Texas again sets record for new coronavirus infections as testing also sees sustained highs

by Edgar Walters, Carla Astudillo, Chris Essig and Mandi Cai, The Texas Tribune.

Texas health officials reported more than 14,000 new coronavirus infections Wednesday in what appeared to be an all-time high for daily cases.

The record comes one day before the Thanksgiving holiday. Public health authorities have urged people to celebrate apart this year, warning that family gatherings may hasten the spread of infections at a time when many Texas hospitals report overwhelming volumes of COVID-19 patients.

The seven-day average of new cases in Texas continues to surpass 10,000, having tripled since the beginning of October. Testing is also at record levels. Roughly 10% of coronavirus tests yielded positive results on Nov. 24, according to Texas Department of State Health Services data.

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The state public health agency says its daily coronavirus statistics are provisional and subject to change.

Meanwhile, the number of Texans hospitalized with COVID-19 has more than doubled since the beginning of October, and Texas has reported more than 20,900 coronavirus deaths since the pandemic began.

The situation is particularly dire in El Paso, where officials have pleaded for more morgue workers as coronavirus fatalities climb. Experts say widespread fatigue has hastened viral transmission and worry the holidays could exacerbate an already dangerous situation.

Hospital administrators in North Texas, West Texas and the Panhandle have expressed concern about climbing numbers of coronavirus hospitalizations. Rural hospital administrators have reported difficulty transferring patients as larger hospitals in Lubbock, Amarillo and other larger cities run short on beds.

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More than 8,500 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized on Nov. 25, according to state health officials. That was below Texas’ all-time high for coronavirus hospitalizations, which reached nearly 11,000 in late July.

The Department of State Health Services has said it plans to update its daily COVID-19 counts over the holiday weekend but that daily case numbers may appear lower as some local health departments report data more slowly.