A member of the medical staff treats a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 2, 2020 in Houston, Texas. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care wards to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads.
Go Nakamura | Getty Images
Texas had more than 8,000 hospitalized Covid-19 patients on Sunday, a record number of hospitalizations and one of the highest in the country, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project.
The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 grew by 5% or more Sunday in 23 states, based on a seven-day moving average, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project, an independent volunteer organization launched by journalists at The Atlantic.
Public health experts watch hospitalizations closely because it can indicate how severe an outbreak is in an area. It’s considered a better measure than new cases because it’s not as reliant on the availability of testing.
California, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia have also seen growing Covid-19 hospitalizations. Florida only tracks the number of people who have been hospitalized since the beginning of the outbreak and not those currently in the hospital with Covid-19, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
Coronavirus cases were growing in 36 states in the U.S. as of Sunday, based on a seven-day moving average, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Cases across the U.S. grew by more than 26% compared with a week ago, according to Hopkins data.
CNBC calculates its daily Covid-19 cases based on an average over the previous seven days to eliminate fluctuations in daily reporting. The number of cases may have been under reported over the Fourth of July weekend and could be reported later in some states, according to Johns Hopkins.
Texas and Florida reported record surges in coronavirus cases over the Fourth of July weekend as state and local governments try to contain growing outbreaks across the Sun Belt. Florida reported Saturday that 14.1% of those tested for the virus were positive while Texas reported a so-called positivity rate of 13.1%, both above each states’ 10% target range.
Hospitals in at least two Texas counties, Starr and Hidalgo, are at full capacity and local officials are urging residents there to shelter-in-place and avoid gatherings, according to local officials.
Houston’s hospitals are on track to be overwhelmed in approximately two weeks as cases mount, Mayor Sylvester Turner said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday. People of color were being disproportionately impacted, particularly Hispanic residents, he said.
“The number of people who are getting sick and going to the hospitals has exponentially increased. The number of people in our ICU beds has exponentially increased,” Turner said. He added that the main problem facing Houston hospitals is staffing, not a shortage of beds.
“We can always provide additional beds, but we need the people, the nurses and everybody else, the medical professionals, to staff those beds. That’s the critical point right now,” Turner said.
To create room for Covid-19 patients, Gov. Greg Abbott suspended elective surgeries in a handful of counties, which include the state’s largest cities: San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Austin, respectively.