Several coronavirus metrics tracked by Texas Medical Center—intensive care unit patients, daily patients being hospitalized and the positivity rate, among others—are all on the rise with no signs of slowing down.
Between Aug. 2 and Aug. 8, the number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations seen on any day during the week was on average 320 patients, the medical center reported Aug. 9 on its daily data dashboard. That is a 30% increase over what the medical center reported Aug. 2, when daily cases averaged 246 new cases across its hospital systems, which span CHI Texas Division, Harris Health System, Houston Methodist, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Hermann and UT Health in Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties. Of those, it is estimated between 85%-90% of these patients are unvaccinated, said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer and local health authority for the city of Houston, during an Aug. 5 Harris County news conference.
In total, TMC hospitals reported nearly 2,000 COVID-19 patients, 42% more than the 1,412 patients seen last week. Of those, 415 patients are on ventilators in the ICU, up compared to the 310 seen last week.
As a result, nearly 1,500 total ICU beds are now occupied, which has pushed Texas Medical Center hospitals into surge levels, defined as usage above a 1,330 bed threshold that marks normal levels.
The surge in cases also comes as about 66% of eligible residents in Harris County have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to Aug. 9 Harris County Public Health data.
“It is time for Houston and its residents to act quickly and decisively to address the serious COVID-19 risk resulting from the spread of the delta variant,” TMC President and CEO William F. McKeon said in an Aug. 9 COVID report. “The impact of unvaccinated individuals is widespread and encouraging the continued spread of COVID-19. TMC urges all Houstonians who are able to get a vaccine to do so.”
Meanwhile, the current positivity rate now sits at 13.6% at the TMC, up from 13% a week ago, 11.5% two weeks ago and 9.1% three weeks ago, according to the Texas Medical Center data.
In the same nine-county area that makes up TMC hospitals, coronavirus case numbers continue their rise. Last week, over 3,300 new cases were reported, up from nearly 2,300 the week before and close to 1,100 the week before that.