For the fourth day running, the Texas Department of Health on Monday reported the highest number of coronavirus patients in hospitals since the pandemic began, while the state has seen a surge in cases and the number of people testing positive for the virus.
Hospitalizations in the state have increased almost every day since Memorial Day, when large crowds gathered at popular vacation spots as health experts warned those gatherings could lead to a resurgence in the virus.
In the 21 days since Memorial Day, 17 of those days had higher hospitalization counts compared with the day before.
Case counts and the percentage of tests coming back positive also spiked over the past week, with the 7-day average for positive tests staying over 6%—a threshold health officials there say the state should remain below—since June 2.
On Wednesday, Texas reported its single-day high in new cases, with 2,504; the state’s reported at least 2,000 new cases over the past five days after not having a single day hit that number before last Wednesday.
The state hadn’t reported Monday’s new case count or death count as of the afternoon.
But despite the data trending in the wrong direction, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has shown no signs of pumping the brakes on the state’s aggressive reopening efforts, which has been among the fastest in the country. Texas is now in Phase 3 of its reopening, and restaurants were allowed to reopen at 75% capacity over the weekend. Abbott had said in the past rising hospitalizations and tests coming back positive could impact the state’s reopening plans.
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For now, the state still has a large cushion before getting close to its health care capacity. There were 14,525 hospital beds still available in Texas and 1,626 ICU beds available on Monday, according to the state.
That hasn’t eased concerns in some areas, like Houston, where officials are looking to potentially refit NRG Stadium—the home of the Houston Texans—as a coronavirus hospital.
“I’m growing increasingly concerned that we may be approaching the precipice of a disaster,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Thursday.