plan, in which additional staffing and beds would be needed.

Data collected by TMC spans hospitals in nine counties in Greater Houston, including Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller counties.

Meanwhile, TMC hospitals reported that close to 1,500 COVID-19 tests were performed Aug. 26, with the positivity rates down to 6% from its peak at 23% on July 9.

Baylor College of Medicine recruiting for COVID-19 cancer study

The Baylor College of Medicine is recruiting cancer patients in Houston for a National Cancer Institute study to learn how COVID-19 has affected cancer patients and their treatment, according to a news release.

Clinical data, imaging studies and blood specimens will be taken from participants to learn more about the risk factors for developing a serious case of COVID-19 among those receiving cancer treatment as well as how the viral disease affects cancer treatment and outcomes. Researchers will also collect information from patients' medical records.

Baylor is recruiting patients for the study at the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and at Ben Taub Hospital. Patients must be receiving active cancer treatment within six weeks and have a positive COVID-19 test within 14 days. Participants will be followed for two years.