Texas Coronavirus Cases
As of May 26, Texas reported 56,560 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Of these, 1,536 have resulted in death. Harris has the majority of cases with 10,995 reported. Dallas County was second with 8,998, and Tarrant, with 4,977, was third. Travis County, with 2,933 cases, was fourth.
Largest Catholic Church in Houston Suspends Mass After Death of One Possibly COVID-19-Positive Priest
One of the biggest catholic churches in Houston has placed an indefinite suspension on conducting mass, following the death of one of its priests and the subsequent positive testing of five others in its diocese with the coronavirus.
Father Donnell Kirchner, the priest who passed, died at the age of 78. He had served at the Holy Ghost Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston - who confirmed the news of his death in a statement released on Monday.
According to the Archdiocese, a consensus as to the cause of Father Kirchner’s death had not been reached, and "it is not clear" whether or nor Kirchner was ever tested for the coronavirus. However, within the week that followed, five other priests who had shared living space with Father Kirchner got tested and were confirmed with the virus.
Once the Archdiocese learned about this, they ordered the immediate suspension of mass.
Houston’s Holy Cross Chapel had closed temporarily, even though Gov. Greg Abbott had allowed Texas to stay open by giving them the designation of “essential services” and excluded from his lockdown orders. The church reopened in May and two of the priests who were subsequently discovered to be positive had been active from the time of its reopening till the order for closure was given.
In light of this, the Holy Cross Chapel and the Archdiocese have urged their parishioners to get tested for COVID-19 if they have attended service since it reopened on May 2.
"We ask you to please keep everyone impacted by this illness in your prayers," the Archdiocese said.
With about 1.7 million members spread across 10 counties, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is the biggest Roman Catholic parish in the state of Texas.
"What we look at is the real data about what’s taking place, and here’s the fact: The fact is that the growth rate of COVID
19 in the state of Texas is leveling off. The fact is that hospitalizations, for example, they’re 28 fewer today than they were yesterday, and yesterday they were lower than the day before."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on the progress made in the fight against the coronavirus
##Gov. of Texas to Loosen Restrictions Even Further, Says Infection Curve Has Been Flattened Out
Today, Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, is expected to give an update on his plans for the state’s reopenings, building upon the reopening measures already put in place.
The governor had, at the end of April, permitted the expiration of the state-wide stay-at-home order and also rescinded the restrictions placed on some businesses as a means to reopening the state post-COVID-19. Malls, churches, restaurants, retail stores, and a few other businesses were the first to be given permission to reopen, with stringent limits placed on operations and capacity. By the second week of May, barbershops, beauty shops, massage parlors, and others, were also given permission to open up.
However, within the first two weeks of rescinding the stay-at-home orders, the State Department of Health reported record highs in new cases and deaths from the coronavirus, with 1448 new cases and 58 deaths on Thursday.
The governor justified his decision to reopen the state based on the comparative rate of hospitalization and infections across other states. According to him, at 1,200 deaths, Texas falls well behind other states. Also, he said that the rate of deaths and new cases have reached their peaks and the recent increase in testing capacity shows that the curve has indeed been flattened out.
Some city leaders have not been in support of the governor’s decision to reopen the state and have maintained strict restrictions within their cities. This has led to intense debates on who, between state and local government, should have the purview to rollback these safety orders.
Last week, leaders from Texas cities Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio were threatened with lawsuits by Ken Paxton, the Attorney General, for maintaining local coronavirus measures which he called unlawful because they step beyond the measures put in place by the state governor.
Beginning today, some more businesses will be allowed to reopen with limitations, including fitness centers and manufacturing plants.
Unemployment rate in Texas as of March 2020: 4.7
Number of advance unemployment claims made in Texas for the week ending May 2: 254,084+ Claims made the previous week: 247,179
Number of clean energy jobs lost due to coronavirus in Texas in March 2020: 4,246