June 23, 2020 / 4:26 PM / 19 days ago

Texas Children's Hospital admitting adults as coronavirus surges in Houston

June 23 (Reuters) - A Texas children’s hospital is admitting adult coronavirus patients due to a spike in serious COVID-19 cases in the Houston area, while a dozen other states from Florida to California grapple with a surge in infections.

“We know COVID-19 has not gone away. We implore you to take responsible actions – practice appropriate social distancing, wear a mask or face covering anytime you leave your home,” the Texas Children’s Hospital said in a statement, without specifying how many coronavirus patients they admitted.

Texas reported over 5,000 new infections on Monday, a single-day record for the state. It has also seen COVID-19 hospitalizations hit record highs for 11 days in a row.

Arizona and Nevada reported record increases in new cases on Tuesday after recording all-time highs last week, according to a Reuters tally.

The United States recorded a 25% increase in new cases of COVID-19 in the week ended June 21, compared to the previous seven days, as Arizona and Florida joined Texas with record surges in new infections, a Reuters analysis found.

Ten states, including Texas, reported weekly new infection increases of more than 50%, according to the analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project https://covidtracking.com, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.

While most states are increasing testing, the number of tests coming back positive is rising. At least four states are averaging double-digit rates in the percentage of tests that are positive for the virus: Arizona at 20%, Florida and Utah both at 11%, and Texas at 10%. By contrast, New York, formerly the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, has been reporting positive test rates of around 1%.

The World Health Organization considers positivity rates above 5% to be especially concerning.

(Open tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser for a Reuters interactive)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday held fast to his claim that the spike in U.S. cases in multiple states was due to testing, not increased spread of the disease.

“Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!” he tweeted.

Many of these states are also seeing record hospitalizations - a metric not affected by increased testing.

The president will speak with students in Phoenix on Tuesday after holding his first campaign rally in months in Oklahoma over the weekend.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to challenge Trump in the Nov. 3 election, called the president’s plans to speak to thousands of supporters in Phoenix “reckless and irresponsible” at a time when the number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in Arizona is continuing to rise.

Reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago and Susan Heavey and Lisa Lambert in Washington; Writing by Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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