HOUSTON – Twenty new cases of coronavirus were announced by local and county officials Wednesday, which is the most number of cases announced in a single day in the Houston area so far.
The total number of cases in the Houston area increased by almost a third, with the total Wednesday night at 62 cases including one death earlier in the week reported in Matagorda County.
How fast is the case count rising?
There has been exponential growth in the number of cases in Houston, Texas and across the U.S.
On Wednesday, more than 2,770 new cases were reported throughout the nation, bringing the total to 9,230 total cases. That is a multiple factor of 1.40, according to Jeff Linder, with the Harris County Flood Control District.
The national death count is 149, an increase of 30, in the last 24 hours, Linder said on Twitter. While the Texas case count is nearly at 200, up about 110 from yesterday. That is a multiple factor of 1.8, he said.
Linder said the rise may be a function of testing capabilities in certain parts of the state, Linder said.
“This is significantly higher than previous days, so we need to see if this trend holds for a few days or reduces back toward the previous average around 1.1-1.2,” he said.
#COVID19 COVID-19 update for 3-18. Exponential growth is starting to accelerate both across the US and in TX. New cases so far today is over 2700 nationwide and around 70 in TX pic.twitter.com/UjLGfVqhnJ— Jeff Lindner (@JeffLindner1) March 19, 2020
Additional testing will mean more confirmed cases.
“We must understand that there is a certain segment of the population that is not being tested either because they do not meet the criteria or have very mild symptoms, or there is not testing available,” Linder said. “The point is that in those being tested the positive cases are showing exponential growth continuing.”
Linder said, based on a 1.40 multiple factor per day, the US case count can reach near 97,000 in seven days if the current rate continues.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he expected the number of positive coronavirus patients to increase as more testing becomes available. Local drive-thru testing is set to begin soon.
“Do we anticipate more cases? Yes," Turner said in a press conference Friday. “As we do more testing, we certainly will have more cases.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also warned Texans earlier in the week that he expected to see a spike in cases as testing capabilities in the state increased.
Beginning Thursday morning, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee announced there will be a free coronavirus testing center in north Houston where anyone with symptoms may get tested. The new site will be equipped with 2,000 tests.