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Aug. 18 COVID-19 case count: Texas announces 7,282 new cases, 216 new deaths

The state is still updating the total coronavirus case count due to a backlog from several commercial labs and an upgrade to the state's system.

HOUSTON — Texas' Department of State Health Services announced 7,282 new COVID-19 cases and 216 newly reported deaths on Tuesday. DSHS is still updating the state's total case count after several backlogs from commercial labs and an upgrade to the state's lab reporting system.

Texas now reports a total of 550,232 cases and a positivity rate of 11.87%.

The Houston Health Department reported 382 new cases Tuesday, and six newly reported deaths. Total cases in the city now sit at 58,554, with 655 deaths.

The city reported its seven-day average positivity rate Tuesday as 15.9%, meaning for every seven people tested in the city, more than one is positive for coronavirus.

Harris County, outside the city, reported 546 new cases and nine deaths.

Combined, the county and the city have reported 93,872 total cases and 1,073 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

RELATED: Aug. 17 COVID-19 case count: Texas passes 10,000-death milestone

RELATED: Texas COVID-19 case count August 14: DSHS reports 7,018 new cases, 313 deaths

Establishing trends due to the backlogs is difficult: local health departments can choose how to report the cases, by acknowledging how many of the new daily cases are from a backlog, and which are truly new, as Fort Bend Health and Human Services has done.

On Aug. 15, 16 and 17, DSHS reported new daily tests in the high 50,000s. The last time it reported numbers that high was on Aug. 4. It is unclear whether the recent spike in daily tests is a result of the backlogs. KHOU is awaiting a response from DSHS.

The last time Texas' positivity rate was this low was in late June, when the seven-day average was 11.73% as of June 25.