TEXAS — Texas now has 11,552 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals, according to the latest data provided by the state health department.
The number of available ICU beds across the entire state has dwindled to 322. Some regions of Texas – including Corpus Christi, Waco, Bryan and Beaumont, among others – have no ICU beds available at all. Twelve of Texas’ 22 hospital regions have 10 or fewer available ICU beds.
The state on Sunday additionally reported 5,098 new cases of the virus, 4,209 of which are confirmed and 889 of which are probable. Forty-three more Texans lost their lives to the disease on Sunday.
The discouraging statistics comes as the volley over masks mandates in the Lone Star State continues.
On Saturday, Hays Country joined the growing list of local governments issuing mask mandates in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive orders forbidding them.
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra on Friday issued an order requiring mask usage in schools. That order went into effect Saturday.
Students, staff and visitors over the age of 2 will be required to wear a face covering while on school property or school buses. It will apply to all public schools, including public charter schools, grades K-12 in Hays County.
“We are experiencing a health crisis emergency with rising hospitalizations, and limited bed space. I am concerned about the health and safety of our children and our hardworking faculty and staff members in our ISDs and hospitals,” Judge Becerra said. “This order is intended to slow down community spread of the COVID-19 virus, and free up hospital space. Personal responsibility, undefined, as a disaster response strategy for an infectious disease pandemic is not working.”
On Sunday, Gov. Abbott scored a victory when the Texas Supreme Court ruled in his favor, issuing stay orders upholding his ban on mask mandates in Bexar County and Dallas County. The stay is temporary, however, and a final decision is forthcoming.
A short time later, Dallas Country Judge Clay Jenkins tweeted that the court’s decision does not invalidate his emergency order requiring masks in parts of the country.
“The Tex Supreme Court did not strike down my face mask order. Rather they removed the stay on the GA 38,” Jenkins tweeted. “Unless I receive a ruling requiring otherwise, I will amend my order to remove the possibility of fines on non-compliant businesses but otherwise leave the order in effect.”
So far there has been no response from Gov. Abbott concerning Judge Jenkins’ interpretation of the ruling.