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Coronavirus live updates: Texas eclipses 850,000 COVID cases over the weekend

Houston Chronicle logo Houston Chronicle 10/19/2020 Andrea Leinfelder, Houston Chronicle, Hannah Dellinger

The Houston Chronicle’s Live Updates blog documents the latest events in the coronavirus outbreak in the Houston area, the state of Texas and across the U.S. with a focus on health and economic impacts.

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Total coronavirus cases:

• 856,460 cases in Texas, including 17,388 deaths.

• 213,093 in the Houston region, including 3,634 deaths.

• More than 8.1 million in the U.S., including 219,679 deaths. Click here to see a U.S. map with state-by-state death tolls and the latest coronavirus case counts.

• More than 40 million in the world, with more than 1.1 million deaths. More than 27.5 million people have recovered. You can view the worldwide totals here.

Resources on COVID-19 and Texas' reopening: Use our interactive page to track the spread of cases through Harris County and the rest of Texas. For a detailed look at our state, check out the Chronicle's Texas Coronavirus Map. To get regular updates on our coverage, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.

Latest updates from today:

8 a.m. Houston ISD welcomed back an estimated 80,000-plus of its nearly 200,000 students to classrooms on Monday, becoming the region’s final large district to reopen campuses for in-person instruction, reports Jacob Carpenter.

The return will come with new safety, scheduling and teaching protocols, some of which will vary across the district’s 280 campuses. All students returning to buildings must wear masks, while staff members will direct children to frequently use hand sanitizer and wash their hands. Many schools plan to stagger bell schedules, aiming to limit hallway traffic, while most teachers are preparing to provide in-person and online instruction at the same time.

The restart arrives as many districts across the state report only sporadic cases of students and staff stepping foot on campus while infected with COVID-19, a positive early sign amid the pandemic. As of Friday, seven Houston-area high schools had reported outbreaks involving more than 10 active cases at one time, with no elementary or middle schools reaching that threshold.

However, HISD’s return comes with some risks. About 85 percent of HISD students are Black or Hispanic, two demographic groups that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In addition, case counts and hospitalizations in Greater Houston have started creeping up in the past couple weeks after a major dip in the late summer.

And in case you missed it, HISD will not hold virtual or in-person classes on Election Day because more than 100 schools will be used as polling places.

7:30 a.m. In Texas, the statewide total of COVID cases increased to 856,460, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of state data. That’s an increase of 4,892 cases from Saturday.

Texas also added 26 newly reported deaths from Saturday's total, for a total of 17,388 statewide.

The state's rolling average for new cases is now at 5,129.1.

The Houston region count is at 213,093, up 419 from Saturday. Harris County added 412 cases Sunday, 193 of which are older cases and is at 154,367 cases total. There have been 3,634 deaths in the Houston region, up 3 from Saturday.

The positive test rate is now at 8.30%. The rolling average of viral tests is now at 62,767.

Statewide, there were 4,226 patients hospitalized for lab-confirmed COVID-19. There are 62,991 total staffed hospital beds, 12,728  beds available and 1,048 ICU beds available. There are 7,491 ventilators available.

- Stephanie Lamm

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