AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Reported coronavirus infections and hospitalizations continued to surge Thursday in Texas as Gov. Greg Abbott continues his phased reopening of the state’s economic activity.
The Department of State Health Services said 1,649 more cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, were reported to the state Thursday. That brought the total number of reported cases to a few cases shy of 67,000.
The state reported 1,796 COVID-19 hospitalizations Thursday, a one-day increase of 309 and the third-highest Texas total of the outbreak. The 33 new COVID-19 deaths reported Thursday brought the Texas death toll for the outbreak to 1,767.
The actual number of positive cases is believed to be much higher because of testing shortages and because some people with the disease don’t show symptoms.
Abbott’s order for “Phase 3” of the restart Wednesday allowed retailers to accommodate 50% capacity immediately, and the same applies to bars as long as patrons are seated. Restaurants can serve groups as large as 10 and can expand to 75% total capacity starting June 12. It also allows for outdoor Fourth of July celebrations of 500 or more at the discretion of local officials.
The order also allows amusement parks to gradually expand capacity. All are supposed to follow health and social distancing standards recommended by state and federal officials.