COVID-19 related current hospitalizations in Texas increased to 2,518 on Tuesday, a record high for that state. But COVID-19 deaths per capita in Texas remain among the lowest in the nation.
According to Worldometers, 3,338 people have died of COVID-19 in the state as of Wednesday, or 72 per million, which places the Lone Star State in 42nd place among the 50 states, well below the national per capita rate of 362 COVID-19 deaths per million, and far behind New York, the state with the highest per capita COVID-19 death rate, where 1,596 people per million have died of COVID-19.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on the increase in COVID-19 related current hospitalizations.
The number of patients hospitalized with the novel coronavirus in Texas reached an all-time high Tuesday after breaking records nearly every day in the past week.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 2,518 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Tuesday — a jump of 192 patients from the previous record of 2,326 hospitalized on Monday.
Texas has set records for hospitalizations eight of the past nine days. Hospitalizations broke records three days in a row at the start of last week, and then dropped down slightly to 2,008 patients on Thursday. They went on to hit records again with 2,166 patients Friday, 2,242 patients Saturday and 2,287 patients Sunday.
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott addressed the current coronavirus data in a press conference in Austin Tuesday afternoon:
Gov. Abbott said there is an abundant amount of hospital beds available to treat patients with COVID-19. He said COVID-19 continues to exist in Texas and around the world and will continue to exist until there is medicine to treat it.
The governor said the goal of preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed has been achieved. He said most COVID-19 patients don’t need to go to a hospital, but if they do, there is a hospital bed available to them. . .
According to Gov. Abbott, there is only one county in Texas in which COVID-19 patients represent more than 10% of hospital beds that are available: Galveston County. He said that 6.3% of hospital beds occupied in the state of Texas are COVID-19 patients.
The Texas House Democratic Caucus attacked Abbott immediately after his press conference on Tuesday, saying, “The governor has failed all Texans by refusing to take the evidence-based actions needed to flatten the COVID-19 curve,” in a tweet. “Our state’s positivity rates are too high and still increasing, and positive cases and hospitalizations continue to rise,” the tweet continued:
“The governor has failed all Texans by refusing to take the evidence-based actions needed to flatten the COVID-19 curve.” – HDC Chair @ChrisGTurner in response to Gov. Abbott’s press conference today.
— Texas House Democratic Caucus (@TexasHDC) June 16, 2020
As Breitbart News reported last week, the number of COVID-19 cases in Texas increased from 77,523 on May 26 to 77,523 on June 9, but during that same time period, the percentage of those who have been tested for COVID-19 since the beginning of the coronanvirus pandemic in Texas that have tested positive declined from 6.9 percent to 6.8 percent.
Increasingly, the most important measures for determining the risk posed to the general population by the pandemic is not the absolute number of positive COVID-19 tests, but instead is the number of current hospitalizations and deaths on a per capita basis.
Texas has seen a significant increase in current COVID-19 hospitalizations since Memorial Day, but former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson has suggested that the increase in COVID-19 current hospitalizations in some states may be related to the simultaneous increase in elective surgeries, where all incoming patients are tested for the virus, as Breitbart News reported on Monday.
Vanderbilt University Medical School released a report on COVID-19 in the state of Tennessee on Tuesday that addressed the impact the resumption of elective procedures may have on COVID-19 current hospitalizations:
As hospitals return to elective procedures, their capacity to care for large numbers of new COVID patients declines. In addition, now that testing capacities have increased, many inpatients are tested for the coronavirus regardless of their reason for hospitalization. This results in “incidental” hospitalized COVID-19 cases among individuals who test positive but have not been admitted for complications related to COVID-19. We believe this number is small, but the data available do not allow us to distinguish these patients from those hospitalized because of their COVID infection.
Breitbart News contacted the Texas Hospital Association, as well as major hospital systems in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, the two metro areas experiencing the greatest increase in COVID-19 current hospitalizations and asked if they had evidence of a causal relationship between increased elective surgeries and increased COVID-19 current hospitalizations.
At Texas Medical Center, a non-profit corporation that operates 21 hospitals in the Houston metropolitan area, the number of new daily COVID-19 hospitalizations has increased from 56 on April 22, when Gov. Abbott announced that hospitals would again be permitted to conduct elective surgeries, to 39 on May 1, when the governor announced Phase 1 reopening, to 68 on May 18 when he announced Phase 2 reopening, to 166 on June 16.
The number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations throughout the Texas Medical Center system as of Tuesday, June 16 stands at 832, more than 30 percent of the number currently hospitalized throughout the state.
The BaylorScott & White Health System operates 48 hospitals in Texas, many in the Dallas-Forth Worth metropolitan area.
A spokesperson for BaylorScott & White provided this statement to Breitbart News late Wednesday:
While we have seen an increase in the number of cases recently, it is important to note that the vast majority of our patients – between 90 and 99% of those we treated in our hospitals since March – have been receiving care unrelated to COVID-19. Those who have received COVID-19-related care in our facilities have been treated in separate areas of the hospital designated for patients with infectious diseases. We are continuously evaluating opportunities to build additional capacity in our hospitals in anticipation of future needs related to the treatment of patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
Since the start of the virus’ impact on our state, Baylor Scott & White has been deploying resources to help identify COVID-19-positive patients before they reach the hospital. Our health system’s process for online screening, clinical consultation and drive-thru specimen collection has allowed us to screen more than 175,000 patients for the disease since March. This process has allowed tens of thousands of Texans with mild symptoms to be evaluated outside of Baylor Scott & White clinics and emergency departments—further ensuring that hospitals are ready for those who need care most during this time.
Prevention is best. We want to remind the public, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends, to wash your hands often, stay home when you can and keep distance from others when outside of your home, and cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
“Yes, the hospitalization number has been increasing in Texas over the last week or so,” a spokesperson for the Texas Hospital Association told Breitbart News.
“We are watching this number carefully and checking in with our hospitals on the frontlines. We have been able to handle the increases and have plans in place for surges, but we hope to not get to that point. We’ve been really pushing messages to get people to follow the precautions and mask up so they can stay safe and avoid hospitalization,” the spokesperson continued.
“On the testing, no, that’s not what I’m hearing from our hospitals,” the spokesperson said in response to the question about a relationship between elective surgery increases and COVID-19 current hospitalization increases.
The Texas Medical Center did not respond prior to publication.