Houston Coronavirus Outbreak
The number of people who have died in the Houston coronavirus outbreak is up, and it's growing fast. The latest count is now 1,199. However, the total toll could be much higher. Some of the sudden deaths have been unidentified, while others had serious underlying medical problems. This trend is worrying, and it could lead to more cases. Houston Coronavirus
According to Houston Health Department officials, a new COVID-19 variant is spreading quickly. They've already seen an increase in the number of cardiac arrests in hospitals. In addition, some patients have died suddenly at home. Although it's not yet confirmed, this appears to be tied to the epidemic.
Texas is now the third most-hit state in the country, after California and New York. Its coronavirus case count has increased by nearly 2,000, from 29,000 to 480,400, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. One of the main reasons for the increase is the newly-detected XBB.1.5 COVID-19 subvariant.
An estimated 40 percent of current cases in the US are caused by the XBB.1.5 COVID-19 strain. This new variant was first detected on the East Coast in late October, and it has gained traction since December. But health officials don't believe it's as deadly as previous strains.
As the virus continues to spread, it's becoming more difficult for hospitals to accommodate patients. In fact, the ICU capacity at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital is at 113%. That's why the hospital is scrambling to hire additional staff and provide extra space.
Harris County is the top region in the state for coronavirus cases, and it's the place where the coronavirus crisis has reached its worst level. Since the start of the pandemic, the Harris County COVID-19 case count has increased by 535. And the number of COVID-19-positive tests is also increasing. Now, the county has a positivity rate of 6.41 percent.
While some of the sudden at-home deaths have been traced to people who have underlying health issues, others were caused by the epidemic. These people were not able to make it to the hospital, but they were not tested. Because of news reports about the overcrowded hospitals in the area, some of them delayed seeking medical care. Others never noticed that they were sick and never sought treatment.
A new report shows that Houston's coronavirus test positivity rate is slowly going down, but that it's still very active. For example, the average positivity rate for the entire week of July 31 was 17 percent, down from 23 percent on July 24. Despite the decrease in positivity, the weekly average is still above five percent, which the World Health Organization calls an uncontrolled outbreak.
Harris County is the biggest area in the country with the highest coronavirus caseload. The county has already received about a quarter of its total doses of vaccine. Four health centers administered 4,297 doses, while Minute Maid vaccinated 3,600 people. Meanwhile, the city of Houston has provided access to free COVID-19 vaccinations to local businesses.