Is It Safe to Travel to Texas Now During Covid in 2021? – September Update

is it safe to visit texas now

The Delta variant is rapidly spreading among a big amount of the unvaccinated Texas population driving up the number of confirmed and suspected adult and pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations skyrocket in recent weeks according to Texas Medical Center president. 

Gov. Greg Abbott’s strategy to fight the pandemic has largely focused on blocking local mandates and committing to protecting the “rights of the unvaccinated.”

In his words, Texas is “past the time of government mandates.” In fact, Abbott announced that kids will return to school in person this fall without any masks or vaccine mandates for them or school members.

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Latest updates

September 5 – At least 45 school districts in Texas forced to temporarily suspend in-person classes

More than 45 small school districts have been forced to temporarily suspend in-person classes due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the Texas Education Agency reported. So far, the measures have affected over 42,000 students.

Between August 23 and 29, 27,353 new positive cases were reported among students in public schools in Texas, making it the highest one-week increase in infections since the pandemic began.

From the beginning of the school year, 51,904 students have been infected by the virus, which is around 1% of the 5.3 million enrolled ones. While 13,026 new infections have been registered among school staff.

Source: The Texas Tribune

Current COVID-19 situation in Texas

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers virtually all of Texas an area of high virus transmission. 

On Wednesday, September 1, the Texas Department of State Health reported 17,033 new cases and 320 deaths.

18% percent of all the new cases in August were children.

Is it safe to travel to Houston?

Downtown Houston Texas
Houston, TX

The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Houston increases on a monthly basis. As of today, the test positivity rate is at 19.5 percent.

Back in June, the average number of hospital admissions was over 300 per week. Today, the city is seeing no less than 380. 

39.1% of Houstonians are unvaccinated and they represent the vast majority of people showing up in emergency rooms and in ICUs. 

This means that getting vaccinated could make the difference between a safe or an unsafe trip to Houston. 

Texas hospital capacity

Texas has an extremely high density of clinical facilities for patient care, and a long tradition of medical research that attracts patients from all over the world. 

In fact, the Texas Medical Center is the largest “medical city” in the world and has plenty of ICUs beds to assist COVID patients. 

The number of beds is not the problem in Texas. William McKeon, president and CEO of Texas Medical Center points out the lack of nurses who have the right expertise around respiratory therapy, as the biggest issue Texas is facing.

“In the ICU, those COVID patients are typically inverted. Some are on respirators. The sickest of the sick will be on an ECMO. It takes real training for technicians, nurses and doctors to manage respiratory therapy.” says the CEO.

But it’s not that Texas did not have enough medical professional personnel to face the threat. After 18 months into the pandemic, the staff is exhausted and experiencing PTSD after seeing thousands of people dying on their watch.

Source: Houston Chronicle 

Why travel to Texas in Pandemic times?

Being the second biggest state in the US behind Alaska, Texas is like a country by itself. 

Texas is extremely diverse in its offering to visitors. The Southern state is blessed with a variety of climates and dramatically diverse landscapes – such as the gulf coast beaches, piney woods, and deserts.

And food! – Texas offers a mix of Native American, Mexican and American cuisine and all dishes are huge!