AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas surpassed 2,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients for the first time Tuesday, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said “everything remains largely contained” as the state prepares to lift more restrictions this week.
It marked the second consecutive day of Texas reporting a new high in hospitalizations, which Abbott has described throughout the pandemic as one of the most important metrics he follows. Seventeen new deaths and 1,600 new cases were also reported, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Abbott said the state is still trying to determine why the numbers are rising, mentioning the Memorial Day weekend as one potential culprit. Since the May holiday, hospitalizations in Texas have jumped 36%.
“I’m concerned, but not yet alarmed,” Abbott told Dallas television station KTVT on Tuesday, saying thousands of hospital beds remain available.
Texas began reopening faster than much of the country and is continue another phase of rebooting Friday by allowing restaurants to resume service at near capacity. Abbott gave no indication of reversing course and said it remains to be seen what impact mass protests around Texas over the death of George Floyd, who was buried Tuesday in Houston, will have on the state’s caseload.
“Everything remains largely contained. We do want to avoid any meaningful spike in the aftermath of these protests,” he said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.