Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Wednesday, November 11th  (7:15 PM data)

Total Tests Performed – 9,963,266

Confirmed Cases – 985,380 (10,097 new cases)

Active Cases – 137,022

Hospitalizations – 6,779 (11,777 available beds, 951available ICU beds)

Fatalities – 19,004 (141 new deaths)

Recovered Cases – 831,800

Inside the Numbers

Positivity rate as of Tuesday, November 10th  was 12.13%.  One month ago, there were 5,050 new cases reported, one week ago there were 7,271 new cases reported, compared to the 10,097 reported yesterday.  The 7 day average has increased by 1,407 cases.  The 6,779 COVID patients in hospitals now are 907 more than one week ago, and COVID patients make up 10.1% of total hospital beds in the state.

Infections and Hospitalizations Rising

Texas health officials reported 10,865 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest number reported in a single day since the pandemic began.  Hospitalizations have doubled over the last month and the 7 day average of new cases is at its highest level since August.  Texas is set to become the first state to report over 1 million confirmed cases. El Paso continues to be the area of the state with the highest growth in infections.  Officials there said yesterday that the shutdown of non essestial businesses will continue for three more weeks.  Nearly 1,100 patients in the region are hospitalized with COVID, and there are few if anymore available hospital beds.

There is some encouraging news.  The Food and Drug Administration has authorized emergency use for a treatment called bamlanivimab, which has been shown to improve the symptoms in people that have contracted the virus, hopefully reducing the number of necessary hospitalizations.  And in Texas, the state Health Department has developed a Vaccine Distribution Plan, and more than 2,500 health care providers have enrolled in the program to administer the new Pfizer vaccine.  If all continues to go as planned, the state could start to administer the program in December to first responders and health care professionals, followed soon by the elderly and at risk populations.

Plan In Development for Capitol Access

With the biannual legislative session approaching, presumptive Speaker Dade Phelan has created a working group of current House members to determine the best way to provide public participation in the legislative process, while protecting the health of the legislators, their staff, and the public.  The 12 member committee will make recommendations on how to balance the need for public participation in committee hearings and visits to Capitol offices with the overall need to ensure all those involved in the legislative process remain as safe as possible.  There is no deadline for the issuance of the recommendations, but an initial report from the group is expected sometime after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Affordable Care Act in US Supreme Court

On Tuesday, the state of Texas led a coalition of states in arguing before the Supreme Court that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and should be struck down in entirety.  Texas has challenged many different laws and policies from the era of the Obama Administration.  The coalition of states argued that the individual mandate – requiring everyone to purchase health insurance or be taxed in a nominal equilavent – should not be interpreted as a tax, thus making the act unconstitutional.  The Trump Administration is siding with Texas on this issue, while a different coalition of states, led by California, is arguing for the preservation of the Act.  Many legal experts feel it is unlikely that the Court will strike down the entire law.

Still Not all Texas Races Settled

There are still 2 races from the elections last week that still remain unsettled in Texas.  In state House district 135, in the western part of Harris County, incumbent Democrat Rep. Jon Rosenthal currently has a lead of 137 votes, out of 74,504 total votes cast over Republican Justin Ray of Jersey Village.  In western Travis County, incumbent Democrat Rep. Vicki Goodwin leads Republican Justin Berry by 1,324 votes out of 134,408 cast.  Rosenthal and Goodwin have declared victory, while the challengers have refused to concede, saying that there are still votes to be counted.  In Texas, a 2nd place finisher can ask for a recount if the difference between the number of votes between the first and second place finisher is less than 10%.  The deadline to request a recount this year is November 19th, which is 2 days after the deadline for each county to canvass the votes.  Regardless of the outcome of either race, this will not change the partisan makeup of the lower chamber.

The Texas legislative session begins in 61 days.