As the state of Texas has recently begun offering COVID-19 vaccine access to all Texans over age 16, statistics surrounding the disease have started showing a significant decrease in pandemic-related sufferings across the state. From lower numbers of positive test results and fewer hospitalizations due to coronavirus infections to drops in long-term care cases and a downturn in the number of deaths from the disease, Texas is showing signs of getting an upper hand in the fight against COVID-19. These statistics from data collected over the last month or so are a hopeful sign for Texans.

According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the state’s COVID-19 antigen test positivity rate by specimen collection date was at 2.19% as the first full week of April 2021 began. The positive antigen test results climbed as the pandemic worsened, only starting to drop appreciably after the state’s record-high positivity rate was documented at the start of January. (The rate was 13.76% on January 3.)

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state also has decreased, the HHS reports. Texas state health officials report that hospitalizations are at their lowest point since June at under 3000 people, well down from the record of 14000-plus patients in early January. In El Paso, one of the state’s cities hardest hit by COVID-19, the number of hospitalizations (relative to total hospital capacity) has been hovering between 7% and 8% since the end of March.

There also has been a drop in the number of COVID-19-related long-term care cases in Texas; these are cases that have affected people in nursing homes, assisted living centers, and other care facilities. Vaccinations in these care centers and facilities are increasing, both for staff and patients/residents. A decrease in such cases, which have been in the news a lot since the start of the pandemic and affect some of the most vulnerable Texans, is yet another encouraging sign of keeping the disease in check.

As for deaths caused by COVID-19, Texas is seeing a marked decline in those average numbers as well. Even as the fatality data cited by the HHS continues to include both confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 (as recorded on death certificates), state officials are reporting that vaccines are decreasing fatalities in Texas.

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Written by: Erika Mehlhaff