AUSTIN, Texas — Health experts agree that there’s no question that testing for COVID-19 is vitally important. But based on the data provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas continues to lag behind almost all other states.
While the number of tests administered in Texas has increased to 538,000, testing in the state has only reached 1.8% of the nearly 30 million people who live here.
Nowhere are low test numbers more apparent than in the 12-county Central Texas area, where test rates in 10 of the counties fall far below that 1.8% state average.
The counties that report test rates that are less than one-half of the state average include:
- Lee County: 0.58%
- Burnet County: 0.63%
- Caldwell County: 0.63%
- Bastrop County: 0.67%
- Fayette County: 0.77%
- Llano County: 0.77%
- Williamson County: 0.88%
In Travis, Hays and Gillespie counties, test rates are also less than the overall Texas rate, with 1.4% tested in Travis County, 1.2% in Hays County and 0.93% in Gillespie County.
Only two Central Texas counties exceed the state rate: Mason County, with a 5.2% test rate, and Blanco County, with a 4% test rate.
Texas ranks 46th of 50 states for the number of tests administered, with 18 per 1,000 population tested. In contrast, these states rank in the top five:
- Rhode Island, with 88 persons per 1,000 tested
- New York, with 62 per 1,000
- North Dakota, with 61 per 1,000
- Massachusetts, with 57 per 1,000
- New Mexico, with 49 per 1,000
Texas officials say virus testing remains a priority as the number of tests being made available continues to rise.
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