Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Sunday, September 13th (3:45 PM data)

Total Tests Performed – 5,989,638

Confirmed Cases – 659,434 (1,840 new cases)

Active Cases – 67,412

Hospitalizations – 3,319 (12,753 available beds, 1,350 available ICU beds)

Fatalities – 14,190 (47 new deaths)

Recovered Cases – 577,832

Inside the Numbers

Positivity rate as of Saturday, Sept 12th was 8.11%.  One month ago, there were 7,018 new cases reported, one week ago there were 2,057 new cases reported, compared to the 1,840 reported yesterday.  The 3,319 COVID patients in hospitals now are 396 less than one week ago, and COVID patients make up 5.9% of total hospital beds in the state.

Positivity Rate Continues to Fall

The average for the proportion of positive tests fell last week to 7.58%, which is down from a peak of 24.5% in mid August.  Governor Abbott has said that he will consider reopening more businesses – such as bars – if the positivity rate remains below 10% for a sustained period of time, but he has not defined what that period of time is.  Abbott also promised an update on repoenings last week, but as of Friday he had not given any indication of what types of repoenings he was considering. 

Another key metric to judge the magnitude of the pandemic is hospitalizations. Hospitalizations have fallen to below 3,500 patients for the last several days, down from the peak in late July when the state reported nearly 10,000 hospitalizations a day for several days in a row in late July.

Return of Fans in the Stands

Major college football returned to the state on Saturday.  Both the University of Texas and Texas Tech University hosted their first games of the season on Saturday night.  Both stadiums were planning 25% capacity.  Fans were required to wear masks and practice social distancing.  At UT, the two thousand students attending the game were required to take a COVID test prior to being allowed to attend.  The University reported that 95 of those students ended up testing positive prior to the game.  Overall for their campus, UT is now reporting a total of 282 positive cases. 

Mail in Voting Update

Two rulings came down late last week regarding the ongoing battle of who is eligible to cast a mail in ballot during the pandemic.  On Thursday, the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state can maintain the current requirements in place for eligibility.  The state Democratic Party had filed a lawsuit seeking to expand the eligibility to all registered voters, saying the state’s current application only to voters over the age of 65 resulted in age discrimination. The appeals court disagreed, saying that the privilege allowed to one class of voters does not deny the right to vote to another age group.

On Friday, a state district judge ruled that Harris County can move forward with its plan to send applications for mail in voting to all of its 2.3 million registered voters.  Attorney General Ken Paxton had sought an injunction against the county saying the plan would harm voters in the county.  The state immediately appealed the order, and Harris County officials said they would now work to send out the applications to all registered voters on the county’s voter rolls. Expect more court decisions as early as today, and for this issue to continue its back and forth for the next several days.

There are now 50 days until the November 3rd election, and 110 days until the start of the Texas legislative session.