Texas sees new peak in COVID-19 infection rate

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State coronavirus data reported over the weekend is a mixed bag for Texas.

The seven-day moving average for the share of COVID-19 tests that come back positive, also known as the state’s infection rate, reached 20 percent on Saturday. That means out of the tens of thousands of daily tests conducted in Texas, a fifth are positive for the virus. 

It’s the highest rate reported since the outbreak began in March and exceeds the 17 percent record set last month during a flareup in the number of cases following the re-opening of the state. 

Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas health officials have said they want that infection rate floating at or below six percent. The World Health Organization recommends it remain under 5 percent.

A little more than a dozen U.S. states are currently meeting that goal. Only Washington state and Missippi currently have a higher infection rate than Texas. 

The peak in the state’s infection rate comes with a caveat; the number of daily new tests conducted in Texas has slowly dipped in recent weeks. In July, daily new tests ranged between 50,000 to 60,000. That familiar range has declined in August, reaching 34,000 new tests on Saturday, the lowest number of daily tests reported in Texas since June. 

The peak in the infection rate also comes as daily newly reported cases, fatalities and hospitalizations show a decline since last month. 

Texas Department of State Health

More time will be needed to see if the rise in the infection rate is a genuine spike in the virus or a particularly severe figure amid fluctuation in the number of daily new tests.

As of Sunday, 486,362 cases have been confirmed in the state and 8,459 Texans have died from the virus.

Photo: Texas Department of State Health  

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