Some warn that without enough testing, the state could see a second wave of coronavirus cases.
HOUSTON — As Texas begins to reopen Friday, the Lone Star state still ranks near the bottom for its rate of COVID-19 testing.
At the beginning of April, Texas ranked 49th in per-capita testing for coronavirus. At the end of the month, the state inched up to 47th in the nation, according to a KHOU analysis and U.S. Census data of 50 states and the District of Columbia.
For perspective, the 314,790 tests performed in Texas as of April 29 are only 1.1% of the state’s population. The nationwide average was 1.8% as of the same day.
“The main driver here has to be seeing that number increase,” said Dr. Luis Ostrosky, an infectious disease specialist at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “What I like to see is really the trend going up.”
There is a positive Texas trend within the overall numbers. Tests increased by 632% during April, the 11th highest monthly jump in the country.
“I’m very, very encouraged, we went from almost no testing … to being able to test in hospitals, now we’re seeing the tests in clinics, in Walgreens,” Ostrosky said.
The highest was Oklahoma, increasing its testing by 3,315% and jumping from the lowest testing rate in the country to 28th.
The unknown is whether there were enough tests to reopen Texas safely. Some other states with similar 1% testing rates — Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky — all remain closed for at least another week.
“What’s important is to really follow the rules of engagement that the governor put out,” Ostrosky said. “We can’t just open up without following those very important rules of engagement.”
The risk is another surge or second wave of coronavirus cases in the weeks ahead.
RELATED: These Houston-area nursing homes have prior infection prevention violations
RELATED: Retail stores, beauty salons have the most complaints for violating Houston’s COVID-19 order
RELATED: KHOU 11 Investigates: Texas lags most of the country in coronavirus testing
Great news if you watch TV with an antenna
KHOU has just upgraded its technology. If you were unable to receive KHOU with your antenna in the past, try again on channel 11.11. You may have to rescan your channels for it to work – if that’s the case, we’ve got some instructions at KHOU.com/antenna. If you already see KHOU on 11.1, you may now ALSO see it on 11.11 – it’s the exact same programming. We’re really excited to be able to bring our KHOU 11 News, CBS shows and sports, Wheel of Fortune, Ellen and Great Day Houston to more homes around the area. If you’re still having trouble, please contact us here and we’ll try to get you set up.