The US state of Texas has reported almost 6,000 new COVID-19 cases, setting a new record for confirmed infections in a 24 hour period for the third time this week.
As of Thursday, there have been 131,917 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, 5,996 more cases than that of Wednesday, according to Texas Health and Human Services.
The state added 5,551 and 5,489 new cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, reports Xinhua news agency.
Due to the spike, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced a temporary pause of any further reopening of the state’s economy in responding to the recent continuous increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization.
He also issued an Executive Order to suspend any elective surgeries in some area in Texas to ensure hospital bed availability for COVID-19 patients.
“As we experience an increase in both positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, we are focused on strategies that slow the spread of this virus while also allowing Texans to continue earning a paycheck to support their families,” said Abbott.
The Governor repeatedly urged people to follow the state guidelines to slow down the spread of the pandemic.
“I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others. The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business,” he added.
In Houston, the biggest city in Texas, the public transportation provider METRO approved an order on Thursday requiring all passengers, employees and contractors to wear face covering.
The order extended to METRO vehicles, facilities and transit centres, local media reported.
METRO said it will provide masks to passengers in need while riding the system or entering its facility.
As hospitalization for COVID-19 patients continues to climb in Houston, Texas Medical Center, the largest medical district in the world, said all ICU beds were now occupied, with 28 per cent taken by COVID-19 patients.
With 2,418,570 cases and 124,355 deaths, the US continues with the world’s highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities.