By Texas Tribune Staff
Texas reported the largest single-day number of new coronavirus cases Thursday, though health officials attributed the surge to increased testing at prisons, which have become hot spots, and test results from the holiday weekend just now coming in.
Texas reported 1,855 more cases of the new coronavirus Thursday, bringing the total number of known cases to 59,776. In the last week, the state reported an average of 1,072 new cases per day.
Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said Thursday’s increase is likely due to the numbers catching up from the Memorial Day holiday, noting that there were significantly fewer cases over the weekend. He also said some of the results from mass testing at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice are starting to come in. Jones and Walker counties saw spikes, and both have state prisons.
No new counties reported their first cases Thursday; almost every county in Texas has reported at least one confirmed case of the virus. Harris County has reported the most cases, 11,542, followed by Dallas County, which has reported 9,385 cases. The Tribune publishes maps of the latest case numbers for each county and case rates per 1,000 residents.
The state has reported 39 additional deaths, bringing the statewide total to 1,601. In the last week, the state reported an average of 23 additional deaths per day. Harris County reported two additional deaths Thursday, bringing its total to 223 deaths, more than any other county.
Gov. Greg Abbott is looking at two metrics to justify his decision to restart the Texas economy: the positive test rate and hospitalization levels. As of Wednesday, at least 873,218 viral tests and 88,643 antibody tests have been administered.
The positive test rate is the percentage of new cases to viral tests conducted. The current average daily infection rate of 4.31% is calculated by dividing the seven-day average of viral tests conducted by the seven-day average of positive cases. This shows how the situation has changed over time by deemphasizing daily swings. Public health experts want the infection rate to remain below 6%.
As of Thursday, 1,692 patients are known to be hospitalized in Texas. That’s an increase of 47 patients from Wednesday.