Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath speaks to the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Houston.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath speaks to the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Houston.

Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath speaks to the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Houston.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath speaks to the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Houston.

Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle / Staff Photographer

Houston coronavirus updates: What you need to know for August 21

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

9 a.m. Texas to start reporting, posting COVID-19 case data from public schools

Texas will start reporting and posting COVID-19 case data from public schools, the Texas Tribune reported. Districts were already required by the Texas Education Agency to notify any positive cases to their local health department, teachers, staff and families of students, but will now be required to also inform the state of any cases within 24 hours of notice.

The TEA and Department of State Health Services will track and publicly report the cases each week. There is still no federal effort being made to track COVID-19 in schools, but outbreaks have already been reported in schools across the country, per the Washington Post.

Click here for a look at Houston-area districts that have reported COVID-19 cases on their campuses. 

8:45 a.m.: The latest Houston, Texas numbers 

The number of COVID-19 cases in Texas on Thursday increased from 577,132 to 581,999, while deaths increased by 205 to 11,128 total, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of state data.

The positive test rate rose from 10.81 percent to 14.3 percent. The positive test rate has been pushed by local and state officials, namely Gov. Greg Abbott, as a key metric in the fight against the virus. But this metric has been proven unreliable after a backlog of 500,000 viral tests that have been reported over the last week and a half from private entities exposed the state’s convoluted reporting system, the Houston Chronicle reported. 

On HoustonChronicle.com: Texas positivity rate, Abbott’s key metric in fight against COVID, proven to be unreliable

In the Houston region, cases increased by 1,439 to 138,645 total, while deaths rose by 44 to 2,571. Harris County reported 955 new cases and is now at 95,631 cases total.

NOTE: The numbers included in this report represent a one-day change in data from Wednesday, August 19 through Thursday, August 20. 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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