The Texas Re-Opening Is Conditioned On Monitored and Report Health Data. We Will Report It Here.

COVID-19 Continuous Update

Our ability to conduct the 2020 Pate Swap Meet on October 1 -3 is subject to the successful opening of Texas after the lockdown from the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening of Texas is happening now and early results after the first five weeks have been very successful. Continuing success depends on the surveillance of certain health data that will be collected and reported to the public to make sure the virus does not rebound.

The re-opening of Texas and our economy and public events are conditioned on this collection and reporting of critical health data from around the state. This information is public, from official sources and available for us to report here.

Please note that the data presented here (below in the data dashboard) is imperfect. Early medical data in epidemiology (the branch of medicine which deals with the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases and other factors relating to health) always provisional. Most reporting agencies are closed on weekends and holidays which create holes in data and then surges. Outcomes of cases lag daily reporting and take weeks or even months to resolve. Important data on "recoveries" will take months to resolve and are prime examples of "trailing indicators."

Also, there are structural aspects of reporting that must be taken into account as well. For example, certain increases in the number of cases are artifacts of increased testing; more tests naturally equate to more reported cases. Also, the tests are not perfect. False positives and negatives in each test batch from each manufacturer must be further worked out in the analysis. The statisticians/epidemiologists will do this as part of their normal work, but it takes time to collect enough data to become clear. This is why in-depth studies usually take a year or two to produce. Early real-time data can be useful, but it must be considered provisional, subject to change, and can be a bit challenging for the layperson to understand.

Even the definition of what is a COVID-19 "case" or "fatality" is currently a bit fuzzy. Often tests are not performed and presumptive diagnoses are used. Without testing, COVID-19, flu, and pneumonia can be related and can easily become convoluted/conflated and the true diagnosis becomes unclear. In the rush to collect data on the spread of the virus, protocols have been put in place that may be revised in the future. This is entirely normal in the early stages of a pandemic and will be clarified and settled by academics and researchers in the future. These issues too are part of the provisional nature of the early data.

In the final report on COVID-19 release months and years from now, we will have much more clarity in hindsight.

The Governor's Executive Orders

In Texas, the legal authority for certain COVID-19 emergency orders and powers spring from certain Executive Orders and Waivers issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. There are many due to the nature of Texas laws and the Texas Constitution.

To see them in detail, visit https://gov.texas.gov/coronavirus

Opening Texas

To date, Governor Abbott has taken the following actions:

  1. On April 27, Governor Abbott announces Phase One of the State’s ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and publishes online a report and checklists for download for individuals, employers, employees, customers and others.
  2. On May 5, Governor Abbott announces expanded openings of certain businesses and activities; announces new guidance from TEA on graduation ceremonies; announces the creation of Surge Response Teams to combat any COVID-19 flare-ups in Texas; and publishes updated Open Texas 9 checklists online for businesses/services now open, for openings effective May 8 and for openings effective May 18.
  3. On May 18, Governor Greg Abbott announces the second phase of the State’s ongoing plan to safely and strategically open Texas while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Under Phase II, restaurants may increase their occupancy to 50% and additional services and activities that remained closed under Phase I may open with restricted occupancy levels and minimum standard health protocols laid out DSHS.
  4. Governor Abbott and DPS announce phased reopening of driver license offices.  Governor Abbott issues Executive Order (GA-24) terminating air travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  5. Governor Abbott expands covered services in Executive Order 23.
  6. On May 26, Governor Abbott issues a proclamation expanding additional services and activities that can open under Phase II of the State's plan to safely and strategically open. 

The Plan to Open Texas

The full plan for re-opening Texas can be seen here. Please note the updates to the plan where they occur in the PDF.

The website of the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas.

Case Data Dashboard

Click here to see the State of Texas Dashboard for case data.

Please note that ALL DATA shown in the dashboard are provisional and subject to change. The numbers are estimates based on several assumptions related to hospitalization rates and recovery times, which were informed by data available to date. These assumptions are subject to change as we learn more about COVID-19. The estimated number does not include data from any cases reported prior to 3/24/2020. This dashboard will be updated daily by 3:30 PM.

Leading Indicators

Certain data can be called "leading indicators" or "trailing indicators." Leading indicators have early predictive value.

In COVID-19 analysis, a key leading indicator of the seriousness of public health is the number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19. Since the vast majority of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic or mild, the metric of the number of cases alone, while valuable, doesn't provide a complete picture of the seriousness of the problem. More data is needed. If a patient is sick enough to be admitted to a hospital, there is a clear indicator of something being serious since, by law, checking into a hospital isn't like checking into a hotel; there must be a medical reason attested to by a doctor for being admitted.

The number of hospitalizations is being closely watched as a leading indicator of any bounce of COVID-19.

Today, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott tweeted at mid-day: 

Yes, we're not completely out of the woods yet, but the Governor's tweet is just another indicator that we're headed in the right direction for a safe re-opening of Texas in the early summer. More business being open and more people out of their home interacting doesn't appear to be leading to a resurgence of high numbers.

And, yes, the surveillance of public health data will continue for some time.

Phase 3 Re-Opening Started

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday, June 3, announced his third phase of reopening Texas businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing virtually business to operate at 50% capacity effective immediately.

Restaurants were already permitted to be open at 50% capacity. In Phase 3 they can immediately increase their table size from six people to 10, and on June 12, they can ramp up their capacities to 75%.

See: https://www.texastribune.org/2020/06/03/texas-reopening-coronavirus-greg-abbott/