Number of Texans hospitalized with coronavirus hits all-time high as experts say cases are likely to continue increasing

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For the second day in a row, data released on Tuesday by the Texas Department of State Health Services shows a record number of hospitalizations due to the new coronavirus. Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

For the second day in a row, Texas has reported a record number of patients hospitalized with the new coronavirus, a metric Gov. Greg Abbott has said he’s watching as businesses continue reopening and limits on their operations are loosened.

Data released Tuesday by the Texas Department of State Health Services shows 2,056 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 1,935 the day before. The previous high was May 5, when 1,888 people were hospitalized.

The figures come a little more than a month since Abbott's statewide stay-at-home order ended and he began a phased reopening of businesses. It also comes about two weeks after Memorial Day.

A spokesman for Abbott's office did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

The hospitalization figures — and the total number of new infections — have trended upward since about late May. Experts have said there’s a lag between when changes in people's behaviors, like more social interaction, are reflected in coronavirus case data. It takes about 9 to 16 days to see increased infections, and generally another 5 to 7 days to see changes in the numbers of people hospitalized, said Rebecca Fischer, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. (Some individuals are only diagnosed once they make it to the hospital.)

"In terms of new infections, we are seeing a surge ... in part attributed to activities surrounding Memorial Day weekend, such as gatherings where protective behaviors may have been lax," she said.

Since then, Texans have protested police brutality across the state, sparked by the killing of George Floyd — who died in police custody after a Minneapolis police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.