Total hospitalizations of COVID-19 inpatients reached a high of just shy of 14,000 during the last few weeks of August, according to data from the Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
The decline in hospitalizations over the past week has been most prominent in the regions covering South Texas.
Houston’s hospital region has also seen a notable decline, having reached a peak of 3,500 total hospitalizations on August 24 and dropping to a recent total of 3,344 as of September 6.
Hospitalizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex have not had a decline in hospitalizations for quite as long, seeing a peak of hospitalizations of 3,639 on September 5 and dipping back down to 3,525 on September 6.
Notably, DSHS has begun providing data on the number of hospitalizations broken down between adult and pediatric patients.
The new information shows that the newer strains of the virus that have been spreading are still primarily affecting adults.
Out of the total 13,499 hospitalizations reported by the state for September 6, only 304 — about two percent — have been pediatric.
The percentage of pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations has been higher in the DFW area, which DSHS reports was at 132 patients on September 6, about four percent of the region’s total.
Along with hospitalizations, the state is also reporting an even longer decline in the testing positivity rate.
According to the data from DSHS, the positivity rate for molecular tests reached a high of almost 19 percent in early August but has since declined to below 14 percent.
The number of new confirmed cases has not seen a decline for as long, but the seven-day average of that metric reached a high of slightly above 15,000 on September 5 and dropped just below 12,000 in the few days that followed.
Notably, the metrics listed above all saw similar if not greater heights in the previous two waves of COVID-19, the first in July of 2020 and the second throughout the winter and peaking in January 2021.
That similarity comes despite almost 69 percent of adults in the state and 86 percent of adults 65 or older reportedly having received one vaccine dose.
Additionally, the state’s approach to COVID-19 precautions has been vastly different during this wave of cases than the previous two.
While a statewide mask mandate and capacity limits were put in place by Gov. Greg Abbott and left there during the previous two waves, those policies practically came to an end in March.
Only over the past month as schools have returned for the fall have local ISDs attempted to implement their own mask mandates.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.