TEXAS, USA — When talking about COVID-19 in Texas, there are many questions people have connected to where data comes from and how it is collected.
There are four main statistics gathered and released by the Texas Department of State Health Services: cases, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccinations.
Here is a closer look at the process behind collecting these statistics.
In Texas, there are more than 50 local health departments that handle case investigations. Each department handles case investigations in their respective jurisdiction.
For counties and cities that don't have their own health department, the closest regional office from the Texas Department of State Health Services tracks those cases.
Whether positive or not, all test results are received by local health departments and reported to the state health officials.
Each case has an investigation number associated with it.
To prevent a single case from being counted multiple times, someone who is counted as a positive test won't be counted again in the state's system until 90 days have passed.
Epidemiologists will make sure each case is a new infection so it isn't counted multiple times.
State health officials pull hospital information directly from a federal reporting portal which Texas hospitals are required to submit certain patient data into.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services determines what information and fields state hospitals need to provide.
Among the requirements, this includes how many COVID-19 patients a hospital has day-to-day.
The state gets this information regarding COVID-19 deaths directly from death certificates that go into its database.
There is usually a two-week to one-month delay until a certificate is finished filing. The process includes a medical certifier going in and putting the cause of death as well as contributing causes.
In Texas, COVID-19 has to be a contributing cause to someone's death for it to be added to the state's database.
To be considered a vaccine provider in Texas, that company or business is required to report each dose given out.
The state has an online immunization tracking system, known as ImmTrac2, that allows providers to directly upload vaccine information.