AUSTIN (KXAN) — Since March 2020, KXAN has been keeping track of COVID-19 across Texas using data reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
The data in this story is specific to the KXAN viewing area. Click here for statewide data.
As of Sept. 12, 2022, DSHS is reporting data updates three days a week — on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The department said the switch from daily updates was part of an effort to “streamline COVID-19 data reporting.”
How prevalent is COVID in my county?
In February 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began weekly updates determining the “COVID Community Level” in each county nationwide. The three levels — high, medium and low — show how prevalent COVID-19 is in each county, by looking at hospitalization and case data. The data is updated each Thursday.
Austin Public Health previously used a staging system to determine the threat of COVID-19 locally. The system was retired on March 29, 2022, and replaced with the CDC’s Community Levels.
Low-, medium- and high-risk categories are determined based on three factors: number of new cases in the past seven days, new hospital admissions in the past seven days, and percent of staffed hospital beds being used by COVID-19 patients.
The first consideration is the number of new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days. If the number of new cases is higher than 200, the county cannot be considered low risk.
The thresholds for hospital admissions and inpatient bed usage then change depending on whether the county has fewer or more than 200 new cases per 100,000 residents.
Here’s a look at the numbers in each county in the KXAN viewing area. Remember, the number of new cases is considered first. If that number than 200, the county cannot be considered low risk. The thresholds for hospital admissions and inpatient bed usage then change depending on whether the county has fewer or more than 200 new cases per 100,000 residents.
How many cases have been reported?
The first COVID-19 cases in Central Texas were reported on March 13, 2020. Texas reports totals for two kinds of cases: confirmed and probable. A confirmed case is a person who has tested positive on a molecular test. A probable case is a person who has tested positive on an antigen test, or someone who has a combination of symptoms and known exposure to someone with COVID-19.
Travis County has the most cases of COVID-19. When adjusted for population though, Caldwell County rises to the top. The map above shows the rate of cases per 1,000 people.
The highest daily increase in cases occurred on Jan. 21, 2022, in the midst of the omicron surge, when 7,115 new cases (confirmed and probable) were added to the area total.
The highest single-day increase in confirmed cases was 5,968 on Jan. 21, 2022. The highest single-day increase in probable cases was 1,637 on Jan. 17, 2022.
How many deaths have been reported?
Texas identifies COVID-19 deaths using the cause of death listed on death certificates. The total number of deaths does not include people who had COVID-19 but died from an unrelated cause. The first COVID-19-related death in Central Texas was reported March 27, 2020, in Travis County.
The largest increase in deaths in a single day occurred on Sept. 8, 2021, when 38 new deaths were reported.
How many people have been vaccinated?
The first vaccines in Central Texas were administered on December 15, 2020, at Dell Medical School in Austin. The map below shows the percentage of residents in each county that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The map below shows the percentage of Texans in each county that have received at least one booster dose. Click the arrow in the top right to see the percent considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
KXAN is also keeping track of vaccination rates in each zip code across Central Texas. Click here to explore the data using our interactive map.
How many people are in the hospital?
Austin Public Health reports hospitalization data for the Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which comprises of Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties. The Austin MSA hit a peak of 728 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Jan. 19, 2022. The chart below shows how the number of people hospitalized because of COVID-19 has changed throughout the pandemic.
The charts below show how hospital and ICU bed usage has changed throughout the pandemic.
What factors are affecting the data?
KXAN is also keeping track of various factors, anomalies and errors affecting the data. Click here for the full list.