UPDATED: First positive cases confirmed in Waller County; second death reported in Harris County

The number of coronavirus cases in the Greater Houston area has surpassed 250. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The number of coronavirus cases in the Greater Houston area has surpassed 250. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The number of coronavirus cases in the Greater Houston area has surpassed 250. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Editor's note: The following article will be updated daily with new information and details on coronavirus cases in the Greater Houston area.

Updated 6:20 p.m. March 29

The first three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Waller County over the weekend. In a Facebook post, County Judge Trey Duhon said a staff member at Prairie View A&M University tested positive on March 27.

The university employee, a male in his 20s, is believed to have come into contact with three to four other employees. His spouse tested positive the next day.

"Both individuals are in the 20’s. They live in the north end of the county and both are following CDC guidelines and [are] in quarantine," Duhon wrote.

Harris County officials confirmed the second coronavirus-related death in the county March 29. The woman was between the ages of 50-60 and had underlying health issues. A test administered after her death determined the primary cause to be COVID-19, according to a press release.

This is an important reminder that COVID-19 is a very serious disease, especially for those at an increased risk of developing serious complications including death," officials wrote in the release. "At-risk individuals are strongly advised to minimize contact with others who are ill, and practice social distancing."

The city of Houston saw an increase in cases of 54, with cases rising from 232 on March 28 to 286 March 29. Houston has reported 3 recoveries as of March 29, while Harris County has reported 34.

Updated 6:25 p.m. March 28 Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed 163 new cases of COVID-19 at a press conference March 28, causing the total case count in the city to more than triple to 232 from the previous day's total of 69. David Persse, health authority for the Houston Health Department, said the spike in cases can be attributed to multiple reports of positive cases being reconciled by city health officials at once.

"We may get a report from a lab saying that Mr. X is a positive result, and then we'll also get a report from their doctor because they're both required to report," Persse said. "We've spent the last couple of days reconciling those so that we only report Mr. X one time ... so that's why there's been a little bit of a lag."

Another death has been reported in connection to the disease as well, Turner said, bringing the total coronavirus related deaths to two. The woman, who was in her 70s, had several underlying health conditions, officials said.

Harris County also reported 53 new cases outside of the city of Houston, bringing the total count to 213.

Updated 7 p.m. March 27 Total cases of COVID-19 topped 500 in the Greater Houston area March 27, a day that also involved the first report of a coronavirus-related death in Fort Bend County.

The resident was a woman in her 70s with pre-existing medical conditions, according to a press release from Fort Bend County Health & Human Services. She died at a local hospital March 25, and test results that came in March 27 confirmed her to be a COVID-19 case.

“This is a tragic and sad outcome for this family and our community," said Dr. Jacquelyn Minter, local health authority and HHS director in Fort Bend County, in a statement. "Today we face a historic public health event affecting not only Fort Bend County but communities around the globe. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the patient’s family and friends.”

Total cases in the Greater Houston area increased from 441 to 515. Cases in Harris County, including the city of Houston, have increased from 78 on March 23 to 229 on March 27.

Updated 6 p.m. March 26

Officials with the Houston Health Department reported the first coronavirus-related death in the city of Houston March 26. The resident was a woman between the ages of 60-70 with several underlying health conditions. Officials said she died March at a local hospital and was not known to be infected with the coronavirus at the time, a fact that would later be revealed by an autopsy on March 26.

Coronavirus deaths have also been confirmed in Harris County outside of the city of Houston and in Matagorda County.

The total number of cases in Fort Bend County jumped by 32, increasing from 54 to 86. The number of recoveries in the county also increased from five to eight.

The number of cases continues to increase across the largest counties in the Greater Houston area. Harris County saw 16 new cases, Montgomery County saw 10 new cases, Galveston County saw 13 new cases and Brazoria County saw six new cases.

Updated 5:50 p.m. March 25

The rate at which coronavirus cases are being confirmed in Harris County has started to pick up following the opening of two testing clinics at the start of the week.

The Harris County Public Health Department confirmed 40 new cases on March 25 across a variety of ages, including 10 cases in their 40s, eight cases in their 30s, seven cases in their 50s, six cases in their 20s, five cases in their 60s and four cases in their 70s. The total number of cases in Harris County, not including cases in the city of Houston, is now at 119 after starting the work week at 51.

The new cases were split evenly between men and women. A total of 15 of them were determined to have been caused by community spread, but the origin of another 16 cases was still to be determined as of 6 p.m.

So far, only one coronavirus-related death has been reported in Harris County—a man in his 80s who died March 19. A total of 13 patients have recovered.

The city of Houston reported 11 new cases March 25, bringing the total to 66. Fort Bend County reported another eight cases, bringing the total to 54.

Updated 5:45 p.m. March 24

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city of Houston more than doubled March 24 from 24 to 55. Details are pending on the new cases—which were announced on the city's health department website—as of 5:45 p.m. March 24.

The overall number of cases in the Greater Houston area increased to 252 as another 25 new cases were announced in Harris County, and 10 new cases were announced in Brazoria County. The majority of new Harris County cases were confirmed to have been caused by community spread.

Meanwhile, a case of coronavirus at a Brookshire Amazon facility was determined to not be a resident of Waller County or Katy, County Judge Trey Duhon announced in a Facebook post.

"Waller County has not received any information that we have a confirmed case in Waller County," Duhon said in a 5 p.m. post. "That could still change at any time."

  • Harris County: 79

  • City of Houston: 55

  • Montgomery County: 23

  • Brazoria County: 28

  • Galveston County: 21

  • Fort Bend County: 46

Updated 1:50 p.m. March 24

The first case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, was detected in Waller County, officials announced March 24. The individual has been identified as an employee of Amazon who worked as a member of the management team in the Katy area. The employee is receiving medical care and is in quarantine, and Amazon officials said they are asking anyone who had close contact with the person to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Fort Bend County officials announced 13 new cases March 24, bringing the total count to 42. The Fort Bend County Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement on Twitter around 6 p.m. March 23.

"While it's a big number, it doesn't mean that 13 new cases appeared overnight," officials wrote. "It just happens that we got a big amount reported to us by labs at the same time."

The number of cases in the city of Houston also increased by one. The newest case, a female in her 20s, is at home recovering and is not known to have traveled.

  • Harris County: 54

  • City of Houston: 24

  • Montgomery County: 19

  • Brazoria County: 18

  • Galveston County: 18

  • Fort Bend County: 42

  • Waller County: 0

Posted 5:41 p.m. March 23

The Montgomery County Public Health District confirmed four new cases of COVID-19 coronavirus March 23, bringing the total in the county to 19 and the total in the Greater Houston area to 161.

The new cases include a female teenager between the ages of 13-19 who recently traveled to New Orleans and a female in her 20s, which is believed to be a case of community spread. The other two cases were both men in their 50s who recently traveled domestically. All four individuals are in isolation in their homes.

In addition to Montgomery County, Harris County reported three new cases in the unincorporated part of the county, Galveston County reported one new case and Brazoria County reported two new cases. There are still zero cases in Waller County as of 5:30 p.m. March 23.

  • Harris County: 54

  • City of Houston: 23

  • Montgomery County: 19

  • Brazoria County: 18

  • Galveston County: 18

  • Fort Bend County: 29

Harris County officials opened two drive-thru coronavirus testing locations March 23, and the city of Houston opened its own site March 20. All three sites are free to members of the general public who are showing symptoms and who fill out a screening survey. More than 500 people were tested at the city of Houston site during its first three days of operation.

Find previous updates on cases of COVID-19 in the Greater Houston area here.
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.