A total of 928 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Harris County Aug. 18 as well as nine deaths caused by the virus.
It was the first day fewer than 10 new deaths were confirmed in the county since Aug. 8 and only the third time such an occurrence had taken place since the start of the month.
Three days into the new week, the county also appears on track to see a drop in weekly new case totals. The number of new cases confirmed between Aug. 9-15 was 7,098, which was down from 9,716 confirmed between Aug. 2-8. So far this week, 2,174 new cases have been confirmed, an average of 725 per day over the three-day period.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Harris County intensive care units have been holding steady for the past four days in the 430-440 range, but are down from one week ago when they were in the low 500s, according to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council.
As of the most recent data Aug. 17, the testing positivity rate in Texas Medical Center hospitals was about the same as last week—around 8.6%—and still slightly higher than the target rate of less than 5%.
The effective reproduction rate—or the rate of how many new people on average are being infected by each person with the coronavirus—was below 1 for the eighth straight day in Harris County. TMC officials said a rate below 1 indicates the virus spread is slowing, and keeping that number below 1 for two straight weeks is one of the key factors in demonstrating community control of the virus. The other factors involve keeping the testing positivity rate in TMC hospitals below 5% for two weeks and keeping the number of new daily cases in the Greater Houston area below 200 for two weeks.
The total number of cases in the county now stands at 93,872, with 28,074 active cases, 64,723 recovered cases and 1,073 deaths.