The Texas Department of State Health Services reported nearly 27,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Tuesday along with a record number of hospitalizations in both North Texas and across the state.
DSHS data confirmed Tuesday 26,990 new cases of the virus bringing the state's total since March to 1,518,499. The state also reported an additional 4,288 probable cases, bringing that total to 197,479.
The DSHS said the new cases reported Tuesday may include several days of cases for some counties as some local health departments did not report over the holiday weekend. In addition to 26,990 new confirmed cases, DSHS is reporting 1,030 older confirmed cases recently reported by labs in several Texas counties.
On Tuesday the state health department reported 26,762 total deaths from COVID-19 thus far, an increase of 241 over Monday's report of 26,521.
The state also reported a record 11,775 people hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, including 3,619 in North Texas' TSA-E region. That number, too, is a record in North Texas.
In Tarrant County, officials said only six ICU beds were available Tuesday morning but that hospitals could implement surge protocols to make more beds available if necessary. In Denton County, health officials there said there were eight ICU beds available in the county.
TSA-E has been above 15% capacity of COVID-19 patients for 23 straight days and each day for the last 12 days percentage has increased from the day before. As of Tuesday, TSA-E is at 23.64% capacity at area hospitals.
While above 15% capacity, occupancy levels at many area businesses must be reduced to 50% capacity and bars must remain closed. To reopen, and to increase capacity, the percentage of COVID-19 patients in TSA-E must fall below 15% for seven straight days.
On Tuesday, the state health department announced those 65 and older, and those with underlying health conditions can now get the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, people who fall under Phase 1B are now eligible to receive the vaccine, but it will be up to the discretion of individual pharmacies and clinics to determine if they have enough supply. First responders who fall under Phase 1A take priority.