COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Less than one month after surpassing 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, the U.S. hit yet another milestone. According to the Texas Medical Center organization, the U.S. exceeded 3 million cases in early July as positivity rates continue to surge throughout the country.
Houston is experiencing a similar trend. As of July 22, the City of Houston reports that 338 people have died from the novel coronavirus, and there are at least 30,979 active casesin the city right now. Daily new COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing, too. Currently, there are approximately 296 new hospitalizations due to COVID-19 happening each day, a drastic increase from where those numbers were at a month and a half ago (50); although, slightly down from two weeks ago (360).
However, it’s not all bad news. While positivity rates may be increasing, deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 (PIC) decreased from 9% during week 25 of the outbreak to 5.9% during week 26, representing 10-straight weeks of a declining percentage of deaths due to PIC, according to the CDC’s website. The daily number of tests performed has gone way up, too. The Texas Medical Center’s testing capacity has increased to 14,000 tests per day, which is about 2,000 more tests available than are needed (the daily number of tests performed in the Texas Medical Center is currently around 12,000 per day). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there are still plenty of hospital beds available for Houstonians.To putan exact number on it, there are more than 2,400 unused hospital beds in the Texas Medical Center alone without counting flex capacity.
Despite what you may have heard on the news or read in the paper, Houston-based hospitals have not -I repeat, they have not -exceeded their capacity. Patients are occupying only 81% of ICU beds in Houston as of July 22, and there is still room to grow. Further ICU capacity can become available, according to the Texas Medical Center, by converting Medical and Surgical beds into additional beds for the ICU. If you’re confused by this, take a look at the graph below. It will show you that we are nowhere near running out of hospital beds in Houston.
So, what’s the takeaway? Houston experienced a surge in the COVID-19 infection rate among the local population. However, the COVID-19 positive daily case growth trend has more or less stabilized, meaning the infection rate is leveling off and slowing down. That is not to say we have cause to celebrate, though. We must continue being vigilant, practicing social distancing and good hygiene, and staying away from large crowds if we are to overcome the current health crisis facing our community. And as always, Genesis Medical Group remains committed to the health and wellbeing of all of our patients; we appreciate your patronage.
Genesis Medical Group
Written by: Andrew A. Mendoza