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KHOU 11 Investigates: Texas lags most of the country in coronavirus testing

When it comes to per capita testing, Texas is behind 48 other states and the District of Columbia.

HOUSTON — Coronavirus has affected every state in the country, but all are not tracking the disease equally, a KHOU 11 Investigates analysis has found.

Texas lags behind most of the country in the tests per capita – the percentage of the population that’s been tested.

With 148 tests for every 100,000 people, as of March 31, Texas’ testing rate was behind 48 states and the District of Columbia, according to an analysis of The Covid Tracking Project and U.S. Census data.

The country’s hot spots for coronavirus are also the states with the highest testing rates -- New York, Washington, and Louisiana are one, two and three with 1,054, 859 and 838 tests per 100,000 residents as of March 31, respectively.

Think about 100,000 people as the capacity at a major college football game. With 148 tests in Texas, that’s only a few rows of fans.

The national average was 364 – more than double Texas’ rate. 

RELATED: Here's how Houston-area residents can get tested for coronavirus

Another way to look at it is the raw numbers in Texas: With about 43,000 COVID-19 tests so as of March 31, we’ve tested about the same amount as Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Jersey, even though there are more Texans than those three states combined.

“They at the federal level are constantly working on increasing supplies and we are anticipating far greater supplies coming forward,” Gov. Greg Abbott said about Texas’ testing efforts during a news conference Tuesday.

RELATED: FDA fast-tracks COVID-19 testing device that can deliver results in 5 minutes

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.

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