Shell evacuates employees after outbreak on rig in Gulf of Mexico
Nine Shell employees were evacuated from an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico after five people tested positive for the new coronavirus, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The European oil and gas company, which has headquarters in Houston, did not specify at which offshore platform the outbreak happened but said it will reduce staffing there to minimal levels, according to the Chronicle.
Shell operates nine offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, and about 160 people work on the rig that was the site of coronavirus cases, KHOU-TV reported. — Sami Sparber
Texas reports 57,921 cases and 1,562 deaths
Texas officials are expected to release the latest number of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus Thursday. On Wednesday, the state reported 1,361 more cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of known cases to 57,921. In the last week, the state reported an average of 942 new cases per day.
Reagan County reported its first case Wednesday; almost every county in Texas has reported at least one confirmed case of the virus. Harris County has reported the most cases, 11,281, followed by Dallas County, which has reported 9,188 cases. The Tribune publishes maps of the latest case numbers for each county and case rates per 1,000 residents.
The state has reported 26 additional deaths, bringing the statewide total to 1,562. — Darla Cameron
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Vote by mail: The Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a lack of immunity to the new coronavirus does not qualify a voter to apply for a mail-in ballot. In the latest twist in the legal fight over voting by mail during the pandemic, the court agreed with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that the risk of contracting the virus alone does not meet the state’s qualifications for voting by mail.
Medical debt: Hundreds of debt collection lawsuits have been filed since Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster because of COVID-19 in mid-March, according to the Health Care Research and Policy Team at Johns Hopkins University. The researchers' report, released Wednesday, also found 28 of 414 hospitals in 62 Texas counties sued Texas patients between January 2018 and February 2020, before the pandemic.
Progress in Amarillo: Gov. Greg Abbott expressed confidence Wednesday that officials have made major progress in containing a COVID-19 hot spot in Amarillo, saying the surge in state and federal resources sent to the region will be a model for how the state responds to local flare-ups in the future. Roughly three weeks after Abbott announced that “surge response teams" would head to Amarillo, he said Wednesday afternoon that the number of new cases in the area has been on the decline.