The state of Texas has recorded a “massive” increase in coronavirus cases on Saturday, just two weeks after the state lifted restrictions and allowed businesses to begin reopening, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The report noted that the state had a total of 1,801 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the largest one-day jump since the outbreak first began and part of a trend of steady increases since the state lifted restrictions on May 1. The Houston Chronicle noted that the majority of new cases have come from the Texas panhandle region, with more than 700 of Saturday’s new cases being reported from Amarillo. Gov. Greg Abbott warned that those numbers would likely continue to rise as the state focused on more testing in that region.
Abbott added that response teams sent to the Amarillo area are conducting widespread testing to identify positive cases and attempt to slow the outbreak.
“That is exactly why I established Surge Response Teams,” Abbott said. “By immediately deploying resources and supplies to these high-risk areas, we will identify the positive cases, isolate the individuals and ensure any outbreak is quickly contained, which is the strategy being deployed in Amarillo.”
The Houston Chronicle noted that many of the cases are connected to a Tyson Foods plant near Amarillo.
The jump in cases on Saturday was significant, with the state not recording more than 1,500 cases in any other day and averaging 1,227 cases each day over the last week.
Texas has embarked on a gradual reopening, first allowing businesses to reopen at 25 percent capacity, including retail stores, restaurants, malls, and movie theaters. The state’s decision to begin lifting restrictions on May 1 was met with controversy, with critics saying that Texas had not yet sufficiently slowed the number of new cases in order to justify reopening.
As The Inquisitr reported, Texas recorded what at the time was its single-day record for deaths just hours before the state was set to reopen. Texas Monthly noted that late on April 30, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported that there had been 50 new deaths from COVID-19 that day along with more than 1,000 new confirmed cases, just the second time there had been that many new cases in a single day.
Some regions in the state have held back on reopening in full, with local governments in places like Austin opting to keep restrictions in place for longer based on the number of local cases.