DATA: COVID-19 positive test rate in Texas hits new record high Friday


FILE — People wait to get tested for COVID-19 at a pop-up testing site in Los Angeles, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. Omicron has raced ahead of other variants and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S., accounting for 73% of new infections last week, federal health officials said Monday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN is keeping track of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, by aggregating data from the Texas Department of State Health Services and local and county health departments. Click here for data specific to Central Texas.

Where have cases been reported?

The state’s first case of COVID-19 was reported March 4, 2020, in Fort Bend County. 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.

Harris County has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19. When adjusted for population though, other counties rise to the top, most notably Dimmit County. The map above shows the rate of cases per 1,000 people, using 2020 population totals from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Where have deaths 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 state’s first COVID-19-related death was reported March 16, 2020, in Matagorda County.

How many people have been vaccinated?

The first vaccines in Texas were administered on December 14, 2020. The map below shows the percentage of Texans in each county that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

KXAN is also keeping track of vaccination rates in each zip code across Texas. Click here to explore the data using our interactive map.

The chart below shows the number of vaccine doses administered each day across Texas. A record number of first and second doses were administered on April 1, 2021.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for a person to be fully vaccinated. People who have taken one dose are considered partially vaccinated. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose, so people who take that vaccine are automatically considered fully vaccinated.

How has the number of cases changed over time?

KXAN is keeping track of the daily increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths across Texas. The highest daily jump in cases occurred on Jan. 12, 2022, when 26,990 new cases were added to the state’s total.

The largest increase in deaths in a single day occurred on Jan. 28, 2021, when 471 new deaths were reported.

How many people are in the hospital?

DSHS reports hospitalization data a day late. Texas hit a peak of 14,218 COVID-19 hospitalizations on January 11, 2021. 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.

How many people have been tested?

The State of Texas is reporting numbers for three different types of tests:

  • Molecular: These are used to determine whether someone is currently infected with COVID-19. If you test positive in a molecular test, you are counted as a “confirmed” case.
  • Antigen: This test is a nasal swab that also determines whether someone is currently infected. They are sometimes referred to as rapid tests, because the results can come back in as little as 15 minutes. If you test positive in an antigen test, you are considered a “probable” case but not a “confirmed” case.
  • Antibody: This type of test determines whether someone was previously infected. It’s a blood test that looks for proteins that the body creates to fight an infection. If you test positive in an antibody test, you are not considered a “confirmed” or “probable” case.

DSHS reports what it calls the “Specimen Collection Date Positivity Rate.” This measures the percent of tests that are positive. The state calculates the rates based on when tests are performed, not when the results are reported. Because of this, the rates fluctuate as DSHS retroactively updates new data it receives.

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.

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