COVID-19 hospitalizations at highest level since July

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The Texas Department of State Health Services says hospitals across the state have the most COVID-19 patients since July 31. Tuesday, they reported 9,047 patients.

COVID-19 patients have now occupied more than 15% of hospital capacity in North Texas five straight days. Tuesday, hospitals in the 19 counties surrounding the DFW area reported 2,523 COVID-19 patients, 88 more than Monday and about 1,000 more than the beginning of October.

COVID-19 patients are now using 16.4% of hospital capacity. If the area remains above 15% seven consecutive days, the state would require bars to close and restaurants to reduce capacity to 50%.

Dallas County reported 1,179 additional cases Tuesday, including 83 probable cases and eight deaths.

Judge Clay Jenkins cites a report from the National Coronavirus Task Force, recommending Governor Greg Abbott place more limitations on crowd sizes at events and businesses. Without that requirement, Jenkins says, "you need not wait for government action to recognize that the health experts on the national and the local level are telling us it is not safe to go to crowded places, we should avoid get-togethers with people outside our family, and we should wear our mask whenever around others."

"Now is a time for patriotism in doing things that not only will potentially protect you and your family, but that will protect and strengthen our community and our country. We won’t have to do this forever. The vaccine is coming but it’s not here yet and we must hold on a little bit longer," Jenkins wrote in a statement.

Tarrant County reported 1,401 cases and six deaths Tuesday. The county reported 896 COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

Denton County reported 489 cases and no deaths. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 390 cases in Collin County and three deaths.

Across Texas, a record 15,182 additional cases were reported Tuesday, along with 170 deaths. Hospitalizations in Texas have nearly tripled since October 1, when they had 3,190 COVID-19 patients.