TEXAS — For the first time since mid-February, Texas has more than 8,000 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals.

What You Need To Know

  • Texas now has more than 8,000 patients with COVID-19 being treated in hospitals 

  • The state on Thursday reported 13,649 new cases of the virus and 76 more deaths 

  • The grim news comes as the delta variant spreads and mask and vaccine mandates remain officially prohibited 

  • Some Texas leaders and agencies are taking precautions into their own hands in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott

The number comes as the delta variant spreads unabated, hospitals workers are spread thin and concern deepens as the fall school semester approaches.

The Texas Department of State Health Services on Thursday reported 8,130 Texans are currently hospitalized with the disease. The state has 8,075 total available hospital beds and just 471 available ICU beds.

Texas on Thursday additionally reported 10,912 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, 2,737 new probable cases and 76 new fatalities attributed to the virus. Johns Hopkins University puts Texas’ current testing positivity rate at 11.59%.

State health officials this week said it’s believed the delta COVID-19 variant is currently accounting for 75% of cases in the state.

Most students in Texas will return to the classroom in a few weeks and as its stands those under 12 years old still aren’t eligible to receive a vaccine. However, some school districts, such as Austin ISD, are making virtual learning available to qualifying students.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott remains steadfast in his opposition to mask and vaccine mandates, last week issuing an executive order barring agencies that receive state dollars from instituting them.

Still, some leaders are taking matters into their own hands. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner this week mandated mask usage among city staff.

Houston ISD next week is slated to vote on whether to mandate masks on campus in defiance of Gov. Abbott’s orders.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser and El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego sent a letter to Gov. Abbott this week formally calling on him to reverse his position and permit school districts to mandate masks on campus.

Mass vaccination events are beginning to start up again in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and vaccines remain free and readily available. According to state data, as of Friday 15,155,783 Texans have receive at least one dose of vaccine and 12,797,910 are fully vaccinated. Texas is home to nearly 30 million people.