Coronavirus count: Harris County confirms 363 new cases over the weekend

Total coronavirus cases in the Greater Houston area continue to rise. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Total coronavirus cases in the Greater Houston area continue to rise. (Community Impact Newspaper)

Total coronavirus cases in the Greater Houston area continue to rise. (Community Impact Newspaper)

Editor's note: This post will be updated once daily with new information on coronavirus cases in the Greater Houston area.

Updated 6 p.m. April 19

Harris County officials confirmed 363 new cases of COVID-19 over the April 18-19 weekend, including 251 in the city of Houston and 112 in the rest of the county.

Total cases are nearing 5,000 in the county, including 3,661 cases that are still active. Another 1,087 cases have recovered while 75 people have died, as of April 19.

Active cases largely held steady in Galveston, Montgomery and Brazoria counties over the weekend, which confirmed 34, seven and 13 new cases, respectively. Fort Bend County confirmed another 88 cases over the weekend.

Updated 6:30 p.m. April 17

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo gave a press conference April 17 where she said the curve of new cases appears to be flattening in Harris County, but the peak in cases still lies ahead.

"There are encouraging signs that the rate at which new cases are cropping up is slowing," she said. "We are in no means out of the woods on this. We don't know and we won't know we hit the peak until we are coming back down, and right now, it is not clear that we are coming down."

Hidalgo, who hosted the press conference several hours after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced his plans to begin reopening the Texas economy, said a crucial element of when Harris County will reopen involves testing—making it more universal throughout the county and faster in terms of the turnaround time.

Active cases in Harris County, outside of the city of Houston, decreased from 1,238 on April 16 to 1,204 on April 17, the first recorded decrease from one day to the next since the pandemic took hold. However, active cases increased by nearly 100 in the city of Houston over that time.

Elsewhere, Brazoria County saw the total number of recovered cases—154—surpass the total number of active cases—145—for the first time.

Across Houston's five largest counties, active cases increased by 111, recoveries increased by 132 and deaths increased by seven.

Updated 7:30 p.m. April 16

Active cases of COVID-19—the number of cases after removing recoveries and deaths from the count—increased by more than 200 in the Greater Houston area April 16, according to daily updates from Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston, Montgomery and Brazoria counties.

The number of active cases in the city of Houston rose by 102 between April 15 and April 16, while Fort Bend County active cases increased by 64.

At the same time, the Texas Medical Center reported a 7% week-over-week drop in the number of COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized across the Greater Houston Area. The TMC has been providing daily updates on hospitalizations at member institutions—including St. Luke’s, Harris Health System, Houston Methodist, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Hermann, and Texas Children’s Hospital—across nine Houston-area counties.

Total cases in the city of Houston climbed to 2,456 on April 16 after 125 new cases were confirmed.

Recoveries across Houston's five largest counties increased by 82, and six more coronavirus-related deaths were confirmed.

Updated 7:20 p.m. April 15

As active cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the Greater Houston area, the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council reported an increase in occupied ICU beds April 14.

In Harris County, occupied ICU beds hit 1,345, the highest amount of occupied beds since the data was released April 5. Total occupational ICU beds in the county are estimated at 1,490, though another 300 or so exist in surge capacity, according to SETRAC data. The previous high was April 6, when 1,313 beds were occupied.

Ventilator use in Harris County remains at less than half of capacity. As of April 14, 512 of the 1,249 adult ventilators were in use and 121 of the 344 pediatric ventilators were in use, according to SETRAC.

Total confirmed cases in Harris County, including the city of Houston, increased by another 190 people April 15 up to 4,097. Active cases across Houston's five most populous counties increased by 85 to 4,362, but data also shows an increase in recoveries, which went up by 160 to 1,227.

Updated 6:45 p.m. April 14

The number of individuals who have died from COVID-19 in the Greater Houston area increased by 10 on April 14, with the bulk of newly confirmed deaths coming from the city of Houston.

Five new deaths were reported in Houston, two were reported in Fort Bend County, and one each were reported in unincorporated Harris County, Brazoria County and Galveston County. The death toll in Houston's five largest counties is now 84.

Total recoveries in the Greater Houston area have surpassed 1,000, while active cases continue to trend upward, reaching 4,277 on April 14.

April 14 also marked the first day the Houston Health Department has begun operating under expanded coronavirus testing procedures that allow any resident who wants a test to get one, as opposed to only testing people showing symptoms. Houston residents still must call ahead to arrange a test.

More information about how to arrange a test in each of the counties making up the Greater Houston area can be found here.

Posted 7:15 p.m. April 13

A new round of test results in Harris County shows a significant increase in positive cases among inmates and county employees at the Harris County Jail.

Results reported April 13 indicated 63 employees at the jail have tested positive, up from 20 positive cases reported April 7. The number of inmates who have tested positive increased from three on April 7 to 46 on April 13. All inmates who tested positive were previously being quarantined because they were showing symptoms, county officials said in a press release.

"The Sheriff’s Office is working with Harris County Public Health to identify co-workers, inmates, and members of the public who may have had close contact with the diagnosed employees so they can take necessary precautions, including quarantine and testing for those with symptoms," officials wrote in the statement.

Harris County and the city of Houston are also looking to expand testing capabilities. Two mobile testing sites run by Harris County will begin testing individuals showing symptoms at various places in the county starting April 14. More information on where and when testing will be available can be found here.

The city of Houston announced its two drive-thru testing sites will begin testing anyone who wants to be tested April 14 as opposed to only testing people showing symptoms. The testing capacity at each site will also double from 250 people per day to 500 people per day.

In the Houston area's five largest counties—Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston, Montgomery and Brazoria—the total number of active cases increased by 153 over the weekend. Recoveries increased by 215, and deaths increased by 11.

In Harris County, roughly 1,294 of the county's 1,490 intensive care unit beds were in use as of April 12. Another 3,000 ICU beds exist in surge capacity, according to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council.

Previous reporting on coronavirus cases can be found 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.


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