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Texas surpasses 13K virus deaths; hospitalizations fall

Greg Abbott hinted that looser restrictions may be coming as trends improve

A truck passes a sign for free COVID-19 testing, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in San Antonio. Coronavirus testing in Texas has dropped significantly, mirroring nationwide trends, just as schools reopen and football teams charge ahead with plans to play. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A truck passes a sign for free COVID-19 testing, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in San Antonio. Coronavirus testing in Texas has dropped significantly, mirroring nationwide trends, just as schools reopen and football teams charge ahead with plans to play. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas surpassed 13,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths Thursday as hospitalizations continued falling to the lowest levels since June.

State health officials reported nearly 3,900 new cases and 221 additional deaths blamed on COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Hospitalized patients were just over 4,000.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott hinted this week that looser restrictions may be coming as trends improve. On Twitter, Abbott singled out hospitalizations as the most important decline in numbers but has not elaborated on what steps may be next. Bars remain closed in Texas, and restaurants are still operating under partial capacity.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and be fatal.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.