Coronavirus updates for Texas | Live Science

Last updated on Friday, April 10 at 1:30 p.m. E.D.T.

Texas currently has 11,671 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human services. At least 226 people have died and an estimated 1,101 people have recovered.  Texas is the second-most populous state, but is far from the state with the most U.S. coronavirus cases;  as of Friday, 

Texas likely has more cases than reported; though 115,918 tests have been conducted, that represents a relatively low rate of testing per capita. 

Latest updates

—Next week Gov. Greg Abbott will be issuing an executive order that will detail plans to reopen business while protecting lives, he said in a news conference today (April 10). “We can do both,” Abbott said in the conference. 

Abbott also suggested that Bexar County may be past its peak death rate. The growth of new cases has not slowed as much in Collin County, Dallas County is leveling off more than those other counties, by just a bit, Abbott said. Denton County’s slope has flattened dramatically, likely because a state supported living center led to a steep rise early on, but they were able to “very swiftly contain that situation” Abbott said. Meanwhile, El Paso’s case count is still rising steeply, though the total number of people testing positive in the county is still lower than in other areas, Abbott said.

—At least 160 of 1,222 nursing homes in the state have at least one case of COVID-19, and 38 residents or staff members have died, the Texas Tribune reported.

—Rural Texas counties seem to have been mostly spared so far from COVID-19. However, a new model from the University of Texas at Austin suggests there may be silent spread across these rural areas.  Of Texas’ 254 counties, 164 have reported positive cases, and those counties likely have at least a 50% chance of having hidden community transmission, Texas Monthly reported. Counties with three or more cases have a 79% chance of having hidden community spread.

—Roughly 75% of deaths have occurred in those over age 60, according to the Dallas Morning News. However, several people in their 40s and 30s have died — among them was Adolph “T.J.” Mendez of New Braunfels. The 44-year-old was described by his family as a “perfectly healthy” father of six, who worked out and took vitamins every day, according to the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung.

—Southwest Airlines, which is based in Dallas, Texas, has said that less than one percent of its 60,000 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. It was not clear how many of these employees were based in Texas.

—Texas Department of Public Safety workers are stepping up efforts to track visitors from other states. Checkpoints had been set up along the Texas-Louisiana border, and drivers were required to provide personal information, such as their names, contact information and where they planned to self-quarantine.

—A nursing home in Texas City had nearly  80 residents who tested positive for COVID-19. About 30 of them have received the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine, Abbott said. The governor said he would provide updates on those patients’ outcomes.

—Gov. Greg Abbott said he the state currently has 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19, but anticipates the state currently has enough medical resources, such as beds and ventilators to meet the projected demand, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

—The majority of patients at a San Antonio nursing home and rehabilitation center have tested positive for the new coronavirus, the Texas Tribune reported. A total of 67 of 84 residents have tested positive, along with eight of the 60 staff members, according to the Texas Tribune. At least two of the staffers who tested positive also worked in other facilities. In response, San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg said he was amending his public health order to prohibit staffers from working in multiple facilities.

—The Dallas area may be one of the hottest spots in Texas, with case counts and deaths very likely to increase, Abbott said on Thursday (April 2).  

—Most cases of coronavirus may be going unreported in Houston, the country’s fourth-biggest city,  NBC is reporting. Though Houston is not reporting a huge surge in COVID-19 cases, like New Orleans, Detroit and New York City, a 40% increase in hospital admissions over four days suggest many more cases are being undetected. For instance, on Monday (March 30), the Houston area reported just 950 cases of COVID-19, but on that same day, at least 996 patients were currently hospitalized in area facilities with confirmed or suspected cases. And the state’s reported tally includes people who were never hospitalized, or who had been hospitalized and discharged.

—Several clinical trials  of COVID-19 treatments are starting up or underway in Texas: UT Southwestern in Dallas is beginning two trials of the antiviral remdesevir, as well as one of the anti-inflammatory drug sarilumab, to see if it can reduce the deadly immune overreaction, according to the Dallas Morning News. And Houston Methodist is testing the use of convalescent plasma, or an infusion of antibodies from people who have recovered from the disease.

—At least 44 students at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a spring break trip to Mexico, according to The New York Times.  The group of 70 spring breakers took a chartered flight on March 14 and most returned on March 19, according to The Times. 

—Abbott issued an executive order telling people statewide to stay at home, though he declined to call it a “shelter-in-place” order. Schools will remain closed till May 4, according to the new order. Like similar orders in other states, this one asks people to stay home except when pursuing activities such as getting groceries, exercising, or going to work in essential industries.

When will the peak hit Texas?

Though case counts are rising rapidly, the Lone Star State is still a few weeks away from its peak use of resources, according to one model. That model, by University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, suggests peak use will occur on April 22. 

However, the models’ projections have become increasingly optimistic. Last week, the Lone Star State was projected to have a shortage of thousands of ICU beds, and 6,329 people were projected to die of the disease by August. 

Now, the model is predicting no shortage of beds and just 2,042 deaths by August. The more optimistic numbers may reflect the impact of social distancing.

However, these models are inherently uncertain and small changes in daily case counts can produce dramatic differences in peak deaths, ICU beds needed and other critical metrics. For instance, the peak number of deaths per day ranges from 14 to 239 in this model, and the total number of deaths ranges from 779 to 4,085.

Coronavirus science and newsTimeline of coronavirus in TexasMarch 31: Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order asking people to stay home for the month of April, except to pursue essential activities, such as procuring food, medicine, caring for a loved one or pet or getting exercise. Those who work in one of several essential industries, such as the energy sector, healthcare or critical manufacturing, will be able to go to their jobs. Religious services are considered an essential service, and so the new order supersedes more stringent orders on the county level that had prohibited large gatherings for any reason.  The new order is more stringent than Abbott’s March 19 one, which asked people to limit gatherings larger than 10 people. This one asks people to minimize all exposure to people outside their household whenever possible.March 31: Abbott extended the closure of schools and non-essential businesses until at least May 4.March 29: Abbott issued a new executive order to prevent imported cases entering the state. The order requires anyone who enters the state from one of several hard-hit regions to undergo a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine, KXAN reported. Those regions include Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana and California. Travel is being restricted by road and air. Visitors must register with state troopers and will be subject to check-ins. Those who violate the order face 180 days in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both, according to KXAN.March 29: Abbott also issued an executive order to prevent the release of “dangerous criminals and felons” during the outbreak. Some of the largest county jails in the state — including those in Dallas and Harris County — have outbreaks, and officials have considered shrinking populations and releasing some of those housed there. The new order prevents those who have been accused of or convicted of violent crimes from being released from jail unless they pay bail.March 25: President Donald Trump approved Abbott’s disaster declaration, which enables the federal government to provide aid to the Lone Star State.March 25: Austin issues a stay-at home order. Those who violate the order can be fined $1,000 or spend 180 days in jail, or both. March 24: Harris County, which houses large swaths of Houston, issued a “stay at home, work safe” order similar to the one instituted in Dallas County. March 22: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins issues a “stay home, stay safe” order for the county. The order requires people to say in their homes as much as possible, with only essential businesses staying open. People are allowed to venture out to get groceries, perform essential work, get medicine, care for others, and get exercise. Takeout and delivery remain options for restaurants.March 19: Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. The coronavirus “has created an immediate threat, poses a high risk of death to a large number of people, and creates a substantial risk of public exposure because of the disease’s method of transmission and evidence that there is community spread in Texas.” This is the first time in 119 years that the state has declared a public health disaster, the Houston Chronicle reported. March 19: Abbott closes bars, restaurants and K-12 schools through April 3. The executive order also bans gatherings of more than 10 people.March 13: A man in his 90s from MAtagorda County becomes the state’s first known death from COVID-19. March 4: The first reported case of COVID-19 occurs in Texas, in a man in his 70s from Fort Bend County, who had recently traveled abroad. Cases by county:Anderson 2Andrews 10Angelina 15Aransas 2Atascosa 5Austin 7Bandera 1Bastrop 16Bee  1Bell 74Bexar 554Blanco 4Bowie 23Brazoria 184Brazos 108Brown 8Burleson 5Burnet 5Caldwell 5Calhoun 13Callahan 1Cameron 118Camp 3Cass 4Castro 10Chambers 22Cherokee 6Clay 1Collin 378Colorado 6Comal 29Comanche 3Coryell 17Crane 2Crosby 1Dallam 1Dallas 1,324Dawson 5Deaf Smith 7Delta 1Denton 398DeWitt 8Dickens 1Donley 14Eastland 3Ector 34El Paso 192Ellis 50Erath 10Falls 1Fannin 4Fayette 8Floyd 1Fort Bend 437Franklin 1Frio 1Gaines 1Galveston 287Gillespie 1Goliad 3Gonzales 2Gray  12Grayson 15Gregg 35Grimes 5Guadalupe 46Hale 9Hamilton 1Hansford 1Hardin 41Harris 2,341Harrison 12Hays 77Hemphill 1Henderson 6Hidalgo 139Hill 6Hockley 12Hood 11Hopkins 4Hunt 15Hutchinson 2Jack 1Jackson 4Jasper 2Jefferson 87Jim Wells 2Johnson 25Jones 1Karnes 2Kaufman 19Kendall 9Kerr 2Kleberg 2Knox 1Lamar 8Lamb 1Lampasas 2Lavaca 4Lee 2Leon 2Liberty 15Limestone 7Live Oak 3Llano 3Lubbock 214Lynn 3Martin 2Mason 1Matagorda 38Maverick 7McCulloch 1McLennan 62Medina 9Midland 30Milam 7Mitchell 1Montague 1Montgomery 210Moore 15Morris 2Nacogdoches 25Navarro 10Newton 1Nueces 69Oldham 3Orange 30Palo Pinto 4Panola 7Parker 9Pecos 1Polk 8Potter 58Randall 52Robertson 2Rockwall 14Rusk 14San Augustine 7San Jacinto 3San Patricio 7Shelby 23Smith 82Starr 7Swisher 2Tarrant 588Taylor 43Terry 6Titus 4Tom Green 25Travis 597Trinity 3Tyler 1Upshur 6Uvalde 6Val Verde 6Van Zandt 7Victoria 66Walker 11Waller 12Washington 28Webb 155Wharton 18Wichita 50Willacy 5Williamson 97Wilson 9Wise 3Wood 4Young 3Zapata 3

Originally published on Live Science.


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