Ray Shackelford, left, and Erika Johnson, right, with the Better Together campaign, go door-to-door at an apartment complex in a high-positivity zip code providing COVID-19 door-hangers Friday, July 31, 2020, in Houston.

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Ray Shackelford, left, and Erika Johnson, right, with the Better Together campaign, go door-to-door at an apartment complex in a high-positivity zip code providing COVID-19 door-hangers Friday, July 31, 2020,

… more

Photo: Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

Photo: Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

Ray Shackelford, left, and Erika Johnson, right, with the Better Together campaign, go door-to-door at an apartment complex in a high-positivity zip code providing COVID-19 door-hangers Friday, July 31, 2020, in Houston.

less

Ray Shackelford, left, and Erika Johnson, right, with the Better Together campaign, go door-to-door at an apartment complex in a high-positivity zip code providing COVID-19 door-hangers Friday, July 31, 2020,

… more

Photo: Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

Houston coronavirus updates: What you need to know for August 20

Chron.com is following the latest headlines on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Houston area

9 a.m.: The latest Houston, Texas numbers 

Clocking in at 10.81 percent, the state’s COVID-19 positive test rate, a metric local and state officials have repeatedly stressed as critical to slowing the pandemic down, on Wednesday reached the lowest level recorded since late June, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of state data.

As of Wednesday evening, the number of COVID-19 cases in Texas increased from 570,583 to 577,132, while deaths increased by 303 to 10,923. This marks the fifth highest day for newly reported deaths since the pandemic began.

In the Houston region, cases increased by 1,844 to 137,206 cases total, while deaths increased by 62 to 2,527 total. It’s important to note that some Houston-area counties are reporting backlogged data; for example, Montgomery County reported that of its 567 new cases since Friday, 402 were from June and July, per the Houston Chronicle’s data team. Harris County reported 804 new cases and is now at 94,676 cases total.

On HoustonChronicle.com: Houston’s Hispanics are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Language barriers are a large reason why.

The Houston Health Department will hit the streets again this weekend going door-to-door in high-positivity, vulnerable neighborhoods to share critical COVID-19 health information with residents there, according to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

This Saturday, the @HoustonHealth Department’s outreach team will be back canvassing in high-positivity communities.

Our goal is to educate and empower Houstonians with knowledge to prevent COVID-19, especially in high-positivity communities.

— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) August 19, 2020

The department first canvassed hard-hit neighborhoods in late July as part of its “Better Together,” or “Todos Juntos. Mejor,” campaign that seeks to fill information gaps with multilingual messaging. Minority groups such as Houston’s Hispanic population are bearing the brunt of the pandemic and language barriers are a large reason why. The department is trying to combat the harsh statistics that show Hispanics are dying and contracting the virus at alarmingly high rates as compared to other ethnicities and racial groups.

NOTE: The numbers included in this report represent a one-day change in data from Tuesday, August 18 through Wednesday, August 19. It is still unclear how many of the state’s new cases can be attributed to jail inmates from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The Houston Chronicle’s analysis of COVID-19 case data now includes probable and pending cases. This change is based on interviews with multiple public health officials and epidemiologists, as well as in line with CDC guidelines on reporting. DSHS is now using death certificate data for its counts of COVID deaths, leading some Texas counties to have dramatically higher counts than others and some counties to have higher numbers than state figures


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