The 14-day average—which steadily rose from 13.1% on Dec. 18 to 15% on Dec. 28—had jumped to 16.5% by Dec. 31, according to county data. The upward swing took place after six straight days of testing positivity coming in at more than 19%, a trend that has not been seen in Harris County since July.
Due to a data lag, testing positivity rates for individual days are dynamic and may be adjusted as additional test results are recorded. The 14-day average has been on the rise in Harris County since hitting a low point of just over 5% in early October. By the start of December, the 14-day average had reached 9.4% in the county.
Another 2,758 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Harris County on Jan. 7, including 1,586 new cases in the city of Houston and 1,172 in Harris County outside of the city. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the county increased by 13, hitting 2,680 since the pandemic began.
A total of 2,139 COVID-19 patients were in Harris County hospitals as of Jan. 7, according to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council. The patient count in general wards was at 1,621, up from 1,391 on Dec. 31 Meanwhile, the patient count in intensive care units hit 518, up from 464 on Dec. 31.
Base ICU occupancy in Texas Medical Center hospitals remained completely full as of Jan. 6, with just over 100 beds filled of the 373 beds in the initial round of surge capacity. Hospitals have been instructed to stop performing elective surgeries as a part of new state guidelines that went into effect Jan. 5. Those restrictions will stay in effect until there have been seven consecutive days of hospitalizations under 15% in the trauma service area that includes Harris County.
Total cases in the county now stand at 253,612, including 35,650 active cases, 215,265 recovered cases and 2,680 deaths.