Hospitals in at least two Texas counties at full capacity amid statewide spike in coronavirus cases

Hospitals in at least two counties in Texas are at full capacity as the Lone Star State sees an alarming spike in coronavirus cases.

Judges in Starr and Hidalgo Counties sounded the alarm Friday, alerting residents that hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley were at capacity. 

Judge Eloy Vera of Starr County wrote in a Facebook post that there had been 18 coronavirus-related deaths in the county and that two seriously ill patients were flown out of the area for treatment.

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"The local and valley hospitals are at full capacity and have no more beds available. I urge all of our residents to please shelter-in-place, wear face coverings, practice social distancing and AVOID GATHERINGS," he wrote

Judge Richard Cortez in neighboring Hidalgo County issued a similar warning, asking residents to shelter in place and wear face coverings to try to blunt the rapid spread of the virus. 

“HIDALGO COUNTY HOSPITALS ARE AT CAPACITY,” he tweeted. “Celebrate 4th of July responsibly, SHELTER-IN-PLACE and avoid gatherings of 10+ people. Wear a face covering and social distance. Protect yourself and your family.”



The warnings come as Texas sees sharp spikes in coronavirus cases after an initial dip. Officials announced nearly 7,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, breaking the state's record for the total number of confirmed cases in one day.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Thursday requiring masks to be worn in public spaces in counties with at least 20 coronavirus cases to try to grapple with the mushrooming outbreak, though he appeared reluctant to reclose businesses.

"Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of COVID-19," Abbott said in a statement. "We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another – and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces."