This story will be continuously updated on June 24.
At least 4,092 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across Texas on Tuesday afternoon, state officials said, another new high.
It was the 12th straight day of climbing hospitalization rates across the state, and the first time there had been more than 4,000 COVID-19 patients
North Texas hit a grim milestone as well, surpassing 1,000 patients in the region. There are currently at least 1,074 people hospitalized across the area with COVID-19.
Tarrant County saw a 20% increase day-over-day on Tuesday in the number of patients it had there, rising from 268 people to 318. Dallas County reported 470 patients, meaning the two counties account for nearly 3/4 of all hospitalizations in North Texas.
But the number of ICU beds available in the same area also increased up to 440 from 415 the day before, and a local hospital leader said people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area should not "panic" about bed availability.
The news came the same day new cases again topped out in the state at 5,489. It was the first time the daily case count had surpassed 5,000.
The rise in cases in Texas over the past 13 days has been exponential. June 10 was the first time Texas reported more than 2,000 new cases in a single day.
June 17 was the first time the state had more than 3,000 cases.
And on June 20, just a couple of days ago, the state reported more than 4,000 cases for the first time.
On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott admonished Texans to be more diligent about practicing social distancing and wearing masks, warning that businesses may have to close down once more if cases continue to spike.
Top updates for Wednesday, June 24:
- Medical oxygen has become scarce across the world, leaving many gasping for air.
- New cases in the U.S. hit their highest point in two months on Tuesday as the country saw a surge in infections across the South and West.
- Health professionals across Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth region, feel very wary of the spike in cases and hospitalizations the state has had.
- Texas could need to more than triple its number of contract tracers to effectively do the job, one researcher's model shows. That would mean filling thousands of positions across the state.
Dallas County reports 391 cases, 4 deaths
Wednesday’s number of hospitalizations and new COVID-19 cases continues the trend of showing a surge in cases in Dallas County.
Dallas County Health and Human Services announced 391 cases and additional deaths from COVID-19, bringing the countywide case total to 18,135, including 328 deaths.
The victims include:
- A Grand Prairie man in his 60s, who had been critically ill in a local hospital with underlying health conditions.
- A Cedar Hill man in his 80s, who had been hospitalized with underlying health conditions.
- A Grand Prairie woman in her 80s, who had been critically ill in a local hospital with underlying health conditions.
- A woman in her 80s, who was a resident of a long-term care facility in Dallas. She died in a local hospital and had underlying health conditions.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is asking the governor to implement statewide rules that the county, including health officials had early on in the fight against COVID-19 that help stop the spread of the virus.
“Because of all the mixed messaging and confusion over the last six weeks, it would be best if there was a statewide plan on issues such as masking, workplace separation, workplace safety and limiting the number of people in facilities and at gathering,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins is also urging residents to practice good hygiene, six-feet of social distancing and limiting going to places where masks aren’t required.
Tarrant County reports record 460 cases, 4 deaths
Tarrant County once again broke the highest single-day record for COVID-19 cases with 460 cases reported Wednesday afternoon, bringing the countywide case count to 9,846.
Tarrant County Public Health also reported four additional deaths, bringing the total count to 215.
There are currently 321 people in the hospital and increase from Tuesday's count of 318. Officials report 4,682 residents have recovered.
Denton County reports record 115 cases, 1 death
Denton County Public Health announced a new single-day record 115 new cases and one additional death from COVID-19, bringing the countywide total to 2,417 confirmed cases, including 37 deaths.
Health officials said the victim was a Lewisville man in his 40s.
“We ask for your thoughts and prayers for this individual’s friends and family as they navigate through this loss,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads.
Eads is asking residents to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by following public health recommendations.
DCPH is also reporting seven additional people have recovered from COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 1,087.
Governor's Office, UT Southwestern Medical Center release COVID-19 PSA in Spanish
Gov. Greg Abbott’s office and UT Southwestern Medical Center released a COVID-19 public service announcement in Spanish Wednesday afternoon.
The PSA reminds people how they can slow the spread of the disease by following CDC guidelines. This includes wearing a mask, avoid touching one’s face, washing hands frequently, and practicing social distancing.
"We are in the middle of a pandemic, and in our hospitals, we’ve seen many Hispanics affected by this condition. So, we want to advise our community to protect yourselves in order to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus," Dr. Amneris Luque says in the video.
Frisco ISD asks for parent feedback regarding fall semester
Frisco ISD announced it will be asking for feedback from parents regarding classes in the fall.
The school district says it will ask parents to complete a "commitment form" which will state whether their children will return to on-campus classes or continue will online schooling.
A letter from the superintendent can be found here.
DART approves 'Hero Pay' for workers
DART's board unanimously approved a measure on Tuesday night to provide workers with Hero Pay for the eight weeks between the beginning of April and the end of May.
The pay will be given out as a lump sum valued at $150 a week per eligible employee.
Eligible employees were those who were essential or customer-facing employees "whose core functions pose a hazardous threat because of the nature of their work and the COVID crisis."
A total of 47 employees and contractors have tested positive since tracking began in March, DART officials said, with 23 having returned to work so far.
Health experts recommend taking the following actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Practice "social distancing" and stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid large public gatherings
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of the U.S.
WFAA digital producer Jennifer Prohov contributed to this report.
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