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Coronavirus continues to strain Texas hospitals

FILE - In this July 27, 2020, file photo, notes to medical personnel are hung in an area as they prepare to ender a COVID-19 unit at Starr County Memorial Hospital in Rio Grande City, Texas. As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation and infections and hospitalizations rise, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help especially in rural areas and at small hospitals. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – The surging coronavirus continued to strain hospitals in Texas Friday, as some hard-hit parts of the state remained under curfews aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19 over the holiday weekend.

State health authorities reported more than 8,500 Texans hospitalized with COVID-19 Friday, a drop from 8,700 Thursday, but still a more than 50% increase from a month ago. State data show limited intensive-care unit capacity in regions including the Texas Panhandle and El Paso area.

Local leaders in El Paso and San Antonio have issued partial curfews through Monday morning.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 2,473 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Friday and another 51 deaths, sharp drops from the numbers reported Thursday. The reported cases and fatalities often fall immediately after holidays and weekends that delay officials' counts.

The actual number of coronavirus cases is believed to be far higher because many people haven’t been tested and some who get the disease don’t show symptoms.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.