A total of 1,438 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 deaths caused by the virus were confirmed in Harris County on Aug. 4.
The Houston Health Department confirmed 715 of those cases, while the Harris County Public Health Department, which covers the parts of the county outside of Houston, confirmed 723—the highest number of new cases yet confirmed in a single day in Harris County outside of the city.
The testing positivity rate in the city of Houston has fallen to 17.6% as of July 31, down from 23.3% on July 24. In Texas Medical Center hospitals, the positivity rate was at 14% as of Aug. 2, down from 18% on July 26.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has previously cited a positivity rate above 10% as cause for alarm, while the World Health Organization said positivity rates should be under 5% for at least 14 days for the virus spread to be considered under control.
In an Aug. 4 press conference, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo warned that a sustained increase in the number of new cases confirmed each day would lead to increases in hospitalizations in the future.
"Hospitalizations have begun to come down very slowly but are still at an incredibly high level, and ... we expect these high cases will likely lead to an additional increase in hospitalizations," she said.
The number of COVID-19 patients in Harris County's general wards increased to 1,206 on Aug. 4, up from 1,076 on Aug. 3 but down from 1,551 one week prior, July 28. In intensive care units, the number of patients with COVID-19 dropped to 599, down from 653 a week ago.
An estimated 37.9% of ICU patients are COVID-19 positive, according to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council. Hidalgo said the county is aiming to lower that number to 15% at most.