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COVID-19 deaths on the rise in Texas; doctor says it's not unexpected after large gatherings, events

He says keeping our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed can all start with those precautions we hear about every day.

BEAUMONT, Texas — One Southeast Texas doctor says the rise in deaths across the state could have a correlation to how overwhelmed hospitals are in other cities. 

But with record highs in cases and hospitalizations, health professionals like Dr. Gary Mennie can't stress it enough.

"Social distancing and wearing your mask in public -- it helps prevent the spread from people to people," Mennie said.

He says if you're not following the guidelines, there's a chance you're infecting lots of people.

"If you're COVID positive and you are not wearing a mask, it's not just one person that you're infecting, you could be infecting many people, and then those people are infecting people," Mennie said.

RELATED: Map shows county-by-county risk of encountering COVID-19 at an event

Thursday, the state reported 9,507 new cases and 173 COVID-19 deaths.

A little over 28% of all of coronavirus deaths in Texas were reported in the past 10 days alone.

But the rise in cases came to no surprise.

"Everybody expected this to happen," Mennie said. 

Mennie says the numbers we're seeing now could be a result of large gatherings from previous events.

As far as hospitalizations go, the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council reports that the ICU beds in Jefferson County are full. Dr. Mennie says there are still beds available at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas. 

RELATED: ICU beds at capacity in Jefferson County, officials seek state help

"It becomes a staffing thing at some point. Are there enough nurses now for those beds? That's what you see happening throughout the country. There's a limited number of nurses, limited number of doctors," Mennie said. 

Keeping our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed can all start with those precautions we hear about every day.

"If people will follow that, you will see, as you've seen in other countries and other cities, it will slow the spread and diminish the spread of the virus," Mennie said.

Judge Branick said they've requested more resources from the state, as far as staffing goes. However, both he and Dr. Mennie say they don't foresee having to outsource hospitals to different venues at this point, right now it's just safe to have a backup plan.

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