The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Texas is nearing 5,000 again as new cases of the virus surge locally.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported Tuesday there were 4,982 people hospitalized with the virus, an increase of more than 300 from the previous day and a jump of nearly 1,700 patients in the last week.
Locally the state reported 1,245 hospitalizations on Tuesday, but the state's reporting is a day behind the tally reported by local authorities.
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Stephen Love, CEO of the DFW Hospital Council, told NBC 5 on Tuesday there were 1,267 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Trauma Service Area E, the regional body that monitors trauma service in North Texas.
"We are sorry to see this number is still over 1,200 COVID-19 hospitalized patients. This represents 8.93 percent of bed capacity and 24.17 percent of adult ICU patients, which means approximately a quarter of our adult ICU patients have COVID-19," Love said.
Of the COVID patients in TSA-E, Love said 145 of them were on ventilators.
Breaking it down a bit more, Love said there were 457 patients in Tarrant County, 376 in Dallas County, 171 in Collin County, 62 in Denton County, 33 in Hunt County, 36 in Grayson County, and 41 in Rockwall County.
"The majority of the patients are not vaccinated," Love said. "As a point of reference, we had 328 COVID-19 patients in the hospitals on June 27. So as you can tell, our hospitalizations have increased significantly in 30 days."
Love added there were 119 available adult staffed ICU beds in TSA E and that there.
"Vaccinations are absolutely helping protect people and the unvaccinated are very much at risk with the increase in the delta variant," Love said. "Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator so as case numbers increase, we anticipate hospitalizations will increase."
Local Cases Climb
On Tuesday, Dallas County reported a large number of new COVID-19 cases with 1,296 new infections. Though the number was a three-day total, the 7-day average in the county is also on the rise going from 287 per day a week ago to 522 on Tuesday. In the last week, Dallas County has added 3,651 new infections compared to 2,008 a week ago.
In Tarrant County, 405 new cases were added Tuesday, a day after 1,500 were added on Monday (also a multi-day total). The 7-day average for new cases in Tarrant County is down from a week ago, from 557 to 360, but are still far more than the 86 cases per day recorded at the beginning of the month.
Statewide, the DSHS reported another new 6,571 new cases Tuesday and the 7-day average has climbed above 4,000 for the first time since April.
The rate of infection is also going up. The DSHS reported the molecular positivity index was nearly 15% on Tuesday. The positivity index has been above 10%, the threshold established by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) as a cause for concern, and steadily climbing since July 15.
CDC Changes Mask Guidance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Tuesday that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high Covid-19 transmission rates. The agency is also recommending kids wear masks in schools this fall.
"This pandemic continues to pose a serious threat to the health of all Americans," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters on a call. "Today, we have new science related to the delta variant that requires us to update the guidance regarding what you can do when you are fully vaccinated."
Abbott has said there will be no more mandates enforced by the state, other than his forbidding mandates, and that it's time for personal responsibility. Abbott has advocated for the use of vaccines in fighting the coronavirus but has not granted school districts any authority to require masking at schools.