coronavirus

More Than 18,000 New Virus Cases, 332 More Deaths in Texas

Texas health officials reported more than 18,000 new and probable coronavirus cases on Saturday and 332 more deaths due to the illness caused by the virus.

There have been more than 2 million virus cases and 36,320 deaths as a result of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the Texas health department.

During the past two weeks, the seven-day rolling average of COVID deaths in Texas has increased from 305.71 per day to 325.86, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Texas ranked eighth in the nation in the number of new cases per capita with 882.41 cases per 100,000 population.

The rolling average of new cases in the state has declined from 22,520.29 per day to 16,962.71, according to the Johns Hopkins data.

Hospitalizations in the state has fallen slightly with 11,473 patients reported Saturday, after reaching a high of 14,218 on Jan. 11.

The state has received nearly 2.9 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine and more than 2.2 million have received an inoculation, including 413,844 who have received both doses of the two-dose protocol, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

The vaccine is currently only being administered to those who are part of Phase 1A and 1B, as outlined by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Those in Phase 1A are front-line healthcare workers or residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes those who are over the age of 65, or those over the age of 16 with a chronic medical condition that puts them at risk for severe illness.

The DSHS said Feb. 4 they are continuing to discuss when to expand vaccine availability to group 1C and whether or not that group will include teachers.

Once vaccinated, people are expected to get some level of protection within a couple of weeks after the first shot, but full protection may not happen until a couple of weeks after the second shot. Even when fully vaccinated, it's still possible to become infected by the virus since the vaccine does not offer 100% protection.

The Texas DSHS advises that the vaccine will not be readily available for the general public until late spring or early summer 2021.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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