Texas coronavirus cases fall, along with testing numbers

The number of new cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 continued to fall Thursday in Texas, while the number of tests administered to detect the virus remained well below peak levels.

New cases reported Thursday totaled 5,059, slightly fewer than Wednesday and continuing a downward trend, the Department of State Health Services reported. However, the seven-day rolling average of tests administered came to 38,200 as of Wednesday, the most recent total available. On Aug. 18, the rolling average was 63,900.

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As of Thursday, 4,489 patients were hospitalized in Texas with COVID-19. For the first time since June, the number Tuesday dipped below 5,000. The state has reported almost 598,000 confirmed coronavirus cases since tracking of the pandemic began in March. Of those, 106,915 cases were still activeHowever, the true number of cases is likely higher because many people haven’t been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

The 265 COVID-19 deaths reported Thursday brought the Texas outbreak death toll to more than 12,000.

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Residents who evacuated from the Texas coast as Hurricane Laura approached on Wednesdays have filled hotels and slept in cars after officials sought to avoid traditional mass shelters over fears of spreading COVID-19. The hurricane roared ashore Thursday as a Category 4 hurricane along the Louisiana-Texas border.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.