Last week, the Texas Department of State Health Services provided the first glimpse at county-level COVID-19 testing data.
As of April 8, Travis County had tested 6,221 people for the coronavirus, per the state data. Test results are not immediately available, so it's unclear what the exact rate of positive results is. On that same day, local officials reported 597 cases—just under 10% of the total number of county residents tested.
The Dallas Morning News calculated the per-capita test rate of the 10 most populous Texas counties. Travis leads the pack, with 49 tests per 10,000 residents, ahead of Dallas, with 36 tests per capita, and Harris, with 27. The overall state rate is 33 tests per 10,000 residents.
Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott told Travis County commissioners this morning that he expects local testing access to improve as labs increase their processing capacity and rapid testing is rolled out at hospitals.
"As we continue on through April and into May, we're going to see more testing available and faster results," Dr. Escott said.
Antibody blood tests are also coming, but Dr. Escott said people should not look to these results to confirm if they are contagious.
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With an extremely limited vaccine supply, Austin Public Health is now focusing its distribution events on individuals who are 65 years of age or older, public health officials said Friday.
"We have more than 129,000 of (people in this category)," APH Director Stephanie Hayden-Howard said Friday, adding Austin residents who do not fall into this demographic group to be patient.
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