Doctors urging Texans to continue practicing social distancing as COVID-19 increases

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The number of COVID-19 cases in Houston has increased since reopening.

Though it's not exponential, Dr. David Persse with the Houston Health Department is concerned the rate could grow if people don't continue to social distance.

"There are 219 people with COVID-19 in intensive care units with the TMC Hospitals," Persse said.

Persse also addressed concerns about a new rise in cases because of protests.

"If it stays at this sort of same rate of increase, then I definitely won't be able to say we can blame the protests. If anything, it's going to be the reopening of society and people becoming fatigued, if you will, with the precautions we've asked them to take," Persse said.

Chambers County is also seeing new cases grow at a flat rate. The county reported 73 total cases on Thursday, but 60 of those include recoveries. The county also reported zero new COVID-19 hospitalizations.

"We are certainly worried that if people are not following social distancing guidelines, that the risk of spread is much higher even though the state has relaxed guidelines," said Samantha Humphrey, a spokesperson for Chambers County. "We're not putting executive orders and placing limits on movements for general citizens. We are still actively pushing out information regularly encouraging people to follow social distancing guidelines."

Persse also urges people to use caution and stick with the new normal of practicing safe distancing even as temperatures warm up.

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