Texas says new coronavirus cases jumped by more than 10,000 for the first time

Written by on 07/07/2020

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A man gets tested for coronavirus at a COVID19 testing center on July 7, 2020 in Austin, Texas.

Sergio Flores | Getty Images

Texas reported more than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases Tuesday, a record-breaking daily surge as the state responds to a growing outbreak and rising hospitalizations. 

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission reported 10,028 new cases, which surpasses the state’s previous record of nearly 8,260 cases set on July 4. It’s the first time since the beginning of the outbreak that the state has reported more than 10,000 additional new cases in a single day. 

There were 9,268 people in the state’s hospitals with Covid-19 as of Tuesday, another daily record, according to  the Texas Department of State Health Services. Public health officials keep a close watch on hospitalizations because it can indicate how severe an outbreak is in an area. It’s considered a better measure than new cases because it’s not as reliant on the availability of testing. 

The state has also reported a jump in the percentage of total positive tests since mid-June, now hovering around 13.5% on average as of Monday. The so-called positivity rate indicates how bad an outbreak is in a region. At the height of New York’s outbreak, more than 40% of all Covid-19 tests were coming back positive. It’s currently around 1%, according to the New York state health department. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has previously noted that a positivity rate above 10% would be a “warning flag” for the state. 

The outbreak in Texas now rivals the peak in New York in early April when the Empire state was reporting an average of more than 10,000 new cases a day.

Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said that the state reported “fairly low new case numbers Sunday and Monday following the holiday” and Tuesday’s new case number could reflect the backlog of data. 

Texas is one of 36 states where cases grew by 5% or more Monday, based on a seven-day average, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The state has reported an average of 6,990 new cases based on a seven-day moving average, a near 26% surge from the previous week.  

As cases continued to climb late last week, Abbott ordered residents across the state to wear a face-covering in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive Covid-19 cases. However, the order carves out several exemptions, like those attending religious services or while voting. 

“We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another — and that means wearing a face-covering in public spaces,” he said in a press release. 

Harris County and Dallas County, home to Houston and Dallas, have reported the most Covid-19 cases across the state so far, according to Texas Health and Human Services. 

Houston’s hospitals are on track to be overwhelmed in approximately two weeks as cases mount, Mayor Sylvester Turner said on CBS’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday. People of colorI wo are being disproportionately impacted, particularly Hispanic residents, he said. 

“The number of people who are getting sick and going to the hospitals has exponentially increased. The number of people in our ICU beds has exponentially increased,” Turner said.

The state was among the first to widely open its economy in May but has since had to walk balk some of its reopenings as cases have increased. Abbott allowed the state’s stay-at-home order to end on April 30 and by May 1, all stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls were allowed to reopen with modifications.

He has since had to order the state’s bars to close and reduced capacity for indoor dining at restaurants, among other closures. 

— CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Will Feuer contributed to this report. 

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