Texas sets record in daily coronavirus hospitalizations, spike in cases continues

Tribune Content Agency

AUSTIN, Texas — For the seventh day in a row, Texas set a new high for the number of coronavirus patients in hospitals, with state health officials reporting nearly 3,000 hospitalizations.

The Texas Department of State Health Services also tallied on Thursday 3,516 new cases, a record for the state if you exclude a batch of prison cases reported all at once on Tuesday.

And the health agency reported 43 new deaths, the second-highest daily total this month.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday warned Texans of a spike but he said it should be expected with increased testing and some counties reporting cases out of prisons and assisted living centers this week.

However, the health agency reported just 16,388 new tests Thursday, significantly lower than the previous day’s 35,880.

The state’s 7-day rolling average rate of positive cases compared to the total number of tests also continued to grow, reaching 7.5% Thursday. The rolling rate is calculated with a week’s work of new cases divided by seven days of total tests.

Public health experts say that number should stay below 6%. That number a week ago was 6.1%.

Despite the rising hospitalizations, Abbott sought to reassure the state on Tuesday by saying hospital beds remain plentiful and treatment options have improved.

He gave no indication that the increase in cases and hospitalizations would slow the pace of reopening the state’s economy.

“We are in the middle of a short period of time where all of us have to coexist with COVID-19,” Abbott said, referring to the disease linked to the coronavirus. “This is going to continue to be the case for at least a few more months until we have medicines available” that can treat and prevent the disease.

The health agency reported 13,472 available hospital beds around the state, 1,453 available ICU beds and 5,834 available ventilators.

The Austin area has 786 available hospital beds for coronavirus patients.


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