By Gary Borders
Texas Press Association
While new cases of COVID-19 are spiking again in the Upper Midwest and Northeast, the number in Texas dropped during the past week to 14,745 — down 36% from the previous week. The number of new deaths reported in Texas by the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University in the past week totaled 254, down 57% from the previous week.
However, the number of hospitalizations of lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients in the state was virtually unchanged at 2,681, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The number of Texas who are fully vaccinated continues to inch upward, with 15.838 million reported by DSHS as of Sunday. That is 54.3% of the state’s total population.
Still, while noting hospitalizations are at their lowest levels in many months, officials are still cautious. “We’re certainly in a better place right now than we have been in quite a while,” Chris Van Deusen, spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services, told the Texas Tribune. “But we are sort of starting to see things change again. And you know, if there’s one thing we know about this pandemic, it’s that it’s going to keep changing.”
Meanwhile, another variant of COVID-19 named “Omicron” has been discovered in South Africa and several other countries. Experts are concerned that the new variant may spread more aggressively than previous versions and could prove to be resistant to current vaccines.