HOUSTON - A new Coronavirus COVID-19 model predicts a dramatic increase in positive Coronavirus cases in Harris County.
Researcher at PolicyLab from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia released the new model this week. According to PolicyLab researchers, Harris County will increase from roughly 1,000 new COVID-19 test results per day currently, to more than 4,000 new cases per day by mid-July.
“The model incorporates population density, the weather, humidity, and social distancing,” said Dr. Jeffrey Morris from PolicyLab. “Also, the testing positivity rate. All of those factors sort of work together.”
While the amount of testing has increased recently across the area, we asked Dr. Morris if this is a contributing factor to rising COVID-19 numbers and models.
“What we’re seeing here is something far faster than an increase in testing,” said Dr. Morris. “The testing positivity rate has gone from 4 percent, 2 or 3 weeks ago, up to 14 percent. Which means 14 percent of the tests given are giving positive results [in Harris County]. That shows it’s a real surge.”
According to CEOs from 4 major Houston hospitals, there’s enough hospital beds right now in the area for patients in need.
“There’s a level of alarm in the community that is unwarranted right now,” said Dr. Marc Boom, CEO from Houston Methodist Hospital. “We do have the capacity to care for many more patients and have lots of fluidity and ability to manage.”
According to PolicyLab predictions, if their new model becomes reality it would possibly cause a strenuous situation on area hospitals.
“If this surge continues a few more weeks, and doesn’t slow down, I think the hospitals at that point would get overwhelmed,” said Dr. Morris.
Sources tell FOX 26 medical supplies are now being stored inside NRG Arena, with plans to build a 150-bed hospital shelter if needed. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s office confirms and says the could construct the facility within 1-2 days if needed.
“The key is to figure out what are the basic precautions that are not too difficult to follow, and manage the virus in a sustainable way that doesn’t interfere so much with our everyday lives,” said Dr. Morris.