State health officials reported that 13,998 more cases emerged on Tuesday, breaking the previous single-day high set on Saturday by 1,401.


AUSTIN, TX — Texas reported nearly 14,000 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, a new daily record surpassing by more than 1,400 the previous single-day high set on Saturday. Another 162 new deaths also were reported, bringing the cumulative total to 20,750.

The data are input in a statistical dashboard maintained by the Texas Department of State Health Services agency. All told, state officials reported 13,998 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday — 1401 more than the previous record set on Saturday.

According to the dashboard, there are 169,826 active cases of the respiratory illness across the state. An estimated 927,331 Texas residents have recovered from the illness since the onset of the pandemic, according to the dashboard.

In addition to the 13,998 new cases, state officials noted on the dashboard that 394 older cases were recently reported by labs in nearly three dozen counties from Archer to Wise — the highest levels coming from Harris County, with 187 cases. Hard-hit El Paso County retroactively reported another 41 cases, while Kaufman reported another two dozen new diagnoses.

There were 8,495 Texas residents being treated at hospitals statewide — the highest level of hospitalizations since Aug. 4, as shown on the dashboard.

The soaring rates of illness prompted a tweet from Texas Department of State Health Services officials alerting that growing rates of diagnoses and subsequent hospitalizations are straining the state's hospitals. "New cases and hospitalizations accelerating," officials wrote. "Growing strain on hospital capacity, staffing. Fatalities increasing."

In the last seven days alone, state health officials said, Texas has averaged 10,601 new cases, 196 current hospitalizations and 151 new fatalities daily. Such bolstered illness rates are taking their tolls on those on the medical front lines, officials added: "Our hospital heroes need our help," state officials wrote in a tweet. "For nearly 9 months they've given us their all, risked their lives, and will work through the holidays. To help them and ourselves, all we have to do is stay home when we can and wear masks."

The bolstered illness levels come two days before Thanksgiving when health officials worry an untold number of residents will gather despite warnings to avoid gatherings. A previous spike was seen during Halloween that health officials in Austin and elsewhere attributed to seasonal parties not adherent to physical distancing guidelines.

In the state capital, health district officials blamed Halloween parties for past upticks last month — suspicions of the prime subject buttressed by the number of younger people testing positive in the days after the observance. Like its counterparts statewide, Austin Public Health has now heightened its warnings to residents poised for Thanksgiving Day when many will want to gather with families.

Ahead of such holiday gatherings this week — many likely in rebuke to the tactics of social distancing and the wearing of protective face coverings — Austin Public Health officials went so far as to devise a quiz for residents dubbed "Spread Joy, Not Germs" tailored to gauge the safety of holiday travel.

Despite illness upticks, Gov. Greg Abbott has said he plans no statewide shutdown to help mitigate the spread of illness. Instead, the governor has been touting treatments that state officials are poised to distribute in the coming days. During a visit to Lubbock on Thursday, Abbott announced an initial shipment of bamlanivimab — the Eli Lilly & Co. monoclonal antibody therapy for COVID-19 — was close for distribution to acute care hospitals across the state.

By the following Monday, state officials announced guiding principles for the state's COVID-19 vaccine allocation process, which they said will serve as foundation for initial distribution for COVID-19 vaccines expected as early as next month. State officials noted the principles were established by the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel (EVAP), created by the Texas Department of State Health Services to make recommendations on vaccine allocation decisions, including identifying groups that should be vaccinated first to provide the most protection to vulnerable populations and critical state resources.

"These guiding principles established by the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel will ensure that the State of Texas swiftly distributes the COVID-19 vaccine to Texans who voluntarily choose to be immunized," Abbott said. "This foundation for the allocation process will help us mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, protect the most vulnerable Texans, and safeguard crucial state resources."