Houston COVID-19 Report: Harris County Coronavirus Update [1/17/22]

houston covid

Getty Xpress Covid Testing medical assistant Sandra Cargill, 61, administers a COVID-19 test to a patient on January 08, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

Houston‘s COVID-19 data shows that cases of the coronavirus due to the omicron variant may have reached a peak as mitigation efforts continue.

The threat level remains at Level 1: Severe Threat, with health officials urging those who are not fully vaccinated to stay home. Houston and Harris County public health officials raised the threat level to severe last week as the omicron variant surged. The COVID-19 data hub shows there are 155,722 active cases of COVID-19 in the area as of Monday, January 17, 2022, and a total of 6,836 deaths. There were 67,491 new cases of the coronavirus reported in the last week and 35 new deaths. In the previous weeklong period, cases of COVID-19 increased by more than double.

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Here’s what you need to know:

COVID-19 Case Numbers Are ‘Starting to Move in the Right Direction,’ Said a Houston Doctor

While cases of the coronavirus are still high in the Houston area and throughout the country, doctors told KHOU 11 that the end of the wave may be drawing near, pointing toward data from wastewater testing.

“The numbers are in fact starting to move in the right direction,” Dr. David Persse of the Houston Health Department told KHOU 11. “Our earliest indicator is of course the wastewater.”

The most recently analyzed wastewater sample was collected January 3, and last week’s sample is being analyzed now, the news outlet reported. Persse said hospitalizations at some hospitals have “leveled off,” while others have even seen a small decrease in the number of patients.

A few more days of data is necessary to confirm the trend, Persse told the news outlet. He emphasized the necessity of staying on course with mitigation efforts so that the numbers continue to improve.

“The virus finds it more difficult to spread for a reason, because we change what we’re doing. It makes it more difficult for the virus. That’s what makes the curve change,” Persse told KHOU 11. “Now that it’s changing, we don’t need to stop doing what we’re doing. If we change, they’ll start going up again.”

The 7-day trend of cases and the seven-day trend of positivity rates declined, according to the latest data from The Texas Medical Center’s COVID-19 dashboard.

KHOU 11 reported that there were about 900 COVID-19 patients at Memorial Hermann Hospital, which was equivalent to the peak in cases of the delta variant.

Dr. Annamaria Macaluso Davidson told KHOU 11 that the area has either reached the peak of cases, or the peak is coming soon.

“I don’t know if we’ve hit it. I know sometimes there’s a little bit of finagling, but I think we’re awfully close, if we haven’t hit it already,” she said.

Houston ISD Will Be Closed Tuesday to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19

The Houston Independent School District will be closed Tuesday, January 18, to help mitigate cases of COVID-19, the area’s largest school district announced in a blog post on Friday, January 14. The school district was closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and students and received an extra day off due to the spread in coronavirus cases, calling the day an “Attendance Mitigation Day.”

Classes will resume on Wednesday, January 20, the post said. The school district asked that students and staff “take this extra day to mitigate potential exposure” and to follow recommendations of local health officials and the CDC. That guidance includes avoiding large gatherings, wearing a mask, social distancing and staying home while sick.

“At HISD, we will continue to follow our Ready, Set, Go protocols for the safety of our students and staff,” the post said. “We will continue to monitor the situation and send updates as necessary. Thank you for your continuing support, and please stay safe.”

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