Houston-area leads state in number of COVID-19 cases

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston area leads the state in the number of COVID-19 cases ias the state heads closer to a full month with the pandemic.

As of Thursday, the Texas Department of Health has confirmed 4,669 cases, with the death toll rising to at least 70 statewide.

Of the 254 Texas counties, the health department said 143 of them have reported at least one case.

In a breakdown of major metropolitan areas with cases, Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, has confirmed at least 895 cases; Dallas with 831; and Austin with 351.

With the cases come the need for hospital care and ventilators. According to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council, 917 patients have been hospitalized so far with COVID-19, and 775 ventilators have to be used out of an available 1,269. This covers 147 hospitals in a 25-county region surrounding Houston.

In a sign that the coronavirus threat is only expanding into a new month, Texas confirmed hundreds of new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday to bring the state's total closer to 4,000.

With the new case total and more testing sites, officials said 50,679 people in the state have been tested.

Earlier this week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered social distancing activities to be extended through the end of April. He already issued a quarantine order for travelers arriving from coronavirus hotspots.

Abbott also ordered schools to remain closed through May 4.

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