The number of new cases of COVID-19 continues to decline in Houston and the surrounding area, according to the latest data from public health officials.
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Here’s what you need to know:
Active COVID-19 Cases Dropped By Almost 30% in the Last Week
The COVID-19 data hub shows 59,769 active cases of COVID-19 in the area as of Monday, February 21, 2022, and a total of 7,156 deaths. Last week, there were 77,304 active cases of COVID-19, so the active case number decreased by 17,535, or 29%.
Health officials maintained a level 1 security threat, saying those who are not fully vaccinated should avoid all gatherings.
The description says:
Level 1 signifies a severe and uncontrolled level of COVID-19 in Harris County, meaning outbreaks are present and worsening, and public health capacity is strained or exceeded. At this level, unvaccinated residents should take action to minimize contact with others wherever possible. Unvaccinated individuals should continue to mask, physically distance, and avoid all gatherings. Vaccinated individuals should follow the latest local public health guidance on whether to also wear a mask while indoors in public places, in crowded outdoor settings, and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
There have been 7,015,948 vaccines administered in the area with 3,373,018 residents partially vaccinated and 2,899,845 fully vaccinated, the data shows. The Houston Department of Public Health released its latest information on vaccination sites open this week. Many of them offer incentives, including eligibility for gift card drawings up to $1,000. For the most up-to-date information, call 832-393-4220.
‘The Background of the Front Lines:’ A Young Team Tracks New COVID Variants in Houston
A young team operating through Texas Medical Center was the first to detect the omicron variant, and they work long hours above their requirements because their work matters to them, they told KHOU 11. For each Houston Methodist patient that tests positive for COVID-19, a sample is sent to the biosafety lab for further testing to determine what variant the patient has, the article said.
“We’re the background. Most people don’t really know what we do,” Jessica Cambric told KHOU 11.
At 23, the biochemist wanted to get involved after her uncle died from COVID-19. KHOU 11 reported 10 people form a team in the genome sequencing lab, and most are recent graduates. They told the news outlet they often work 12 hours a day and six days a week during surges of cases.
“We’re never asked to work more than what we were hired to do, but we choose to come on the weekend and choose to work long hours, because we know how it impacts patient care,” Kristina Reppond told KHOU 11.
That work helps doctors predict when a new variant is on the rise.
At the height of omicron, the lab tested 1,200 samples in one day. When cases decline, fewer than 50 positive tests require processing per day, KHOU 11 reported.
“Luckily here, we still have fun, and we know we’re helping people. It’s something we very much look forward to,” Sindy Peña, 23, told the news outlet.