HOUSTON — What a difference a month can make.
New daily COVID-19 cases have doubled, tripled or more in that time for several Houston-area counties, according to a KHOU 11 analysis of data reported by local public health agencies.
Several public health officials expressed disappointment that -- despite ad nauseum messaging of mask wearing, social distancing and not gathering indoors -- many people still refuse to act.
“It’s absolutely frustrating,” said Dr. Charles Sims, executive director of the Montgomery County Public Health District.
“I think there’s a lot of pandemic weariness going on,” added Cathy Sbrusch, director of public health services for the Brazoria County Health Department.
“We’re seeing a lot of COVID fatigue, and with that COVID fatigue, people are cutting corners,” said Dr. Phillip Keiser, Galveston County’s local health authority.
The corners cut have made for a sharp spike in coronavirus daily case counts. In Brazoria County one month ago, the 7-day moving average was 64. That has now more than doubled to 156 average daily new cases.
Galveston County has also more than doubled with 127 average daily cases, up from 57 a month ago. In comparison, Harris County saw a more modest one-month jump of 66 percent, from 716 average daily new cases to 1,189.
“We are concerned. We’ve been predicting this is going to be a difficult time of the year,” Brazoria County’s Sbrusch said.
“If you just kind of project those numbers forward, if we don’t start to flatten that, it’s going to be really bad after Christmas," Galveston County’s Keiser added.
The spike is even higher in Montgomery County where the 73 daily case average a month ago has more than tripled to 229.
“Unfortunately, our county has not been the best for following the guidelines and wearing masks, and I hope this is a wake-up call to them,” Sims said. “There’s no excuse...it’s a conscious decision. There’s no reason why you can’t do it."
The biggest increase, by far, is in Fort Bend County, where health officials called the increase “widespread and uncontrolled transmission,” on Thursday. The moving daily case average was 63 a month ago, and now at 621, is nearly 10 times higher.
As Christmas approaches and the COVID-19 vaccine nears, health officials said the bottom line is we all know what needs to be done.
So just do it.
“Be careful,” Galveston County’s Keiser said. “I mean, that’s the most important thing we can tell people--please, please be careful.”