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Aug. 19 COVID-19 case count: Texas announces 6,474 new cases, 309 new deaths

The state is still clearing a backlog of coronavirus cases. DSHS added 550 backlogged cases to Wednesday's state total.

HOUSTON — The Texas Department of State Health Services announced 6,474 new COVID-19 cases and 309 more deaths related to the coronavirus on Wednesday.

DSHS also added 550 backlogged cases to the state's overall total.

Texas now has reported 557,256 and 10,559 deaths from the virus.

The current number of people in Texas hospitals with coronavirus continues to drop. As of Wednesday, that number fell to 5,974, the lowest since June 30.

The positivity rate, which has been in question since the state updated its computer system and received several large backlogs, now sits at 10.81%.

DSHS press officer Lara Anton said Tuesday it may take through the end of the week to clear the backlogged cases, which can affect the positivity rate.

In Houston, the health department is also working through the backlogged cases the state is dealing with. Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse said Wednesday afternoon that they are scanning for any duplicates and removing them.

He said the hospitalization numbers are encouraging, as is the city's positivity rate, which came out Tuesday night as 15.9%.

Persse said the positivity rate is trending in the right direction, but he is still encouraging people to get tested, even if they do not feel sick, to help them get a more clear picture of the virus' spread.

“While this is good information, I remain concerned that we have so few people going to get tested that at some point that will cross a threshold where its predictability will be tarnished. There won’t be enough of a sample to know what’s going on in the community," Persse said.

He said roughly 40% of people are asymptomatic and can be unknowingly spreading the virus while out and about because they do not feel sick.

Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city's testing sites are seeing about 200 people a day when the sites can handle about 1,000 tests a day at each location.

“It’s important for you to go get tested so that if you’re one of those folks spreading the virus unknowingly because you don’t have any symptoms that you can stop spreading the virus to your family. And No. 2, by having lots of folks going to get tested we will continue to have a good grasp on the positivity rate and make sure it continues to fall because that’s related to things like opening schools," Persse said.

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