Texas becomes first state to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases


Former Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki wears a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he helps other volunteers distribute food aid to the public during a North Texas Food Bank drive-thru event in Dallas in October. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas health officials say new cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have hit a new peak. According to the Johns Hopkins website, the state recorded 1,010,364 cases, both confirmed and probable combined, early Wednesday with 19,337 deaths since the pandemic began in early March.

Texas recorded 10,865 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, setting a new daily record that surpassed by 74 cases an old mark set July 15, state officials said.

According to state figures on Tuesday, an estimated 132,146 cases are active, the most since Aug. 17, and 6,170 COVID-19 cases are hospitalized, the most since Aug. 18.

Technically, Texas entered Wednesday with 947,230 confirmed cases, which means those have been confirmed by a lab following a molecular test, and 35,836 cases are classified as probable, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Probable cases aren’t confirmed by a lab, but were found using an antigen rapid test. In order to be reclassified as a confirmed case, the patient needs to take a molecular test and have a positive result from a lab.

The Centers for Disease Control makes that distinction on its website.

The true number of infections is likely higher because many people haven’t been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

There were 94 new deaths Tuesday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Meanwhile, cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are surging in the Laredo area as the borderlands remained a COVID-19 hotbed Tuesday, health officials said.

Laredo health officials reported 331 new cases Tuesday of the coronavirus, the most since the Aug. 10 peak of 374 cases. That brought the area’s case count for the pandemic since the beginning of March to 16,558. Of those, 934 cases are active, the most in two months, and 73 require hospitalization. One new death was reported Tuesday, bringing the city’s COVID-19 death toll to 367.

The surge comes as El Paso, another border city, grapples with a recent tsunami of cases. Another 1,292 cases were reported in El Paso County on Tuesday, bringing its pandemic count to 65,651 with 27,895 cases now active and 1,076 requiring hospitalization. Nine new deaths brought the county’s COVID-19 death toll to 682.

The higher counts come amid intensive testing in both places and statewide.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and a cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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