Texas reported over 2,500 new coronavirus cases Wednesday—the highest reported in a single day by far since the pandemic started—as the number of Texans currently admitted to hospitals for coronavirus climbed to a new record for the third straight day, as the state, which had one of the fastest and most aggressive reopening timelines in the nation, has seen a surge in infections about two weeks after Memorial Day.
The 2,504 cases reported by the Texas Department of Health Wednesday is more than 28% higher than any other day since the pandemic began, far surpassing the old record of 1,949 on May 31.
According to the Texas Department of Health, there were 2,153 patients hospitalized with coronavirus on Wednesday, surpassing records set each of the past two days and well ahead of the old record of 1,888 recorded on May 5.
The positive test rate, which state officials have used as a key figure in moving forward with reopening, has also gradually risen over the past two weeks.
The 7-day average for tests coming back positive reached its highest rate since mid-April this week, and is now above 6%—a threshold public health officials there have said they’d like the state to remain below.
Texas entered Phase 3 of its reopening last week, and restaurants will be able to operate at 75% capacity starting Friday, as the state continues its aggressive reopening while seeming to ignore White House guidance that says states need to see a downward trend either in new cases or the infection rate to move forward with reopening efforts.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said several times in the past that the state should expect to see an increase in infections as testing ramps up, but that would not explain why there’s been a rise in hospitalizations or the percentage of tests coming back positive.
“In terms of new infections, we are seeing a surge … in part attributed to activities surrounding Memorial Day weekend, such as gatherings where protective behaviors may have been lax,” Rebecca Fischer, an epidemiologist at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, told the Texas Tribune.
Texas isn’t alone in seeing cases jump over the past few days. Over a dozen states across the U.S., including California, have also had a concerning rise. Abbott has said in the past that if the state appeared to be going in the wrong direction, there might be some delay to reopenings, but that doesn’t seem to be the case so far with the rise in hospitalizations. A spokesman for the governor told the Texas Tribune that the state is far from a health capacity crisis, saying“every Texan who needs access to a hospital bed will have access to a hospital bed.”
New cases in the state have gone up sharply, though, with the 7-day average for new cases rising from under 1,000 new cases reported per day in late May to now over 1,500 cases per day. The number of deaths from coronavirus in the state has been relatively stable since mid-May, staying in the low- to mid-20s per day.
42%—That’s about how much hospitalizations have increased in Texas since Memorial Day.
I’m a New Orleans-based news reporter for Forbes covering the U.S. South and breaking news. Previously, I wrote for The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate covering…
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