Daily new cases, hospitalizations and the testing positivity rate all continued to decline in Harris County over the past week, but public health officials warned the drop in cases may be due in part to Winter Storm Uri, which shut down county testing facilities for at least four days and delayed data reporting.

The total number of confirmed cases in Harris County hit 343,070 on Feb. 22, up from 338,274 one week ago Feb. 15, with new cases per day coming in at an average of 685 over the course of the week, according to data from the Harris County Public Health Department.

Daily new cases had been trending downward prior to Uri. The number of active cases in the county has fallen to 23,454, down from 48,782 at the start of February.

The total number of people with COVID-19 in Harris County hospitals was at 1,532 on Feb. 22, including 1,118 COVID-19 patients in general wards and 414 in intensive care units, according to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council. The general ward total is up slightly from 1,109 on Feb. 15, while the ICU total is down from 432.

The base capacity of 1,330 ICU beds in the Texas Medical Center remained fully occupied as of Feb. 21, with roughly 30% of those beds occupied by a COVID-19 patient. About 74 of the 373 beds in the first phase of surge capacity are occupied, according to TMC data.

The most recent data for testing positivity in Harris County shows that trend continuing downward as well. The 14-day average for testing positivity was around 13% as of Feb. 14, prior to any winter storm-related shutdowns of testing facilities. The testing positivity average is down from a recent high of 20% on Jan. 7 and down from 14.3% on Feb. 7.

The number of COVID-19-related deaths in Harris County hit 3,212 on Feb. 22, with roughly 262 COVID-19 deaths now confirmed in the county since the start of February.