Doctors and nurses wearing protective equipment treat a patient in the Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) in Houston, Texas, USA, on Monday, June 29, 2020.
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Texas reported more than 6,900 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, a record daily increase that brings the state’s total to nearly 160,000 cases, according to the state health department.
The department also reported that 6,533 people are in the hospital with Covid-19, another record. On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott suspended elective surgeries in Cameron, Hidalgo, Nueces and Webb counties to ensure the availability of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients.
Eight counties in Texas have now been ordered to postpone elective procedures. On June 25, Abbott suspended proceedings in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties, which include the state’s largest cities: San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Austin, respectively.
“We need to understand that Covid-19 has taken a very fast and dangerous turn in Texas in the past few weeks,” Abbott said Sunday as he introduced himself to Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the White House coronavirus workforce.
An increase in new Covid-19 cases reported daily could reflect an increase in testing at certain locations or a delay in reporting, authorities say. However, the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases in Texas increased by more than 41% compared to a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Texas’ positivity rate, or the percentage of total positive tests, just a month ago was at 4.27%, but now it is above 13%, Abbott said. He previously said that a positivity rate of more than 10% would be an “alarm bell” for Texas to take tougher measures and prevent further spread.
On Tuesday, White House health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said that about 50% of all new cases come from four states: Florida, California, Texas and Arizona.
“I am very concerned, and I am not satisfied with what is happening because we are going in the wrong direction if we look at the curves of the new cases, so we really have to do something about it, and we need to do it quickly,” Fauci said. during a hearing of the Senate committee on health, education, work and pensions.