AUSTIN, Texas — State health officials reported 5,913 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals Monday, a record for the state and a 416-person increase from the day before.

Hospitalizations have climbed over the last month, with Sunday marking the end of a 16-day streak for record numbers of patients in Texas hospitals. Texas surpassed 5,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients for the first time Friday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services also reported 4,288 new cases of the coronavirus, down from 5,357 on Sunday.

The last time the health agency reported fewer than 5,000 new cases in a single day was last Monday. The health agency normally reports fewer COVID-19 cases on Mondays.

State health officials reported 10 new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the death toll of the virus to 2,403.

Gov. Greg Abbott paused reopening plans for the state Thursday. One day later, he closed Texas bars and limited restaurant occupancy.

In a series of evening TV interviews Monday, Abbott said he expects the state to see the effects of tightened restrictions in the next 10 days.

“We really do believe that we should see some consequential results from the shutdown of bars,” Abbott told KDFW Dallas, adding that he’ll continue to monitor statewide data to see if additional measures are required.

The state’s seven-day rolling positivity rate is 13.74%, a 4% increase from one week ago, according to the health agency’s latest numbers. Abbott on Monday estimated that number is actually more than 14%.

And state health officials reported 1,361 new recoveries Friday, bringing the total to 81,335. The figure is an estimate based on assumptions related to hospitalization rates and recovery times.

The governor’s tone shifted last week, when he warned that Texas is facing a “massive outbreak” and that the state’s ability to remain open for business depends on efforts by Texans to follow social distancing guidelines.

On Friday, Abbott also halted elective surgeries and procedures in Travis, Bexar, Harris and Dallas counties, saying the four counties have experienced “significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19.”

In a letter to local leaders Monday, Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe warned that hospitals throughout the region were approaching or surpassing 70% of their capacity.

Still, Austin’s three health care systems have maintained that they have the capacity to treat all patients, including those with COVID-19.

Biscoe also urged Abbott to issue a statewide mask mandate, which Abbott said he would consider if COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase.

Abbott estimated that roughly two-thirds of Texans are already subject to mandatory mask requirements by local governments, which have required businesses to mandate that employees and customers wear masks, and one size does not fit all in the Lone Star State.

“A mask requirement for a farmer to go milk a cow just makes no sense,” he said.

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©2020 Austin American-Statesman, Texas

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