HOUSTON — On the last day of August, Houston has reason to feel better, but not complacent. Weeks ago, the COVID-19 positivity rate was a record 23%. Now it's down to 7.8%.
"The goal that I announced a month ago was to be at 5% or below by the end of August," Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "We didn't quite make that, but we are at 7.8%, so it is showing progress that we are moving in the right direction."
Statewide, there are also encouraging signs with 2,374 new COVID-19 cases reported. Texas hasn't seen a one-day total that low since June 15.
At the Texas Medical Center, COVID-19 hospitalizations also continue declining, but across the greater Houston nine-county area, we're still seeing an average of more than 1,000 daily new cases. For perspective, the Med Center says the virus is truly controlled when we see less than 200 new cases for 14 straight days.
"We have a ways to go," said infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Hotez.
There are significant red flags in Fort Bend County. The latest numbers show a spike in young adults with COVID-19. 18 to 29-year-olds now make up 20% of all infections in Fort Bend County. Children infected under the age of 17 also up to about 1,400 infections. That's nearly 10% of the county's nearly 15,000 cases.
It mirrors a national rise in infections among children. Hotez said opening schools in this environment still not safe.
"We're still at a rate where we can't enjoy a good quality of life," said Hotez. "We still have a screaming level of transmission."
And with Labor Day just a week ago, Turner urged Houstonians to not let their guard down.
"The virus is still looking for you," Turner said. "If you come together, you will give it a home."