Coronavirus hospitalizations and infections are on the rise in Texas as the Lone Star State has vaccinated less than half of its total population, according to data from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.
As of Thursday, there were 2,653 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, an increase of 134 new patients from the day before, according to state health data.
Thursday’s hospitalizations come after the state health department recorded 1,888 hospitalizations the previous Thursday.
Additionally, there were more than 3,000 new infections recorded on Friday alone, with the seven-day average up by about 963 from just a week ago.
The upticks in cases and hospitalizations come as health officials are warning of new coronavirus surges across the country due in part to the highly transmissible delta variant.
New COVID-19 clusters have been especially predominant in communities with relatively low vaccination rates.
As of Friday, roughly 50 percent of Texas’s total population had received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, with just about 43 percent fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
However, the rate of vaccination in Texas is higher than in some bordering states, including Louisiana and Arkansas, which have between 35 and 36 percent of their populations fully vaccinated.
Both neighboring states have also recorded recent surges in coronavirus infections, with Arkansas on Tuesday reporting its biggest daily jump in new cases in five months with 1,476 new cases.
CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyOvernight Defense: Milley reportedly warned Trump against Iran strikes | Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer killed in Afghanistan | 70 percent of active-duty military at least partially vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC director warns of ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ | Biden says social media platforms ‘killing people’ | Florida accounts for 20 percent of new cases Biden: Social media platforms ‘killing people’ MORE on Friday said that COVID-19 is “becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” adding that vaccinated people are protected from the virus.
“The good news is if you are fully vaccinated you are protected against severe COVID, hospitalization and death, and are even protected against the known variants, including the delta variant, circulating in this country,” Walensky said.
She added, “If you are not vaccinated, you remain at risk.”
While Walensky said that local officials should consider putting in place mask mandates in areas with low vaccination rates, GOP leaders such as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have opposed continued coronavirus restrictions.
Abbott is one of several GOP governors to have imposed a ban on businesses and state agencies mandating that people provide proof of vaccination and in May issued an executive order prohibiting government entities in the state from imposing mask mandates.