Texas COVID-19 hospitalizations fall below 6,000

A healthcare worker sits at the entrance to a free COVID-19 testing site at Minute Maid Park Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The number of coronavirus patients in Texas hospitals fell below 6,000 Wednesday for the first time since June, but newly reported deaths topped 300 for the fourth time this month.

Texas also reported 6,000 new cases as the number of total deaths pushed past 10,500 since tracking began in March, the fourth-most in the U.S.

But one large suburban county near Dallas expressed concerns about the accuracy of testing figures. The reservations over testing data comes a week after the rate of positive cases in Texas climbed to record highs — suggesting that one in four coronavirus tests were coming back positive — before quickly dropping after state health officials attributed the spike to a backlog of cases and lab errors.

By Wednesday, the rate of positive cases was back below 11 percent for the first time since June, another encouraging sign as local health officials in cities including Dallas and Austin say trends are moving in the right direction.

But Collin County officials Wednesday warned residents that it had “no confidence in data currently being provided” by the state. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said the issues that caused the backlogs have been resolved and that the figures should level off by week’s end.

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