Case Counts/Testing in Texas — June 23rd (3:50PM) DataTotal
Tests Performed — 1,805,642
Confirmed Cases — 120,370
Active Cases — 47,436
Hospitalizations — 4,092
Fatalities — 2,220
Recovered Cases — 70,714
Record Number of New Cases
Texas reported 5,489 new coronavirus cases yesterday, setting an all time one day high. The rolling seven day average is 3,722 new cases a day, which is up about 1,500 from two weeks ago. Health officials say the rise in cases is particularly high among young adults. The number of patients hospitalized has more than doubled since June 1st, reaching 4,092 patients in Texas hospitals yesterday.
Response from Abbott and the State
Despite the rise in infections and hospitalizations, Abbott and other state health officials stress that the state has abundant hospital and ICU capacity to care for Covid and non-Covid patients. According to state officials, there are 14,260 available hospital beds throughout the state and nearly 1,500 ICU beds available. Houston and Austin seem to be hit particularly hard with rising cases. But, according to state data released yesterday, the percentage of beds occupied by Covid patients is 12.9% in Houston and 10.2% in Austin. Even with the space available for now, Abbott and state officials do acknowledge that this trend is not sustainable.
Further in response to the spike in cases, on Tuesday, Gov. Abbott recommended that all Texans stay home as much as possible over the next few weeks. This is not an order or mandate, but rather it is a plea for everyone to reduce contact with others as much as possible to try and stem the spread. Also, for the first time, Abbott is tightening the restrictions that had been eased under the reopening plan. First, Abbott is allowing mayors and county judges to place restrictions on gatherings of 100 people or more, a threshold previously set at 500. Secondly, Abbott said the state will enact mandatory standards for child care centers after those rules were issued as voluntary when child care centers were allowed to open earlier this month. Those requirements include checking the temperature of the facility staff, require parents to drop off the children outside, and stop serving buffet or family style meals.
Plan to Reopen Schools
Even with the spike in cases, the state is moving forward with plans to reopen its public schools Texas public schools will be required to provide in-person instruction for students this fall, but the Texas Education Agency has yet to release the final public health guidelines. TEA says they are actively monitoring the situation and will get guidance out to schools in a timely manner. Drafts of the school safety plan show the state taking a largely hands off approach, leaving specifics of how to adequately protect the students up to the individual school districts. However, the draft does recommend students and staff wear masks at all times on campus and social distance when possible. Schools may also continue to offer remote instruction to students who choose to stay at home. School districts are eager to receive guidance from the state to begin planning for the upcoming school year.
Another Poll Showing Close Numbers in Texas
Progress Texas and Public Policy Polling released a poll last night showing, as many other polls recently conducted in Texas, that the race for President and US Senate are very close. The poll showed President Trump leading Joe Biden among Texas voters by just 2 percentage points, 48% to 46%. Furthermore, the poll showed the yet to be determined Democratic nominee for US Senate trailing three-term incumbent Republican Senator John Cornyn by only 2 points as well. Cornyn was preferred by 47% and the eventual Democratic nominee was the choice of 45%. State Senator Royce West and MJ Hegar face off on July 14th in the Democratic runoff to determine the nominee that will take on Cornyn in November. The poll surveyed 907 Texas voters and has a margin of error of +/- 3 points.