AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Hospitalizations across Texas have more than doubled in the last two weeks, rising to 8,698 people in hospitals on Monday.
Local officials across Texas say their hospitals are becoming increasingly stretched and are in danger of becoming overrun as cases of the coronavirus surge.
Along the Texas-Mexico border, Starr County Judge Eloy Vera said over the weekend that two severely ill patients were flown hundreds of miles north to Dallas and San Antonio because hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley were at capacity.
Texas surged past 8,000 statewide hospitalizations for the first time over the Fourth of July weekend — a more than quadruple increase in the past month. State health officials reported Monday that more than 12,000 beds remained available throughout Texas but the numbers differ locally.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler said hospitals in the Texas capital are at risk of becoming “overwhelmed” in the next week to 10 days unless the trajectory changes. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg says hospitals in the nation’s seventh-largest city are approaching capacity, and in Houston, officials say hospitals have already exceeded base capacity in intensive care units.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued a mandatory statewide mask order last week after previously resisting the idea.
On Monday, Texas reported 5,318 new cases, after a record high of 8,258 on Saturday. Texas also reported 18 additional deaths Monday, bringing the totals to 2,655 reported deaths and 200,557 confirmed cases.
The true number of cases is likely much higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest that people can be infected and not feel sick.
Meanwhile, Texas’ Republican Party leadership last week affirmed plans to hold its in-person convention in Houston.
In a tweet on Monday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged the party to hold a virtual convention, saying “in this city, all of our conferences have rescheduled or canceled for this year except one.”
I am asking sponsors to urge the SREC to hold a virtual convention.
Today, I am sending the SREC a letter with conditions they must adhere to in order to hold the convention.
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) July 6, 2020
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)