The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Harris County jumped by 1,994 June 22—this single largest daily increase by a wide margin—as officials said the state continues to work through a backlog of cases conducted earlier in June.
The 1,994 new cases come after more than 1,100 new cases were confirmed on back-to-back days June 19 and June 20.
In the city of Houston, where 1,789 of the new cases were confirmed, 86% of the tests were conducted between June 9-17 and 88% of the result dates came from June 10-15.
... *This is a two-day cumulative total because the health department does not report on Sundays. Of theses cases, 86% of the tests were conducted June 9- 17 with 88% of the result dates of June 10-15.
— Houston Health Dept (@HoustonHealth) June 22, 2020
The total number of confirmed cases in Harris County now stands at 23,047 with 14,313 cases considered active and 8,402 confirmed to have recovered. Seven COVID-19 deaths were confirmed June 22, bringing the death count to 332 in Harris County.
Testing in Harris County has also surged in mid-June, according to data being tracked by the Texas Department of State Health Services. A total of 40,372 tests were conducted between June 15-21 as compared to 12,733 between June June 9-15. Because testing totals include both PCR swab tests and antibody tests, it is not immediately clear what percentage of recent tests have been coming back positive in Harris County.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner both gave press conferences June 22 to discuss the rapid increase in cases and hospitalizations that have been seen both statewide and in Houston over the past few weeks. Abbott said the testing positivity rate in Texas is at nearly 9%—up from about 4.5% in late May.
Meanwhile, the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Harris County hit a record high June 21, according to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council. A total of 957 suspected and confirmed patients were in general ward beds on June 21 while 381 patients were in intensive care unit beds. Those numbers are up from 628 patients in the general ward and 260 patients in the ICU on June 14.
At Turner's press conference, Dr. David Persse, the Houston Health Department’s medical director, said suburban hospitals have been filling up quicker than those located within the city. Patients at overcapacity hospitals could be shifted to facilities with open beds in the near future, he said.