Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Monday, August 23rd (1:15 PM data)
Confirmed Cases – 2,914,188 (4,809 new cases)
Hospitalizations – 13,163 (7,664 available beds, 347 available ICU beds)
Fatalities – 54,023 (29 new deaths)
Vaccine Data – Monday, August 23rd (12:45 PM data)
Doses Shipped by state – 22,128,430
People vaccinated – 16,096,758
People fully vaccinated – 13,370,501
Total doses administered – 28,332,965
Inside the Numbers
Positivity rate as of Monday, August 23rd was 16.19%. One month ago, there were 5,400 new cases reported, one week ago there were 5,300 new cases reported, compared to the 4,809 reported yesterday. The 13,163 COVID patients in hospitals now is 1,554 more patients compared to one week ago, and COVID patients make up 20.5% of total hospital beds in the state.
Over the last week, an average of 77,047 doses have been administered each day in the state. As of Monday, August 23rd 46.1% of Texans have been fully vaccinated.
House Gets to Work with Quorum Present
With a quorum being established in the House last Thursday night, the process of passing the bills on the Governor’s call has finally begun on the House side. With the Senate having passed most of the bills on the call for the special, the House committees began to meet over the weekend to consider the legislation. On Saturday, the bail reform bill was heard. Today, several committees are meeting to hear legislation related to election integrity, property tax reform, social media reform, and restoration of the budget for the legislative branch. If these bills are approved at the committee level, floor activity could begin in the House as early as Wednesday, likely making for a long and busy weekend for the lower chamber.
Abbott Tests Negative for COVID
Gov. Abbott announced on Saturday that he had officially tested negative for COVID-19. Abbott, who is vaccinated, briefly battled the virus in what is known as a “breakthrough infection”. His illness lasted less than 5 days.
In a video message, Abbott said “I am told that my infection was brief and mild because of the vaccination I received. So I encourage others who have not yet received the vaccination to consider getting one.” He added that he will continue to quarantine from his home and that he will be actively working on opening antibody therapy treatment centers throughout the state.
State Supreme Court Denies Abbott’s Request to Overrule Local Mandates
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Texas refused Gov. Abbott’s request to block local jurisdictions’ ability to establish mask mandates. As a result, the lower court ruling allowing school districts to require masks in their schools still stands. The decision is the latest in what had become a labyrinthine of battles and rulings between local leaders and the state government. Local jurisdictions believed they had a need for mandatory masking to curb the spread of COVID in schools, while the state held that parents and students should have freedom of choice in whether to wear masks.
Gubernatorial Candidate Allen West’s Wife Arrested for DWI
Former Florida Congressman and Texas Republican Allen West announced his candidacy in July to challenge Gov. Abbott in next year’s Republican primary. With the primary at least seven months away, the contest has been relatively quiet and conflict free until now. On Friday, West’s wife, Angela West, spent Friday night in jail after allegedly driving while intoxicated (DWI) with her young grandson in the car. An officer assigned to the DWI Squad stopped West’s wife for a traffic violation just before 8:45 p.m. on Friday. Suspecting West to be intoxicated, the officer performed a field sobriety test on her. After the field test, West was taken into custody and charged with “driving while intoxicated with a child under 15 years old,” the Dallas Police Department told Fox News. West tweeted late Saturday afternoon that his wife was “released” and that he was thankful to his followers for the “many messages with support and prayers.” West’s infant grandson, Jackson, was released to a family member after his grandmother’s arrest.
However, West called the arrest “insidious”, claiming his wife had only consumed water and lemonade before driving. He continues to insist that his wife had not and was not drinking prior to the arrest. West said he continues to be “livid” over the situation, and has vowed to prove his wife’s innocence.
The House convenes at 4PM today, and the assumption is that they will have a quorum. With no bills on the floor calendar, they will likely recess until later in the week. The Senate convened at 2PM today and immediately adjourned until 2PM on Thursday.