The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has spiked in Texas for the third day in a row.
Wednesday morning, the Texas Department of State Health Services released data showing a record-breaking 2,153 cases. The spike is happening amid the continued reopening of the Texas economy, in phases, that started May 1.
Jeremy Wallace, a political reporter for the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News, told Texas Standard host David Brown that hospitalizations have gone up by about 42% since Memorial Day.
“That was when you saw a lot more gatherings happening. But it also was as the state’s reopenings had kind of reached a new level,” Wallace said.
As he relaxed rules for businesses, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot said that an increase in positive COVID-19 cases was possible. But the recent spikes are higher than anticipated.
Texas has 13,000 available hospital beds for COVID-19 patients, and state officials say there’s more than enough ventilators for serious cases.
“So that’s the good news, that the medical community may not be overwhelmed if these numbers keep going up,” Wallace said.
Also, he said the increases are not consistent statewide. Surges in the Houston area, for example, are not indicative of the rest of the state.
“We’re seeing a lot more hospitalizations over there than we are in some places like Amarillo and El Paso, which haven’t been seeing the same kind of spike yet,” Wallace said.
But, businesses and gathering places across the state continue to reopen. Restaurants will be allowed to have diners up 75% capacity starting Friday, and amusement parks will open at 50% capacity next week.
The governor’s office will announce more reopenings on Friday.
Web story by Sarah Gabrielli.