AUSTIN (KXAN) — For three years, KXAN has been keeping track of COVID-19 statistics across Texas.
The first presumptive case of COVID-19 was reported in Fort Bend County on March 4, 2020. Since then, the state has reported more than 8.3 million cases, more than 91,000 deaths, more than 588,000 hospitalizations and more than 50.6 million vaccine doses administered.
KXAN has been tracking all of it, and more. But, three years on, we’ve come to the decision to retire most of our COVID data reporting.
First, let’s talk about what we’ll still report each week. Since February 2022, the CDC has assigned a risk level to each county based on how COVID is impacting local populations. These high, medium and low risk “community levels” are released each Thursday. KXAN will continue to update our maps here each week.
But we’ll no longer be updating our two stories featuring local and statewide data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Why are we doing this?
First and foremost, the state has stopped reporting a lot of data that it used to. In December 2022, DSHS switched from daily data reports to weekly reporting. At the time, the department said it was a move to “more normalized reporting as COVID-19 becomes less of an emergency.” The changes put COVID data reporting more in line with how DSHS reports on the flu.
Some data that we’ve been tracking is simply no longer available publicly. An example is the number of “probable” cases — when you test positive in a rapid test, rather than a PCR test — as well as the antigen positive test rate. DSHS stopped reporting these in the middle of February.
A big part of this is because of the prevalence of at-home rapid tests. With more people testing themselves, the numbers officially reported by the state are most likely an undercount.
While KXAN will no longer report new data on our website, DSHS continues to post weekly updates on its case count dashboard, each Wednesday, as well as its vaccination dashboard. More specific data regarding hospitalizations, as well as case counts by county, can be found here.