Texas recorded its largest daily increase of reported coronavirus cases since the pandemic began as deaths in the state climbed over 1,300.
The state moved forward with its plans to reopen on Monday, with nonessential manufacturing, work offices and gyms operating at 25 per cent capacity.
Under the reopening rules, gyms must space out equipment and provide cleaning products while those working out must wear gloves while exercising. It is recommended they wear a mask while working out, and they must also disinfect equipment before and after using it.
The Lone Star State now has 47,784 cases reported, including an estimated 27,570 recovered and 18,967 active, according to figures from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The 1,801 reported cases on Saturday was the state’s highest single-day increase, with the majority of those, 734 cases, coming from employees of meat plants in Potter and Randall counties as a result of targeted testing by the state’s health department in the Amarillo region.
An additional 31 deaths reported on Sunday brought the total fatalities to 1,336, while there are 1,551 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases currently in state hospitals.
The largest daily increase of positive coronavirus cases follows the deployment of a surge response team that included the National Guard and the Texas Emergency Medical Task Force to conduct testing of meatpacking employees.
“As Texas continues ramping up its testing capabilities, there will be an increase in positive cases as the state targets the most high-risk areas: nursing homes, meatpacking plants and jails,” Mr Abbott said in a statement.
“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.”
The state has 516 hospital beds and 236 surge beds available in Amarillo, with 110 ventilators on hand and the capacity to send more if the region worsens.