Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Sunday, December 13th (4:45 PM data)

Total Tests Performed – 13,531,607

Confirmed Cases – 1,328,213 (6,479 new cases)

Active Cases – 272,933

Hospitalizations – 9,230 (11,168 available beds, 669 available ICU beds)

Fatalities – 23,911 (111 new deaths)

Recovered Cases – 1,176,377

Inside the Numbers

Positivity rate as of Saturday, December 12th was 12.6%.  One month ago, there were 8,900 new cases reported, one week ago there were 15,100 new cases reported, compared to the 6,479 reported yesterday.  The 7 day average has decreased by 1,386 cases.  The 9,230 COVID patients in hospitals now are 549 more than one week ago, and COVID patients make up 14% of total hospital beds in the state.

More Numbers

At least 50 Texas hospitals are at more than 98% capacity, including 27 that are at 100% ICU capacity.  Several of the large Texas urban metro areas are at hospital capacity of 90% or above, including Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio.  Areas around Austin such as Round Rock and San Marcos are also at 90% hospital capacity.  Not all of these areas have the trigger of 15% COVID patients that require more restrictions.  Areas that are above the 15% threshold are Amarillo, Lubbock, Abilene, Fort Worth, El Paso, Midland-Odessa, Waco and Laredo.  UTMB in Galveston is a typical example of the capacity rates of other hospitals throughout the state.  There, COVID patients make up 9% of all patients and 13% of ICU beds.  Total hospital capacity is now at 88% and their ICU capacity is at 95%, which is very unusual for that facility.

Texas Readies for the Vaccine

Deployment of the vaccines began yesterday on the national level, and state officials here say they are ready for immediate distribution.  Texas expects to have 1.4 million doses delivered by the end of the month.  The first week’s allocation of 224,250 will be shipped this week to 109 hospitals in 34 counties.  On Monday, the first round of vaccines will arrive at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, Methodist Health Center in Dallas, UT Health Dell Medical School in Austin, and MD Anderson in Houston.  On Tuesday, other cities such as El Paso, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Galveston, Edinburg, Fort Worth, San Angelo  and Lubbock will receive their first doses, as well as additional sites in Houston, Dallas, and Austin.  This first round of vaccines is from Pfizer, and more will become available in the coming weeks when the Moderna vaccine is approved.  

US Supreme Court Rejects Election Lawsuit

Last week, the state of Texas sued the states of Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin challenging their Presidential election results, saying in the suit that pandemic led changes to election procedures caused uncertainty in their election results.  Over the weekend, the US Supreme Court dismissed the case, saying the state of Texas had no legal standing to challenge election results certified by other states.  The lawsuit had quickly become a rallying cry among Republican elected officials throughout Texas and the country as one of the last attempts to overturn the Biden victory.  Several members of Congress from Texas had endorsed the lawsuit as well as Attorneys General from 17 other states.  In the end, the Justices, including the three Trump appointees to the Court, found no merit in the case.

FBI Subpoenas AG Paxton

In October, several aides to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton alleged varying charges of misconduct by Paxton relative to his relationship with an Austin real estate developer.  The alleged crimes include bribery and other abuses of official duty.  At the time, several of the staffers resigned, and those who did not resign have since been fired.  Today, the FBI announced they issued subpoenas related to the investigation last week, and that the investigation has been active and ongoing.  Current and former members of Paxton’s staff have and will be interviewed by the FBI.  The FBI refused to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.  Paxton’s office has not commented on the issuance of the subpoenas.

Harris County DA Issues Indictments

A Harris County grand jury has indicted three people in two different cases accused of their involvement in a scheme to change election results.  The first case involves a race for the Texas House in Houston.  Two people are accused of conspiring to unseat an incumbent seeking reelection, Rep. Harold Dutton.  Dutton had two opponents in his Democratic primary race this year.  One of the challengers used a fake name to try and manipulate voters.  The scheme did not work, and Dutton won reelection.  The two opponents of Dutton’s who conspired in the scheme, and were both charged with tampering with government documents, perjury, and election fraud.

The second case involves a House seat in western Harris County.  There, a political consultant is accused of trying to coerce an incumbent, Rep. Gina Callani, into not seeking reelection.  The consultant threatened Callani with embarrassing personal information days before the filing deadline.  Again, the scheme did not work and the consultant is charged with coercion and false display of information.

The Texas legislative session begins in 27 days.