COVID-19 cases in the Houston area dropped to their lowest number since mid-December, the time when the omicron variant began spreading in the area, according to the latest data from health officials.
Houston and Harris County health officials are maintaining the level 1 threat, urging those who are not fully vaccinated to stay home.
“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,” local health officials wrote.
The COVID-19 data hub shows that there are 77,304 active cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, February 14, 2022, and there have been a total of 7,089 deaths.
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Here’s what you need to know:
Transmission Rates, Hospital Stays & Coronavirus Case Numbers All Show Decline in Latest Data
The latest data from the Texas Medical Center shows that new COVID-19 cases dropped to their lowest level since mid-December. The data, released Monday, February 14, 2022, shows that new cases are approximately equal to the levels of new cases before the omicron variant began spreading around Houston.
Each day last week, about 2,300 people tested positive for COVID-19. This number was about 40% lower than the previous week, which also showed a waning caseload.
Transmission rates also continued to decline, falling for the fourth week in a row to 0.67%. Transmission rates indicate how likely an infected person is to spread the virus, and this number indicates that each infected person spreads the virus to one person or less.
Another key metric studied is hospital admissions. About 200 people were admitted to the hospital as new COVID-19 patients daily last week, which was about half of the new patient coronavirus admissions this time in January.
Many Texans Are Vaccine Hesitant & Public Health Officials Are Offering Incentives
Data on vaccine hesitancy indicates that many Texans are declining the COVID-19 vaccine, while health officials are offering incentives to receive the vaccine. Patch reported that about 23.8 million Americans age 18 and older, or about 9.6% of the adult population, will either probably or definitely not get the vaccine. They cited reasons including possible side effects, waiting to see if it is safe, or difficulty obtaining the vaccine.
Patch reported that more people are refusing the vaccine in Texas.
“In Texas, an estimated 1,755,800 adults, or 8.2%, say they will likely refuse the vaccine. Of all adults in the state, 4.8% will refuse because they do not trust the COVID-19 vaccine specifically, 2.7% because they do not think COVID-19 is a big threat, and 4.3% because they distrust the government,” Patch reported. “Perhaps due in part to pockets of resistance, Texas is struggling to vaccinate its population rapidly. So far, 59.9% of Texas’s population are fully vaccinated, compared to 65.2% of all Americans.”
Health officials in Texas are offering incentives in hopes of getting more Texans vaxxed. They announced January 26, 2022, that everyone who receives a vaccine or a booster shot between January 29, 2022, and March 10, 2022, will be entered into a drawing to receive a gift card. There will be 12 $1,000 gift cards distributed and “hundreds of additional people” will receive a $50 gift card, the announcement said.