Texas reported 1,801 more cases of the coronavirus Saturday, the highest one-day total since the pandemic began. More than 700 new cases were reported in the Amarillo area, where meatpacking plants have been identified as a cluster of infections.
Meanwhile, Harrison County reported its 15th virus-related death, and Titus County added 17 new cases to its total.
Gregg County reported one new COVID-19 case Saturday, raising its total to 180.
Gregg County Health Administrator A.J. Harris said 1,721 total tests for the coronavirus had been administered in the county as of Saturday, with 1,417 negative results and 124 pending results. The county’s recovery tally remains at 54.
Harrison County Judge Chad Sims said no new cases were identified Saturday, keeping the total at 207, but reported one new death.
Titus County Judge Brian Lee this past week attributed a rise in cases in his county to a poultry plant.
“Plant officials continue to be proactive in finding ways to deal with this,” he said. “The possibility exists for more widespread plant-focused testing.”
Titus County’s 17 new cases brought its total to 110 with one death.
Elsewhere in the region, the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management reported two additional cases late Thursday, both in the Kilgore area, raising the county’s total to 43.
Across the state
Potter County reported 618 new cases Saturday, bringing its total to 2,080, while neighboring Randall County reported 116 new cases for a total of 593. Moore County, which has the highest rate of cases per 1,000 residents in Texas, added four new cases Saturday. In total, the three counties accounted for 738 of the new cases reported Saturday.
The state also reported 32,479 new virus tests Saturday — the third-highest increase since the state began reporting test counts. The highest daily total was 49,259 new tests May 13. As of May 16, at least 678,471 tests have been conducted.
The state reported 33 additional deaths Saturday, bringing the statewide total to 1,305 — an increase of about 3% from Friday. Harris County reported six additional deaths, bringing its total to 199 deaths, more than any other county.
As of Saturday, 1,791 patients are known to be hospitalized in Texas. That’s an increase of 75 patients from Friday.
Meanwhile, more than 3,000 nursing home residents in Texas have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data released by the state Friday.
The 3,000 positive tests represent about 4% of the estimated number of Texans living in nursing homes, the Houston Chronicle reported. By comparison, about 0.15% of Texas residents have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
Gov. Greg Abbott this past week ordered coronavirus testing for all Texas nursing home residents and staff after the White House urged governors to do so as deaths mount nationwide.
While nursing home residents in Texas make up around 6% of the state’s positive cases, they account for about 38% of the state’s deaths related to COVID-19, the Chronicle reported.
On Monday, offices, manufacturing facilities and gyms are allowed to open in Texas, following the guidelines published by Abbott in his May 6 executive order. As it already happened with other businesses, these facilities will be limited in their capacity.
Offices will be able to operate with up to five employees at a time or 25% of the total office workforce — whichever number is greater — provided they maintain social distancing and follow other health measures like wearing face coverings. The governor’s task force is still asking employers to encourage employees to work from home if possible and implement alternate schedules for those who go into the office.
Non-essential manufacturing facilities will be able to operate at 25% occupancy. The governor’s task force asks manufacturing facilities to provide physical dividers if keeping workers 6 feet apart isn’t possible. Workers should also wear face coverings and be provided disinfecting products like hand sanitizer and wipes. The governor’s task force asks manufacturers with more than 10 workers at a time to choose a person in charge of enforcing health protocols.
Gyms and exercise facilities will be able to open Monday too, at 25% occupancy, not counting workers. Lockers and showers will have to remain closed. Workout equipment should be spaced out to allow at least 6 feet between patrons, and cleaning supplies should be provided. Patrons should wear gloves that fully cover their wrists and fingers while exercising and should wear face masks. They should also clean off machines and exercise equipment like free weights after use and sanitize any equipment brought from home. Gym-goers should keep a 6-foot distance from anybody 65 and older, though these individuals are advised to stay home.