Newly Reported Texas Virus Cases Top 5,300; COVID-19 Hospitalizations Also Up

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The Texas Department of State Health Services reports 5,335 new coronavirus cases Wednesday and an additional 107 deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. The state health department is also reporting another increase in hospitalizations.

That new cases brought the total number of Texas cases since tracking of the pandemic began in March to 748,697, with a death toll of 15,711, the DHS reported. However, the true number of cases is likely higher though because many people haven't been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

The health department also estimated 69,767 active cases of the virus, including 3,344 current hospital patients. The number of patients had been on the decline through much of September before beginning to climb again over the last few days.

On Monday, the state reported 3,201 hospitalizations. That number climbed to 3,251 on Tuesday and jumped again to 3,344 on Wednesday.

DFW has the most hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the state with 898, according to state health data, a high not seen since late August and an increase of nearly 100 patients since Monday.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and a cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

In Tarrant County, public health officials are hoping that three new programs will help curb the spread of the virus. The first is mailing at-home COVID-19 test kits to those who are not able to schedule an appointment at a county drive-thru testing site.

The county is also dealing with case count delays, so they launched a self-reporting tool for people to upload their COVID-19 results directly.

"The contact tracing efforts is best within the first 14 days, so to overcome that challenge, we've come up with this self-reporting tool that if you know that you've tested positive, then report it by yourself," Vinny Taneja, Tarrant County Public Health Director, said.

The county is also rolling out a campaign called, "Answer the Call," in hopes of getting more people to answer the phone when contact tracers call.

In Dallas County, County Judge Clay Jenkins says the number of cases and hospitalizations are on the rise and that the time to take precautions to prevent further spread of the disease is now by continuing to wear masks, wash hands and avoiding unnecessary trips.

NBC 5 and the Associated Press.
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