AUSTIN (KXAN) — One in four molecular COVID-19 tests in Texas in the past week have yielded positive results, according to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
As of Thursday, the seven-day positive rate for PCR tests is 26.49%. The positive rate has hit a new record high for six days in a row.
Prior to this week, the record high was 20.79% on Jan. 3, 2021. The rate has increased by 165% over the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, the seven-day positive rate for antigen (rapid) tests is 16.49%. That’s the highest since July 17, 2020. The record is 25.10%, set on July 1, 2020.
The state has reported close to 100,000 new test results each day over the past week. Two-thirds of those are molecular (PCR) tests, which are much more sensitive than the antigen (rapid) tests.
The demand for testing has increased significantly over the past few days. In Austin, hours-long lines formed outside the Long Center each day this week as people waited to get free tests.
Nomi Health, the host of the drive-thru popup testing site, will offer tests again Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The company said antigen test results are available within 15 minutes via text message, and PCR test results come back in 24 to 48 hours.
Jennie Whitaker, a spokesperson for Nomi Health, told KXAN 28% of the antigen tests done on Monday came back positive. Of those, 92% of patients had symptoms, and 79% were vaccinated. On Tuesday, 26% of tests were positive.
Meanwhile, experts said the positive rate is likely higher than what is being reported, due to the increase in at-home testing.
“The only ones that are being reported are the ones that are done in a facility,” said Dr. George Willeford, medical director of Point of Care Health Services. “So, the number of positives may well exceed — I’m sure it does — well exceed the numbers that we’re seeing posted.”