One year after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Texas, the number of people who are now confirmed to have died from the virus in Harris County has reached 3,340, according to data from the Harris County Public Health Department. The number of deaths is up by 698 since Jan. 1, when the total was 2,642.

As of March 4, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Harris County hit 356,429, with 19,581 of those cases active and 333,490 recovered. The seven-day average for new cases has been on the rise this past week, hitting around 1,650 on March 4, up from around 770 on Feb. 25.

The 14-day average for testing positivity has also started creeping upward, hitting 13.6% as of the most recent data from Feb. 25. That average is up from a recent low of 12.1% on Feb. 18, according to public health records.

However, public health officials warned that some of the data collected during Winter Storm Uri—when the county's testing sites were shut down between Feb. 15-18—may be unreliable. The seven-day average for testing positivity for tests done by Texas Medical Center hospitals was at 6.2% March 4, down from 6.8% last week.

Unlike the rising daily case counts and testing positivity, the number of people with COVID-19 in Harris County hospitals continues to fall, according to data from the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council.

The number of people with COVID-19 in the county's general wards was down to 953 on March 4, the lowest it has been since mid-December—barring one other day in February when it fell to 950 before rising again. The number of patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units fell to 355, down from 379 one week ago.

Earlier this week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the end of the statewide mask mandate, though he encouraged Texans to continue to take the pandemic seriously and follow health protocols. Elements of the mandate and other restrictions could be brought back in certain areas if trends worsen, he said.

Public health officials in Harris County have urged residents to continue to wear masks.