Story at a glance
- Texas records its highest daily count of positive coronavirus cases on Wednesday.
- This comes as hospitalization also show sharp upticks.
On Wednesday, Texas recorded a new high of 2,504 new coronavirus cases reported in a single day, The Texas Tribune’s Sarah Champagne writes. This new figure overtakes the previous record high of 1,949 new cases, reported on May 31.
Currently, Texas tallies 25,423 active positive cases statewide.
Twenty-one percent of all of these new cases came from Jefferson County, located in the southeastern part of the state, bordering Louisiana. Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for Texas Department of State Health Services, said that Jefferson County’s three state prison facilities account for some of the new cases seen in the county.
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He said that most of the new cases are “due to a change in how the local health department is reporting cases from the prisons,” the Tribune reports.
Van Deusen confirmed to The Hill that those prisons include Gist, Stiles, and LeBlanc state penitentiaries. Collectively, these account for 522 of newly reported cases.
Prisons, like nursing homes, have been identified as a breeding ground for coronavirus outbreaks, since inmates live in close quarters with limited room for social distancing. States like New York have conditionally released nonviolent offenders to prevent community spread inside prison walls.
On April 30, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said that 70 percent of federal inmates tested for the coronavirus had confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.
Van Deusen notes that Pecos County recorded an error in its reporting data that incorrectly showcased a 92 case increase between Tuesday and Wednesday. He said this mistake “underscores the provisional nature of this data.”
In addition to this record-high daily report in new cases, Texas recently saw a startling jump in coronavirus hospitalizations. On Tuesday, state health department data reported a total of 2,153 patients are hospitalized in Texas, a result of three consecutive days of growing hospitalizations in the state.
Governor Greg Abbott (R), one of the governors who opted to reopen relatively early, issued an executive order on June 3 to move Texas into its Phase 3 of reopening. This would allow nonessential businesses, like bars, restaurants, waterparks, and gyms to reopen at limited capacities. Other businesses, like salons and barbershops, must maintain a six foot distance between patrons.
Nationally, states like Arizona, South Carolina, and California are seeing spikes in new coronavirus cases following Memorial Day excursions and the George Floyd protests, both of which brought crowds of people together in close proximity.
In the U.S., more than 2 million people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, with 113,168 recorded deaths.
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