As Texas COVID-19 cases climb, President-elect Joe Biden introduces plan

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- COVID-19 cases are rising across the country and in Texas.

The Lone Star State is one of 31 states Johns Hopkins University said has hit a record number of coronavirus cases this week. In Harris County, there are more than 167,000 cases and more than 2,300 deaths with the numbers climbing.

READ MORE: More than 6K people hospitalized with COVID-19 in 1 day, state says

"We have to remember we're still in the middle of a public health crisis. Now, it's starting to creep back up into the 8% range and that starts to concern us," said Dr. Umair Shah, the executive director of Harris County Public Health.

As the numbers continue to climb, President-elect Joe Biden is getting to work to tackle the deadly virus. He posted about it on Sunday on his transition website.

His initial plan calls for doubling the number of testing sites, investing in rapid at-home tests, creating a nationwide pandemic dashboard and mobilize 100,000 Americans for contact tracing.

His plan also calls for all governors to issue a mask mandate.

"We still have opportunities to get this under control and drive those numbers down, but that's going to be left up to the individual, it's nothing the mayor, county judge, [or] governor can do," said Dr. David Persse, the city of Houston's health authority.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a mask mandate over the summer. It requires people to wear a face covering in public in counties with more than 20 confirmed positive cases.

Persse said, "It's painful when you have to have the governor lock things down. That hurts the economy, so let's not get there. Let's keep this under control with what we can do right now."

As Biden makes the transition, it's not clear whether President Donald Trump's administration will grant Biden's new task force access to the federal agencies. But, work with the governors could begin as soon as possible.

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