The COVID-19 death toll in Harris County increased again Aug. 12 as another 26 deaths from the virus were confirmed by public health officials in the county and in the city of Houston. The death toll now stands at 951 in the county with 146 deaths confirmed over the past seven days, the highest total so far.
However, the seven-day average for the number of new cases confirmed per day in Harris County consistently dropped over the past week from an average of 1,684 per day Aug. 5 to just under 1,083 per day on Aug. 12, according to a Community Impact Newspaper analysis. A total of 989 new cases were confirmed Aug 12.
The number of new deaths confirmed per day is considered by public health officials to be a lagging indicator, as it can take several weeks after a person is infected with the coronavirus for a person to die from the virus. Of the 12 deaths confirmed in the city of Houston Aug. 12, the actual dates of each death spanned from late June to late July.
We report 431 new cases of #COVID19 today, bringing #Houston’s total to 55,940. Sadly, we add 12 newly-reported deaths, bringing the city’s total to 585. (1/2)#hounews #BetterTogether #WashHands #WearMask #MaskUpHou #SocialDistance #GetTested #StopTheSpread #ProtectTheH pic.twitter.com/QYL9UlgLgr
— Houston Health Dept (@HoustonHealth) August 12, 2020
The number of patients in Harris County hospitals with COVID-19 remained flat Aug. 12 in both general beds and intensive care units. Base ICU occupancy in Texas Medical Center hospitals was at around 98% on Aug. 12, the second day in a row occupancy was below 100%.
ICUs in TMC hospitals were completely full for much of July and August, causing hospitals to turn to surge capacity—roughly 880 additional beds that can be activated by converting general ward rooms and other rooms into temporary ICUs.
TMC officials also announced a new metric—the effective reproduction rate—to gauge how effectively the spread of the virus is being controlled in Harris County. The rate measures the average number of people who are being infected by each infected person in the county. If the rate stays below one for 14 days, community control has been sustained. As of Aug. 12, the rate has been below one for two consecutive days.