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September 4 COVID-19 case count: Texas officials urge healthy habits over Labor Day weekend as cases, tests decline

Houston mayor Sylvester Turner reminded people to wear masks if out in public over the holiday, saying parks will be open, but to avoid gatherings of 10 or more.

HOUSTON — Houston mayor Sylvester Turner urged people to keep up their healthy habits heading into Labor Day Weekend to avoid any rebound in COVID-19 cases.

Friday, the city reported 510 new cases and 13 newly-reported deaths, bringing the city's total to 64,985 total cases and 862 deaths.

This week, Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, the city of Houston averaged about 261 new cases a day, a sharp drop from the last week of July, when the city averaged 1,091 new cases a day.

The drop could be partially due to the decreased number of people getting tested, public health officials said.

“We don’t want to see the numbers go up two weeks from now because we decided to come together in big numbers over the Labor Day Weekend," Mayor Turner said in a Friday news conference. "Remember, the virus doesn’t take off because it’s an extended weekend or holiday.”

Data from the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health show that average new cases spiked three-to-four weeks following the Memorial Day and July Fourth holidays.

That trend could be due to several factors: people not getting tested at the first sign of symptoms, or labs taking longer than normal to process results, to name a few.

Across Texas, the pattern is similar: the average number of cases is going down compared to months past, but so are the number of tests performed each day.

The state reports a 9.73 percent positivity rate as of Sept. 3.

Harris County outside of the city reported 505 new cases Friday, and nine newly-reported deaths.

Harris County Public Health officials said they had been working through a backlog of numbers that came in late from labs in the last week of August.

Harris County, including the city of Houston, leads the state in confirmed COVID-19 cases with 109,834, according to the city and county dashboard. That info is generally ahead of the DSHS dashboard, which shows Harris County ahead of Dallas County by roughly 36,000 cases.

The number of people hospitals with COVID-19 across the state have decreased significantly. That number dropped by 50 percent less than a month, currently sitting at 3,889. The last time they were this low was in late June.

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