(Texas Tribune) – Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect Texas Department of State Health Services revisions to case counts made Saturday evening.
The new coronavirus continues popping up throughout Texas and at least 63 people have now tested positive, according to the latest statewide figures released Saturday.
There are cases in each of the state’s five largest urban areas, though the virus has now also appeared in counties spanning from East Texas to the Gulf Coast. This table shows county of residence for patients — they may be undergoing treatment in another part of the state.
Updated figured released Saturday evening now include two new cases reported in Brazoria County, which is now the third place in Texas where officials suspect community spread, which is how health officials classify cases when they don’t know how a patient was infected. In most Texas cases so far, patients had known contact with an infected person or traveled from an area where the virus is prevalent.
The Texas Department of State Health Services is releasing statewide data daily, so the agency’s figures may lag behind individual county totals that local officials are tracking in their areas. The number of known cases is also potentially limited by the availability of tests.
It's not limited to the state's metro areas, though. Cases have emerged in Gregg and Smith counties in East Texas and Bell county outside if the Austin area.
In issuing his emergency declaration, Gov. Greg Abbott said public health labs could test about 270 people per day as of Friday, but he expects statewide capacity to expand into the thousands as more private labs come online. DSHS’ figures Saturday include positive tests from state and private labs.
The continued increase in cases comes one day after Abbott declared a statewide public health disaster and announced plans to increase the state’s testing capacity.
School districts and colleges throughout the state have suspended classes. Several local officials have enacted emergency declarations, canceled large events and encouraged Texans to socially distance themselves.
Countless businesses have encouraged or mandated employees work from home. Places of worship are canceling in-person services.
The cascade of closures and mounting advice that people limit contact with others in public could disrupt Texans’ normal routines in the near future. Already, people have rushed to grocery stores to stockpile food and household items. Abbott and retail representatives have urged Texans to relax. They say that stores plan to be stocked for months, eliminating the need to load up on items.
Meanwhile, Texas business owners who were already feeling a financial pinch are worried about the economic impact of people avoiding public places and travel.