Erath County's COVID cases up 100%; Texas cases surge 147.9%

Mike Stucka

New coronavirus cases leaped in Texas in the week ending Sunday, rising 147.9% as 111,397 cases were reported. The previous week had 44,936 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Erath County COVID-19 report through Dec. 26. A new report will be released later this week.

Texas ranked 39th among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week coronavirus cases in the United States increased 104% from the week before, with 2,833,203 cases reported. With 8.71% of the country's population, Texas had 3.93% of the country's cases in the last week. Across the country, 49 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Christmas and New Year's significantly disrupted who got tested, how many people got tested, what labs operated and what government agencies reported on time. Some of the Christmas weekend reports were shifted into the latest week. Most states reported no cases at all the weekend of New Year's, which will bump those reports into the following week. Consequently, week-to-week comparisons will be skewed and these numbers will be unreliable even as they're accurate to what states reported.

Erath County reported 42 cases and zero deaths in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 21 cases and one death. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 6,616 cases and 109 deaths.

Erath County Emergency Management released the following statement along with its Dec. 28 report:

"Our numbers have increased more than double from last week from 29 active cases and 2 hospitalized to 64 active cases and 5 hospitalized. Please do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"If you are in need of hand sanitizer or disposable mask and are unable to locate them, please contact our office at 254-965-1326 for assistance.

"Please remember the basics:

"Wash hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer, if soap and water is not available.

"If you are not feeling well or running a fever, stay away from others. Consider staying home from gatherings.

"Cover your nose and mouth when you cough with a tissue and discard the tissue immediately. Use the bend of your arm if you do not have a tissue. Wash your hands.

"If you are not vaccinated or need a booster, please do so or talk to your medical advisor/doctor for directions. Vaccinations and boosters are free and available at most pharmacies."

In addition, Texas Health Stephenville announced changes to its visitation policy in light of the recent uptick in the number of positive cases.

"With the current omicron surge, we're adjusting our visitation policy effective 12/30," reads a social media post from the hospital. "Non-COVID inpatients can have two visitors per day, one at a time. L&D and postpartum two visitors/day, one at a time (doulas are part of the care team and will not count as a visitor). ED can have 1 visitor at bedside. All visitors must wear a hospital-issued mask. Full visitation policy can be found here:"

Within Texas, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Loving County with 4,142 cases per 100,000 per week; Hemphill County with 1,466; and Hays County with 1,073. The Centers for Disease Control says high levels of community transmission begin at 100 cases per 100,000 per week.

Adding the most new cases overall were Harris County, with 36,826 cases; Dallas County, with 8,994 cases; and Tarrant County, with 7,363. Weekly case counts rose in 219 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Harris, Dallas and Tarrant counties.

>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases

Texas ranked 29th among states in share of people receiving at least one shot, with 66.8% of its residents at least partially vaccinated. The national rate is 73.3%, a USA TODAY analysis of CDC data shows. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are the most used in the United States, require two doses administered a few weeks apart.

In the week ending Thursday, Texas reported administering another 593,458 vaccine doses, including 149,965 first doses. In the previous week, the state administered 837,022 vaccine doses, including 197,167 first doses. In all, Texas reported it has administered 40,612,073 total doses.

Across Texas, cases fell in 25 counties, with the best declines in Hopkins County, with 38 cases from 759 a week earlier; in Wood County, with 34 cases from 222; and in Rains County, with 5 cases from 126.

In Texas, 422 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 245 people were reported dead.

A total of 4,588,307 people in Texas have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 75,744 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 55,114,057 people have tested positive and 826,060 people have died.

>> Track coronavirus cases across the United States

Texas's COVID-19 hospital admissions rising

USA TODAY analyzed federal hospital data as of Sunday, Jan. 2.

Likely COVID patients admitted in the state:

  • Last week: 13,954
  • The week before that: 7,862
  • Four weeks ago: 6,394

Likely COVID patients admitted in the nation:

  • Last week: 146,041
  • The week before that: 99,270
  • Four weeks ago: 86,518

Hospitals in 42 states reported more COVID-19 patients than a week earlier, while hospitals in 32 states had more COVID-19 patients in intensive-care beds. Hospitals in 48 states admitted more COVID-19 patients in the latest week than a week prior, the USA TODAY analysis of U.S. Health and Human Services data shows.

The USA TODAY Network is publishing localized versions of this story on its news sites across the country, generated with data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control. If you have questions about the data or the story, contact Mike Stucka at