HOUSTON - In the same week, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the city reached its goal of a 5 percent positivity rate for COVID-19, the Texas Medical Center reports an uptick in hospitalizations.
Dr. Pedro Piedra with Baylor College of Medicine says for about the past 8 weeks, cases were on the decline and remained low.
However, he says, there are signs cases could continue in an upward trend.
"If this continues, for the next couple of weeks, it will suggest that we will be in for another wave, another round of this pandemic," Dr. Piedra noted.
LEONARDTOWN, MARYLAND - MAY 01: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) A member of the dialysis prepares to treat a patient with coronavirus in the intensive care unit at a hospital on May 1, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland. The coronavirus death toll in D.C., Virginia
On Wednesday, the Texas Medical Center reporting a slight increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
On Tuesday, the Texas Medical Center admitted 115 new COVID-19 patients. Last week, there was an average of 86 new hospitalizations per day last week. Last month, it was an average of 78 per day.
"Initially, it's gradual and then it picks up rapidly," Dr. Piedra added.
Also concerning Dr. Piedra is the increase in the effective reproduction rate R(t).
Last week, TMC reports it was 0.98, and this week, it is 1.04 in the Greater Houston area. "It basically says that one individual that is infected will infect another," he explained. Earlier this week, the City of Houston reported the positivity rate was down to 5 percent.
"We have done a really terrific job of bringing the positivity rate way, way down. And, that's because of things we did as individuals more so than anything else," said Dr. David Persse, Chief Medical Officer with the Houston Health Department.
He suggests the 5 percent positivity rate should encourage the public to continue to be vigilant especially as we continue into flu season. If not, he says, the virus will continue to spread rapidly again.
"We need to keep pushing hard," Dr. Persse said. "I remind folks, New York City got it down to less than 1 percent. And, so, I challenge Houstonians. If New York City can get it down to less than 1 percent than Houstonians can get it down to less than 1 percent."