Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Sunday, January 24th (3:05 PM data)

Total Tests Performed – 19,058,041

Confirmed Cases – 1,960,061 (9,731 new cases)

Active Cases – 381,595

Hospitalizations – 12,899 (11,117 available beds, 721 available ICU beds)

Fatalities – 34,322 (208 new deaths)

Recovered Cases – 1,809,067

Vaccine Data – Sunday, January 24th (12:08 PM data)

Doses Shipped by state – 2,807,050

People with one dose received – 1,459,293

People fully vaccinated – 254,687

Total doses administered – 1,713,980

Inside the Numbers

Positivity rate as of Saturday, January 23rd was 15.35%.  One month ago, there were 19,200 new cases reported, one week ago there were 15,700 new cases reported, compared to the 9,731 reported yesterday.  The 7 day average has decreased by 5,090 cases.  The 12,899 COVID patients in hospitals now are 829  fewer than one week ago, and COVID patients make up 19.2% of total hospital beds in the state.

State Numbers Improving

The 208 new deaths reported yesterday is an improvement from the previous three days, when a total of over 1,200 deaths were reported for that period.  The positivity rate for infections is also on the decrease.  The rate has declined from 25% to 16% over the last seven days.  And, the rolling seven day average of new cases has decreased from an average of 23,043 per day to 18,771 per day.

Update on Vaccine Rollout

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick weighed in on the vaccine rollout on Friday.  Patrick wrote to the members of the Expert Vaccination Allocation Panel saying that Texans need to have a better understanding of the time it will take for everyone to be vaccinated in order to reduce wait times and confusion.  Patrick said his office has been inundated with calls from constituents that are frustrated with the rollout, and claim stories of websites and phone numbers that are inoperable.  In the letter, Patrick urged the panel to establish subsets of the current eligible group – Phase 1B – which are Texans 65 and older and those with chronic medical conditions.  Patrick’s suggestion, for example, would prioritize those 75 and over before moving to smaller groups withing the Phase 1B grouping.  This, he said, would give Texans a better understanding of the time needed to receive their vaccinations and reduce the demand on the system.  At this time, no response from the panel has been made available.  

Plans to Increase Security at State Capitol in Proposed Budget

Legislative leaders have unveiled the proposed base budget for the next two years, included is $39 million to increase security at the state Capitol. Included in this proposal are more bomb sniffing dogs, 74 new positions at the DPS, and additional security equipment such as more video surveillance and panic buttons throughout the building. This budget increase is in response to a plan developed by the Department of Public Safety, in conjunction with the US Secret Service, that was developed during the fall after the series of demonstrations that occurred last summer. Both agencies call the Capitol complex a “high valued target for a variety of violent actors, including anti-government extremists.” State leaders have made security at the 46 square block Capitol complex a high priority, not only in response to the past summer’s unrest, but also due to the January 6th assault on the Capitol in Washington, DC.

House District 68 Special Election

David Spiller, an attorney and member of the Jacksboro ISD board of trustees was the leading vote getter on Saturday in a special election to fill the unexpired term of Drew Springer, a Republican from Muenster who was recently elected to the state Senate. Spiller will face Craig Carter from Nocona, who is in the boot making business. Both are Republicans, and the two led a four way special election in this north Texas state House district. Spiller won 12 of the district’s 22 counties, but failed to reach the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff. Spiller finished with 44% of the vote, compared to Carter with 18%. After the vote is canvassed, Gov. Abbott will set a date for the runoff, sometime between February 16th and February 27th.  After the runoff votes are canvassed, the winner will be sworn in to the Texas House, probably sometime in early March.

There are 125 days remaining in the regular session. The House is adjourned until 1:00PM on Tuesday, January 26th, and the Senate is adjourned until 3:00PM on Tuesday, January 26th.