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Houston’s COVID-19 positivity rate drops to 5%, health department reports

HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department said the city’s coronavirus test positivity rate has dropped to five percent.

“This is a great achievement but we must continue the steps that got us here and drive the rate lower,” the department said in a tweet on Monday afternoon.

“That is cause for a little bit of celebration,” said Dr. James McDeavitt, dean of clinical affairs at Baylor College of Medicine. “Things are trending in the right direction.”

According to the health department’s tweet, the positivity rate was 6.9% on Sept. 18. McDeavitt said the numbers show the community is making progress against COVID-19 but we’re not in the clear just yet.

“It does not mean it’s gone,” McDeavitt said. “It does mean it’s less deadly than it was before. It does not mean it’s less contagious than it was.”

Houston’s mayor said the new goal is to reduce the rate even further.

“Thank you Houston for helping us achieve a positivity rate of 5% by wearing your masks, social distancing and washing your hands,” Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote on Twitter. “The new goal is to lower that number to 2.5% by mid-November if not before. We can do this.”

McDeavitt said masks and social distancing play a key role in the fight against the virus.