Traci Hancock has her hair cut by stylist Jill Cespedes at Shampoo Salon on May 08, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. om Pennington/Getty Images


  • Texas reported 1,801 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday — the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases in the state so far.
  • More than 700 of the new cases came from the Amarillo area, a city along the Texas panhandle.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott said he expected the number of positive cases to continue to rise as the state plans to increase the amount of testing in “most high-risk areas: nursing homes, meatpacking plants, and jails.”
  • Abbott began relaxing the state’s stay-at-home order on May 1 and is set to relax it further on Monday, allowing gyms to open at 25% capacity.

The state of Texas on Saturday reported its highest single-day increase of new COVID-19 infections of all time as the state continues to relax restrictions on businesses.

The Texas Department of Health on Saturday announced 1,801 new people had been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 24 hours. The Houston Chronicle reported Saturday that the spike is due in part to a new outbreak in the Texas panhandle with more than 700 cases reported in the city of Amarillo — attributed to meat-packing facilities in the region.

According to The Houston Chronicle, the number of new infections in Texas had typically fallen around 1,227 new cases per day over the past week, and until Saturday, the state had not seen a single-day increase in cases larger than 1,500.

Abbott said he expects the number of new cases to continue to see increases as the state plans to increase the amount of testing in “most high-risk areas: nursing homes, meatpacking plants, and jails.”

“That is exactly why I established Surge Response Teams,” Abbott said in a statement Saturday. “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.”

Texas has also seen a spike in deaths. It reported 33 new deaths Saturday, bringing the three-day total to 147 — the worst three-day span so far, according to the Houston Chronicle. Texas reported 58 deaths on Thursday, its highest single-day death toll.

Business Insider previously reported that Abbott has relaxed state restrictions that forced businesses to close to stem the spread of COVID-19. At the beginning of May, restaurants, malls, movie theaters, and retail stores were permitted to open up at one-quarter of their typical capacity. On May 8, Abbott said hair salons and barbershops could resume business.

Despite the increase in new cases, Abbott is expected to further relax restrictions on Monday, allowing gyms, offices, and nonessential manufacturing facilities to open, according to a previous Business Insider report.

According to The Dallas Morning News, gyms can open at 25% capacity on Monday, though classes, locker rooms, and shower facilities will remain closed. Nonessential manufacturing can resume Monday at 25% its usual capacity. Office work can resume, though with no more than five employees or 25% of the workforce, whatever is greater, according to the report.

In addition to the opening of gyms and some offices, Abbott is also expected to announce on Monday whether restaurants, malls, theaters, and retail stores can shift from operating at 25% capacity to operating at 50% capacity, The Dallas Morning News reported.

While Texas has had a high number of news cases, it has had a relatively low death toll compared to states of similar size, like New York and California. According to the Houston Chronicle, Abbott attributes the lower death toll to the continued availability of available hospital beds in the state.

According to the report, approximately 1,791 people are currently hospitalized in Texas, which has over 17,000 hospital beds still available.

Texas has seen at least 46,999 COVID-19 cases and 1,305 resulting deaths, according to the state health department.

As reported by Business Insider