For 3rd day in a row, Dallas County sets record for new COVID-19 cases

For the third day in a row, Dallas County reported a record one-day total for new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

County officials reported 328 cases and three deaths, bringing the county's totals to 13,585 cases and 280 deaths from the coronavirus.

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The three new deaths were a Richardson man in his 60s with underlying health conditions, a Garland man in his 60s who didn't have underlying health conditions, and an Irving man in his 60s who had underlying health conditions.

RELATED: Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases

Governor Greg Abbott says despite a rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations across the state and in Dallas County, the healthcare system can handle it.      

It's been nearly three months since COVID-19 began to alter the way we live. Officials in Dallas County are urging residents stick with changes, or it could go on even longer.

“I know people want to take their mind off the drudgery of this long deployment for us and long ordeal for you on COVID,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

Top Dallas County officials spoke Friday after releasing numbers, like those that show general hospitalizations for COVID-19 climbing in recent days. Increased testing can lead to the record numbers of positive tests.

But it is the number of people ill enough to be hospitalized or in intensive care that has officials worried.

“Together when you add the general hospitalizations and then ICU numbers, then those are some of the record highs,” said Dallas County Health and Human Services Dr. Philip Huang. “We're monitoring this. It is not the direction we wanted to go.”

The governor says the state is monitoring the numbers, but there are no plans to slow down reopening. He told FOX 7 Austin there's plenty of space for the sick.

“We're not concerned because we know there are plenty of hospital beds that are available right here in Travis County and available for anybody who tests positive for COVID-19,” he said.

Dallas county is not the only spot in the state seeing a rise in hospitalizations.

For the fourth day this week, statewide hospitalizations set a record Friday.

Harris County, including Houston, reported its highest COVID-19 general hospital population this week.

Officials in Travis County say hospitalizations are still at a safe level, but they could take measures if hospitalizations continue to rise.

Health officials say some of the increase could be due to people gathering for the Memorial Day weekend now more than two weeks ago. Officials say they will also be looking to see if protests over racial injustice lead to an increase.

Specific walk-up testing for protesters offered outside the American Airlines Center ended Thursday. But Dallas County officials say people who attended protests can still be tested confidentially at free county sites if they say they were at a protest or mass gathering.

“The situation, just with the large crowds and people being close together, certainly makes more opportunity for spread of the infection,” Huang said. “And we've identified it as higher risk.”

County and city health officials are closely watching trends of the virus among the Hispanic community.

In Dallas County, 60 percent of COVID-19 cases have been Hispanic patients. They account for 50 percent of hospitalizations while it's estimated that 40 percent of Dallas County is Hispanic.