HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — After two years, the Texas Medical Center announced they provided their final COVID-19 data update on the dashboard on Monday.
“With advancements in treatment and the successes in vaccination, we are now able to effectively manage with the virus in our community. On Monday, May 9, TMC will publish a final set of dashboards to conclude this collective effort. We thank all of the teams across the TMC member institutions who have been supplying this data for over two years,” TMC said on their website.
In the last data set, TMC reported an average of 645 new cases being reported daily during the week of May 2 compared to 377 the previous week. Daily hospitalizations were down to 59 cases from 62 the previous week.
“I don’t think that anyone is ready to raise the flag (saying) we have conquered. We are done. (Or) this is over.” Roberta Schwartz, who serves as the executive vice president of Houston Methodist Hospital, said. “What I would say to you is that we are in a lull right now. There aren’t a lot of people watching a dashboard when you are in a period of stable times.”
The combined positivity rate for Houston and Harris County is 5%.
“The reason that some of the efforts are being geared toward other things is that we are seeing lower severity of illness, lower hospitalizations and deaths at this time,” Dr. Ericka Brown, the interim local health authority with Harris County Public Health, said. “We believe for our state or our county I hate to use the word relax but we can decrease some of our efforts.”
Brown said they are still seeing people seeking tests at their locations and vaccines. She said many of the people who want the shot was hesitant at first and wanted to see how others faired.
She credits the vaccinations for lower hospitalization rates, manageable numbers of positive cases, and big events, like the Houston Rodeo, not causing a spike in the community.
“We did not see a spike for the rodeo, and we are very, very excited about that,” Brown said. “I can’t stress enough, I know I keep saying it, it had a lot to do with our vaccination rates and the efforts that everyone put in place to keep our community safe.”
But despite what might seem like a big step by the TMC to stop updating their COVID dashboards, Schwartz said the virus is not to the point of being thought of as other common illnesses.
“The one thing I’ve learned about COVID, is to try not to completely predict based on what is happening today, what is happening next month,” Schwartz said. “It is every time I think we are going to be quiet until the fall, there is a new surge or a new variant. I don’t think we are in the state yet where we have a flu season or we don’t have a flu season.”
Those hoping to continue monitoring numbers for Houston and Harris County can track the latest on their combined dashboard.
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