A total of 693 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Harris County June 30, including 280 in the city of Houston and 413 in the rest of the county.
A total of 31,422 cases have now been confirmed in Harris County, including 20,343 that are considered active, 10,701 that are confirmed to have recovered and 378 that are confirmed to have died.
The 7-day average of new cases dropped to about 1,000 per day on June 30, down from a high point of 1,216 per day on June 26, but still substantially higher than where it was in mid-June when it was hovering in the 300s. The 7-day trend of testing positivity is 16%, according to the Texas Medical Center.
The number of COVID-19 patients in general ward hospitals in Harris County increased from 1,560 on June 29 to 1,630 on June 30, a new high mark. Over the same time, intensive care unit patients increased from 539 to 564.
ICU occupancy rates in the Texas Medical Center stayed at around 97% related to operational beds. Those beds are expected to be fully occupied by July 2 based on current trends, at which point officials will move into Phase 2, which involves unlocking another 373 ICU beds set up to be available for the duration of the pandemic. A third phase—which officials said would not be needed for at least two weeks based on current trends—would involve unlocking another 504 temporary surge ICU beds.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo addressed ICU occupancy at a June 30 meeting of the Harris County Commissioners Court. Phase 2 beds are activated through varying methods that could include having more patients per nurse and more beds per room, she said. Phase 3—previously called "unsustainable surge"—would require importing nurses from outside of the county, she said.
"That’s no way to run a society, that you’re doubling up, tripling up rooms, importing staff, taking beds for heart attacks and strokes and turning them into ICU beds," she said. "That’s not the goal. We need to not get there, which is why we really need people to stay home."