Concern over rising COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations in Texas
HOUSTON - Rising coronavirus infections and hospitalizations are triggering new precautions across the state and the country.
The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed more than 3,400 new cases in the state on Thursday.
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A graph on the Texas DSHS website shows the seven-day average of daily new cases. That number has gone up every day since the Fourth of July weekend and is now back to where it was in early May.
There are two reasons health experts are saying are the cause behind the recent uptick of COVID-19 cases. One is the latest Delta variant. The other is the lag in vaccination rates, particularly in those under the age of 39, according to reports from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That report shows even lower rates for those ages 18-24 in low-income, minority communities.
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While there are no new restrictions in the Houston area, there is concern.
Here in the Greater Houston area, Memorial Hermann Hospital reported that their hospitalization rate has increased by 60% from last month.
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In Austin/Travis County, health experts aren’t taking any chances and are moving to Stage 3 COVID-19 risk guidelines since the level of risk of contracting the virus has increased and confirmed cases doubled over the last week.
"This Delta variant that we have now in our midst as you've heard is much more infectious," Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said. "Our ICU bed capacity is strained and largely this is due to the fact that we have a shortage of staff and we also have more respiratory illness as we've relaxed our masking policy."
Travis County data shows that the majority of cases, hospital admissions, and deaths are among those who have not been vaccinated.