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Texas Reopens More Businesses Days After Highest Single-Day Jump in COVID-19 Cases

The state reported more than 1,800 new cases over the weekend, as parts of the state move to Phase II of reopening.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Getty Images.

Texas has continued its process of reopening parts of the state after reporting the highest one-day jump in coronavirus cases. 

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported the largest single-day jump in COVID-19 with more than 1,800 positive cases on Saturday. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ( R) said more than 700 of those new cases came out of Amarillo, adding that increased testing has contributed to the surge in case numbers. 

The governor also said the state deployed a Surge Response Team (SRT) to parts of Texas with a spike in cases, including Amarillo, focusing on meatpacking plants, nursing homes, jails and other high-risk areas. 

“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,” said Abbott. 

On Monday, all but four counties—including Amarillo’s Potter and Randall Counties—started to move forward with the state’s Phase II reopening plan, which included child care centers and massage and personal-care centers to resume business. In the next few weeks, rodeos, equestrian events, bowling alleys, bingo halls, zoos, day camps, and youth sports are among the activities that will be allowed to reopen.

Starting May 22, restaurants in those counties can expand their occupancy to 50%, while bars and tasting rooms can reopen at 25% occupancy. 

Counties including El Paso, Randall, Potter, Moore, and Deaf Smith will have their phase II reopening date pushed to at least May 29. The counties currently have more per capita cases than any of the large metropolitan areas in the state.  

Texas has reported more than 48,000 positive COVID-19 cases, with Harris County and Dallas County recording the most, according to the DSHS. 

As nearly all U.S. states have started relaxing restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus, health officials have repeatedly warned that testing must be increased in order to properly identify how many people in an area are infected.

According to CDC guidelines, hospitalized patients with symptoms, health care workers, first responders with symptoms, and symptomatic residents in group living settings like prisons and shelters should have the highest priority for testing.