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 for all of Texas. Click here for data specific to Central Texas.

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.

Low-, medium- and high-risk categories are determined based on three factors: the number of new cases in the past seven days, the number of hospital admissions in the past seven days and the 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.

The graphic below shows how Texas’ population is split among the three Community Levels. If a county is rated high risk, its population is included in the red box below. Similarly, if a county is rated low risk, its population is included in the green box below.

How many cases have 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 cases of COVID-19. When adjusted for population though, other counties rise to the top, most notably Loving, Jim Hogg and Dimmit and Counties. The map above shows the rate of cases per 1,000 people.

The highest daily increase in cases occurred on Jan. 12, 2022, in the midst of the omicron surge, when 75,817 new cases (confirmed and probable) were added to the statewide total.

The highest single-day increase in confirmed cases was 61,113 on Jan. 12, 2022. The highest single-day increase in probable cases was 15,223 on Jan. 13, 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 state’s first COVID-19-related death was reported March 16, 2020, in Matagorda County.

The largest increase in deaths in a single day occurred on Jan. 14, 2021, when 386 new deaths were reported.

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 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 Texas. Click here to explore the data using our interactive map.

How many people are in the hospital?

Texas hit a peak of 14,218 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Jan. 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.

Which demographics are most affected?

The following charts show how the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths by age, sex and race/ethnicity. Updated data is reported by DSHS once a month.

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.