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Coronavirus in Texas

Coronavirus in Texas: Poor ZIP codes in Harris County hit hardest by coronavirus, according to report

Our staff is closely tracking developments on the new coronavirus in Texas. Check here for live updates.

Maria Romero, age 45, wears a mask and gloves as she harvests cilantro. Romero works for Johnson's Backyard Garden, an org...

Saturday's biggest developments:

  • Texas reports 23,773 cases and 623 deaths
  • Central Texas farmers seeing an uptick in sales at farmers markets

Poor ZIP codes in Harris County hit hardest by coronavirus, Houston Chronicle reports

[12:30 p.m.] Harris County’s poorest ZIP codes faced the greatest concentration of people testing positive for the new coronavirus, an analysis by the Houston Chronicle found. Many of these ZIP codes — which have double or triple the average per capita rate of cases for Harris County — contain predominantly black neighborhoods.

The ZIP code including Sunnyside, a Harris County neighborhood that is 85% black and has a median income of $32,000, has a rate of three in every 1,000 people testing positive for the coronavirus. This is the second-highest rate in the county, only behind the ZIP code containing downtown Houston, which experts say is likely experiencing a high number of cases because of homeless shelters and Harris County Jail, which has seen an outbreak of cases.

Settegast, another predominantly black neighborhood, falls in a ZIP code with a rate of 2.3 cases per 1,000 residents. The average rate countywide is 1 case per 1,000 people in a ZIP code.

These high rates of cases likely arise because people living in these communities work jobs that require them to be around other people, rather than working from home, experts said.

Many residents in low-income neighborhoods have underlying medical conditions, which means they face higher risk if they contract the virus, said Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital.

However, whether these ZIP codes remain the only hotspots in Harris County remains uncertain because of low testing rates and incomplete contact tracing. Texas ranks 49th among states in testing, with 8.5 tests per 1,000 people, according to a U.S. News report.

The county has also had to limit the number of people they are tracking to trace contact with other people because they don’t have the capacity to track every confirmed case. Instead, this tracing has been limited to health care workers and other high-risk populations, said Dr. Dana Beckham, director of the county’s Office of Science, Surveillance and Technology. — Clare Proctor

Texas reports 24,631 cases and 648 deaths on Sunday

[12:00 p.m.] Texas reported 858 more cases of the new coronavirus Sunday, an increase of about 4% over the previous day, bringing the total number of known cases to 24,631. No new counties reported their first cases Sunday; over three quarters of the state’s 254 counties have reported at least one case.

Harris County has reported the most cases, 5,628, followed by Dallas County, which has reported 2,909 cases. See maps of the latest case numbers for each county and case rates per 1,000 residents.

The state has reported 25 additional deaths, bringing the statewide total to 648 — an increase of about 4% from Saturday. Harris County reported five additional deaths, bringing its total to 89 deaths, more than any other county.

As of Sunday, 1,542 patients are known to be hospitalized in Texas. That’s a decrease of 55 patients from Saturday. At least 276,021 tests have been conducted. — Carla Astudillo

Texas reports 23,773 cases and 623 deaths on Saturday

[12:30 p.m.] Texas reported 967 more instances of people testing positive for the new coronavirus Saturday, an increase of about 4% over the previous day, bringing the total number of known cases to 23,773. No new counties reported their first cases Saturday; over three quarters of the state’s 254 counties have reported at least one case.

Harris County has reported the most people with positive tests, 5,482, followed by Dallas County, which has reported 2,834 cases. See maps of the latest case numbers for each county and case rates per 1,000 residents.

The state has reported 30 additional deaths, bringing the statewide total to 623 — an increase of about 5% from Friday. Harris County reported two additional deaths, bringing its total to 84 deaths, more than any other county.

As of Saturday, 1,597 patients are known to be hospitalized in Texas. That’s a decrease of 77 patients from Friday. At least 262,816 tests have been conducted. — Chris Essig

Texas polls on Donald Trump, Greg Abbott, Congress and coronavirus show mix grades

[11:25 a.m.] The latest polling from the University of Texas and The Texas Tribune shows registered Texas voters broadly approve of how Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott is responding to the pandemic and economic crises.

56% of Texas voters approve of the job Abbott is doing while only 32% disapprove. The governor gets better grades than President Donald Trump (48% approve, and 45% disapprove) and Congress (23% approve and 56% disapprove).

Approval ratings for U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were largely unchanged from previous polling. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — who made national news when he suggested that saving the economy was more important than responding to the coronavirushas seen an uptick of disapproval in two groups: registered voters over 65 and independents.

Check out the Tribune's latest on polling here.

Farmers markets helping keep some Texas farmers afloat

[5 a.m.] Farmers accustomed to selling large quantities of cheese, meats and produce to restaurants are finding enough customers at farmers markets to keep their businesses running, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

“Our farmers and ranchers are doing pretty well,” Texas Farmers Market interim executive director Evan Driscoll told the paper.

Still, the markets aren't as social as they were before the novel coronavirus pandemic — and individual Texans aren't directly buying enough to make up for lost revenues from restaurants, according to the Statesman.

Nearly 600 Texans have died from the new coronavirus

[5 a.m.] Texas officials are expected to release the latest number of people who have tested positive from the new coronavirus Saturday. As of Friday, at least 22,806 have been infected and at least 593 people have died. See maps of the latest case numbers for each county and case rates per 1,000 residents.

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