WACO, Texas — The number of new COVID-19 cases per day has dropped over 80 percent in McLennan County since early September.
Local health officials say while new variants can be unpredictable, people should not let their guard down against the virus. In August and September, McLennan County saw some of the highest daily COVID case and death counts since the pandemic began.
On September 4, the seven-day average reached 312 new cases per day.
"We saw a lot of people getting sick at the same time, with a lot of younger people ending up in the hospital, having a lot of complications and even deaths," said Dr. Gregory Newman, medical director at Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest Marketplace Urgent Care.
As of Thursday, there is an average of just 39 new cases per day in McLennan County.
"We're seeing a decrease in the number of new cases and we're happy about that for sure," said Waco-McLennan County Public Health District director LaShonda Malrey-Horne.
Case counts may be dropping, but Malrey-Horne and Newman said people should remain vigilant.
"I don't know that we need to be running around fearful to where we can't live life, but we need to be vigilant," Newman said. "We need to be paying attention to if we're sick if someone around us is ill and we don't know exactly what their illness status is, you know, there's a chance it's COVID."
Both recommend vaccines and booster shots for those eligible as a way to prevent serious illness and ease any future burden on the health care system.
"We have to be grateful for the vaccine during this last surge," Malrey-Horne said. "Imagine what the delta variant outcomes would've been if we wouldn't have had the vaccine."
As for new variants, Newman said there aren't any posing an immediate threat, but to keep an eye out for any highly contagious ones in the future.
As flu and RSV seasons approach, health officials also encourage people to continue to keep following preventative measures to stop the spread of any respiratory disease.
To follow along with daily COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations in McLennan County, visit the county's COVID-19 dashboard.