Abbott urges caution as Texas coronavirus cases surge

Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that Texas has surpassed 5,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time since the state started testing for the virus.

News reports quickly described the state’s phase 3 reopening as a crisis while others say the numbers reported by the state Department of Health Services (DHS) depict a different picture.

According to DHS, as of June 22, there have been 114,881 coronavirus cases reported in Texas. Of them, 69,190 are listed as recoveries, 43,499 are listed as active cases, and 2,192 are fatalities.

The infection rate – 119,881 including the 5,000 new cases reported, out of Texas’ nearly 29 million population – is 0.4 percent. The coronavirus death rate in Texas is at 0.0076 percent of the population.

Texas still leads the nation in the number of recoveries, Abbott has repeatedly pointed out.

Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston said it is now taking adult patients.

“We know COVID-19 has not gone away,” the hospital said in a statement issued Tuesday. “We implore you to take responsible actions – practice appropriate social distancing, wear a mask or face covering anytime you leave your home.”

The hospital did not specify how many adult coronavirus patients it has admitted.

“There remain a lot of people in the state of Texas who think that the spread of COVID-19 is not a challenge,” Abbott told KBTX-TV, a CBS affiliate in Bryan-College Station, Tuesday. “The coronavirus is serious. It’s spreading.”

The previous single-day high was 4,430 cases on Saturday, partially due to a backlog of reporting data by Harris County officials.

Hospital capacities remain abundant despite the surge in case numbers reported.

COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals reached an all-time high Monday for the 11th straight day, the Star-Telegram reports, and have more than doubled since Memorial Day.

Slightly more than 3,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized out of 114,881 cases reported. Most healthy children and adults experience mild symptoms.

According to the COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run site that tracks coronavirus data, 10 states, including Texas, reported weekly new infection increases of more than 50 percent.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted that the increase in case numbers in multiple states was due to increased testing, not increased spread of the disease.

“Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding,” Trump said. “With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!”

Abbott told KBTX News that Texans needed to continue practicing safe hygiene, social distancing, and wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We want to make sure everyone reinforces the best safe practices of wearing a mask, hand sanitation, maintaining safe distance, but importantly, because the spread is so rampant right now, there’s never a reason for you to have to leave your home unless you need to go out,” he said. “The safest place for you is at your home.”



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