TEXAS — The COVID-19 situation in Texas has become dire. Less than half of the state’s population is vaccinated and mask usage is spotty at best.
The latest numbers from the state bear that out. The Texas Depart of State Health Services Tuesday reported 17,401 new cases of the virus, 13,935 of which are confirmed and 3,466 of which are probable.
There were 84 new fatalities attributed to the virus Tuesday.
Texas currently has 10,041 people being treated for COVID in hospitals. The state is down to just 329 available ICU beds. Texas is home to roughly 30 million people.
The Austin area has just two available ICU beds as of Tuesday, Austin Public Health reported.
Over a three-day period, Dallas County alone reported 3,270 new cases of the virus and five additional deaths.
All of this comes as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott remains opposed to protections including mask and vaccine mandates. Agencies that receive state dollars are barred from enacting them via a series of executive orders.
That hasn’t stopped local governments and school districts from taking measures into their own hands in defiance of the governor, however.
Dallas County, Bexar County and the City of San Antonio have won legal challenges to Abbott’s orders that will permit them to put mask requirements in place. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he will consult with medical professionals and anticipated putting an emergency order in effect on Wednesday.
Austin ISD, Dallas ISD and Fort Worth ISD have mandated mask usage at all of their facilities. Houston ISD, the largest school district in the state, will consider a mandate during a school board meeting this week.