ABC News Corona Virus Health and Science

Hospital chief talks Texas's rising coronavirus cases: 'People have completely let their guard down'

Texas saw a record number of over 5,500 cases Wednesday.

The head of one of Houston's largest hospitals told "Good Morning America" that the rise of coronavirus cases in the city and state is due to people taking the outbreak lightly and urged people to take precautions.

"I think what's happened and watching it around our community people have completely let their guard down," Boom told "GMA."

Boom said it's been frustrating seeing people ignore medical professionals calls for social distancing, face coverings and other precautions over the last few weeks. Texas lifted its stay-at-home order on April 30.

"Somewhere around Memorial Day people just sort of sighed a breath of relief and said, 'Hey, I'm going to act like it's summer. I’m going to act like this thing was never here,' and we're paying the price for that now," he said.

Houston's rise in cases is part of the overall trend across the state. Texas has 125,921 confirmed cases and daily new case counts have risen over the last few weeks. On Wednesday, the state recorded a record number of new cases -- 5,551 -- according to the state's health department. The previous record was set just one day earlier.

Boom said the increase in coronavirus patients hasn't yet led to a peak in ICU beds at Houston Methodist's facilities.

"That's encouraging," he said.

Gov. Greg Abbott said he is not considering a lockdown of the state but urged Texans to stay at home and wear face coverings if they go outside. The governor has previously declined calls from local leaders to make the face coverings mandatory.

Boom said the state can avoid a lockdown if more people adhered to social distancing and wore face coverings.

"Many are doing it, but clearly not enough and I think we can stop this," he said. "I'm hopeful we can do that if everybody rallies around together and focuses on how to do those things together."

This report was featured in the Thursday, June 25, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.

"Start Here" offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, the ABC News app or wherever you get your podcasts.

What to know about coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the US and Worldwide: Coronavirus map
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