Houston Coronavirus update: what you need to know for July 28

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

11:50 pm: AG Paxton issues mandate to close school

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday issued guidance on reopening schools during the epidemic, stating that local health officials cannot issue comprehensive orders to close schools in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Harris County and Houston area health officials on Friday ordered all public and nonreligious private county schools to delay individual instruction for the first eight weeks of the 2020-21 school year. The order also required all school-sponsored events not to take place in person and required districts to submit a written plan when the individual could resume instruction safely.

Paxton said in the statement that school officials, not health or city and county officials, should decide when and how to open their campuses and said state law “allows health officials to issue blanket quarantine orders.” Does not give. ”

“Our children’s education is an essential Texas value and there is no statewide order to open any schools,” Paxton said. “While local health authorities may have some authority to close schools in limited circumstances, they cannot issue blanket orders to close all schools on purely preventive grounds. This decision stays true with the leaders of the school system. “

Read the full statement here.

9:30: The latest Houston, Texas number

Despite the dwindling number of new cases, Texas reported more than 700 new COVID-19 deaths and now has a total of 5,809 deaths following the Texas Health Department’s significant change in its data reporting on Monday.

DSHS is now using Death Certificate data for its count of COVID deaths, leading to dramatically higher counties in some Texas counties than others, and some counties have higher numbers than state figures.

Despite a clear increase in deaths, the state is shrinking in new cases and rolling average for new cases. According to a Houston Chronicle data analysis, from Sunday to Monday, Texas added 4,331 new cases and now a total of 395,338 new cases. The rolling average for new cases is now at 7,414.6, marking the eighth straight day in a row with a decrease in rolling average. The statewide positive examination rate also continues to decline and is now 13.22 percent.

The Houston area added 1,571 new cases and now stands at a total of 94,438 cases. Harris County saw an increase of 846 new cases and a total of 66,195 cases.

At HOUSTONCHRONICLE.COM: So, how bad is COVID-19 in Houston? A guide to reading data

Due to the transition to reporting to comply with the new federal requirements, DSHS is still reporting incomplete COVID-19 hospitalizations. Only 82 percent of hospitals reported complete data to DSHS on Sunday, resulting in hospital declines. In view of this, the state on Sunday reported 9,781 patients hospitalized for COVID-19.

Note: The numbers included in this report represent a one-day change in data from Sunday, July 26 to Monday, July 27. It is still unclear how many of the new cases in the state can be attributed to prison inmates for the crime department. Justice. The Houston Chronicle’s analysis of COVID-19 case data now includes potential and pending cases. The change is based on interviews with several public health officials and epidemiologists, as well as conforming to the CDC guidelines on reporting.

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