Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Monday, April 26th (2:50 PM data)
Total Tests Performed – 27,835,375
Confirmed Cases – 2,458,625 (1,390 new cases)
Active Cases – 63,103
Hospitalizations – 2,718 (12,559 available beds, 947 available ICU beds)
Fatalities – 48,973 (7 new deaths)
Recovered Cases – 2,725,679
Vaccine Data – Monday, April 16th (2:00 PM data)
Doses Shipped by state – 17,691,550
People with one dose received – 10,696,902
People fully vaccinated – 7,295,111
Total doses administered – 17,369,952
Inside the Numbers
Molecular positivity rate as of Monday, April 26th was 4.16%. One month ago, there were 2,200 new cases reported, one week ago there were 3,600 new cases reported, compared to the 1,390 reported yesterday. The 2,718 COVID patients in hospitals now are 146 less than one week ago, and COVID patients make up 4.3% of total hospital beds in the state.
Over the last week, an average of 188,046 doses have been administered each day in the state. As of April 25th, 25.2% of Texans have been fully vaccinated.
Texas to Get 2 Additional Congressional Seats
Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau announced its 2020 census data, showing Texas’ population to be rapidly growing. Thanks to this growth, largely due to an increase in people of color, particularly Hispanics, Texas will see its seats in the U.S. House of Representatives rise from 36 to 38 for the next decade.
Texas is one of six states gaining seats this round. The other five states – Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon – gained only one seat. California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each lost one seat. Overall, the new census data will affect 13 states’ representation, shifting 7 seats.
The shift could affect the 2022 midterm elections and whether Democrats can hold onto control of the U.S. House, where they hold a narrow majority. States that gained seats were mostly Republican-leaning. States that lost seats were mostly Democratic, but consisted of more close battleground states. The shift is also part of a broader shift to the South and West of the U.S., with 84 seats shifting toward those states since 1940.
Monday’s Census data release only contains information about total populations in each state, not specific information like the demographics of the population and where they reside that states will use to determine how they draw their congressional districting maps.
Population Trends & Projections by the Texas Demographic Center:
Speaker Weighs in on Drugging Allegations
After allegations arose on Monday that a Texas lobbyist drugged a young legislative aide, some lawmakers chose to restrict access to their offices while both law enforcement and the lobbying firm employing the accused lobbyist investigate the incident.
In an atypical speech from the floor of the chamber, Republican Dade Phelan, the speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, said that the allegations surround a meeting that took place outside the Capitol “in recent weeks” and that the staffer who made the allegations had reported the incident to law enforcement. Phelan said he is “disgusted this sort of predatory behavior is still taking place in and around our Capitol” and told the 149 other House members that they all must work toward “changing the culture of this building.”
Agency spokesman Travis Considine said The Texas Department of Public Safety is now investigating, but would not provide more details. The firm employing the alleged assailant, HillCo, a lobbying and public affairs firm based in Austin. The firm announced the hiring of outside counsel and a former law enforcement official to conduct an internal investigation.
The report quickly put a new focus on the treatment of women and staffers at the Texas Capitol, where three years ago lawmakers revised sexual harassment polices in both the House and Senate as the #MeToo movement spread to statehouses around the country, and accusations of harassment by two members of the Texas Senate came to light. On Monday, Phelan called for changing the required in-person sexual harassment prevention training for House members and staff, which he said would be more effective than the virtual training currently offered.
Texas Resumes Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
This past Friday, vaccine providers across Texas were told that they could resume using the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine. The decision follows a brief pause in the use of the vaccine after a small number of people reported blood clotting side effects. However, the CDC and FDA have since lifted the restrictions, encouraging providers in Texas to resume vaccine administration as quickly as possible. The vaccine was re-approved for use given the rarity of clotting, with very few recipients reporting. The J&J vaccine, which has been instrumental in vaccinating “hard-to-reach” people given it only requires one dose and has lower standards for refrigeration than other vaccines. Many have argued that permanently stopping the J&J vaccine following a rare side effect, would most largely impact vulnerable communities.
Debates on Austin Camping Ban in the TX House
As residents of Austin prepare to vote on the fate of Proposition B, which would ban homeless encampments and criminalize inhabitants, the Texas house debated similar bills statewide on Monday.
House Bill 1925, The bill, written by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, would similarly make it a criminal offense for unhoused people to camp in public spaces. HB 1925, along with Senate Bill 987, would make camping punishable by a fine of up to $500. Proponents of the band have argued that the encampments pose health and safety concerns. However, detractors say that these bills would essentially criminalize homelessness, and fines would only further worsen the issue. While early voting in Austin began on April 19, many fear that statewide bills to criminalize homelessness would only invalidate the outcome of the Prop. B vote. Amidst the debate on the house floor, some tried to amend the bill in order to decrease the penalties, while Rep. Joe Deshotel raised a point of order following a discrepancy in the witness list that caused the bill to be recommitted to committee. The bill will likely be rescheduled for a floor vote next week.
There are 34 days left in the legislative session. The House convened at 10 AM today and the Senate convenes at 1PM. Later this week, the House will take up legislation relating to trucking liability and defunding of police departments. The Senate will hold a hearing tomorrow on the permitless carry legislation.