SAN ANTONIO – Texas has shattered the previous record for new daily COVID-19 cases ahead of Christmas as health officials plea for people to stay home and avoid traveling for the holidays.
The state reported 19,185 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, as well as 294 new coronavirus-related deaths. The previous record for new daily infections was set on Dec. 17 with 16,900 cases.
More than 10,500 COVID-19 patients in Texas remain in hospitals.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Wednesday that the city’s case count is 106,793.
Eight new virus-related deaths were reported in San Antonio on Wednesday.
Nirenberg and health officials across the state have urged residents to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 this holiday season, as the pandemic that has already claimed more than 320,000 U.S. lives has not slowed down.
“With COVID-19 cases increasing in our community at an alarming rate, it is crucial to stay disciplined to beat the virus,” Nirenberg said Tuesday as an emergency alert was issued to locals. “By avoiding behaviors and situations that spread the coronavirus during the holiday season, we will slow the spread of COVID-19 and speed up our return to normal. Protect yourself and your loved ones. Keep wearing masks, keep your distance and keep COVID-19 at bay.”
This week the number of daily hospitalizations in Texas exceeded 10,000 for the first time since an outbreak in July that saw daily hospitalizations near 11,000.
Nearly 26,000 people have died in Texas due to COVID-19, the second-highest death count in the country, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who received a COVID-19 vaccine on live television Tuesday, has said he won’t impose new lockdown measures, even as cases climb.
Texas is in Phase 1A of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which includes inoculations for health care workers and long-term care residents and staff first. Texans who are 65 years and older and people with qualifying health conditions are listed in Phase 1B, which is expected to start in at least a few weeks.